Despite the vast literature on the transatlantic slave trade, the role of sailors aboard slave ships has remained unexplored. This book fills that gap by examining every aspect of their working lives, from their reasons for signing on a slaving vessel, to their experiences in the Caribbean and the American South after their human cargoes had been sold. It explores how they interacted with men and women of African origin at their ports of call, from the Africans they traded with, to the free black seamen who were their crewmates, to the slaves and ex-slaves they mingled with in the port cities of the Americas. Most importantly, it questions their interactions with the captive Africans they were transporting during the dread middle passage, arguing that their work encompassed the commoditisation of these people ready for sale.
• A benchmark study in the transatlantic slave trade from the sailors' perspective • It rasies understanding of race and racial formation in the abhorrent setting of a slave ship • It provides little known details on all aspects of slave trade sailors' lives
Preface; Introduction; Part I. Sailors and Slave Ships: 1. Slaving merchants and merchant seamen; 2. The multiracial crews of slave ships; 3. The bloody rise of Western freedom; Part II. The Slaving Voyage: 4. Life in the white man's grave; 5. Sea changes; 6. Lives for sale; Conclusion; Appendix 1. Black sailors on Liverpool slave ships, 1794–1805; Appendix 2. Black sailors on Bristol slave ships, 1748–95; Appendix 3. Black sailors on Rhode Island slave ships, 1803–7.
'This work provides an excellent account that fills glaring gaps in our historical understanding of the slave trade and the maritime experiences of all those who suffered at its hands. Nautical Archaeology