Part 1: Slave Ship Experiences
Equiano describes his experience in the slave ships as characterized by more inhumane treatment than any he had ever visualized in his nation. The Whites, who were in charge of the slaves, mishandled them from entry throughout the entire transit. For instance, Equiano posits that the manner in which he was tossed and mishandled to confirm whether he was fit, convinced him that he was among the spirits (Liverpool Museum par. 2). Furthermore, they were flogged for various reasons, tied up, over-crowded, and denied the opportunity to take in fresh air on the decks. Some were thrown overboard when they became too ill to be usable as slaves. They were also kept below the decks where the stench was excruciating. The children and mothers would shriek due to the cold water that they would be forced to go into for their baths (Liverpool Museum par. 5). The fact that slaves were kept in dehumanizing conditions increased their chances of pestilence.
While the slaves did not wholly appreciate the mistreatments they were subjected to, there were limitations to what they could do in retaliation. The most common strategy employed by the slaves to resist mistreatment was refusing to eat. Their objective in doing so was to commit suicide and thus escape the inhumane treatment accorded to them by the Whites (Liverpool Museum par. 6). However, this resistance rarely bore fruits as they would be flogged even more and watched more closely. Spending more time in the ship after refusing to eat resulted in greater pains, heightened apprehension, and newer perceptions regarding the cruelty of the Whites. The story of the slave trade raises questions about fate and life opportunities. For instance, it is clear that without having been taken as a slave, Equiano could not have had the chance to fight for justice. He, like a few other African slaves, obtained their freedom from slavery after obtaining sufficient knowledge to fight for the freedom of slaves.
Part 2: Object Analysis
The object of choice is the West African Akan drum which was found in Virginia in the 1700s. The drum is probably one of the oldest surviving objects from West Africa, which were brought to the U.S during the slave trade era. According to the British Museum (par. 2), the drum was made by the Akan community of Ghana but was collected in th early 1700s within Colony of Virginia. Currently Virginia is part of the United States of America. The most probable social context for the use of the drum in West Africa during the era would have been in religious ceremonies and during social occasions. It is also most likely to have been transported to the U.S through a slave ship and may have been used during the sojourn to help the slaves exercise and thus keep them healthy. The drum is linked to the musical legacy of the slave trade era.
During the slave trade, drumming was an essential part of the plantations work regimen. It was one of the instruments used during such practices as hollering, shouting, work and spiritual singing, which were common among plantations workers. It is currently on display in room 26 of the British Museum. Advances in navigation were experienced after the abolishment of the slave trade, which allowed European sailors to explore the Pacific thoroughly. As navigation continued to improve, countries such as Hawaii, Australia, and Russia continued to expand their territories through impactful leadership and economic growth.
The British Museum. A History of the World in 100 Objects: 86. Akan Drum. British Museum, 2018. Retrieved from www.britishmuseum.org/explore/a_history_of_the_world/objects.aspx#86
Liverpool Museum. Olaudah Equiano: Life on Board. Liverpool Museums, 2018. Retrieved from www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism/slavery/middle_passage/olaudah_equiano.aspx