Black Friday Myth of Slave Selling Day – True or Not This Is What Slaves Had to Endure

If Black Friday myth about slavery was true the preceding text would be a story about what one African slave had to pass before becoming a discounted merchandise on the day after Thanksgiving on the grounds of New World.

Slave Trading

Plantation labor force with the cost of food as the only expanse made slave trading highly profitable business. The popularity of this economic branch started over a hundred years after the first Europeans (pilgrims) had set their foot onto the soils of the New World. Yet oversea slave trade lived up to its peak during the 18th and early 19th century. Well known Confederate states that fought the Civil War trying to preserve slavery emerged from northern America lower south which economy was based on agriculture. Most of their profits came from cotton plantations fueled by the slaves. That is the reason why during the pre-Civil War era the slave trade was flourishing.

Travelling Via Slave Ships

Plan of Ships Carrying Slaves
The building design of ship made for transporting the slaves.

Conditions on ships used for transporting the slaves were catastrophic at least. While the white sailors enjoyed more privileges they too were forced to immerse way below the decency. And they weren’t well-paid ether. It was the owners of ships and slaves that made a real profit.

What One Black Skinned Slave Had to go Through Before Arriving on the New World?

Painting of Slaves
Painting of slaves below the deck of slave transporting ship

The slave-masters wanted to transport as many slaves as possible. They resorted to cramming, chaining and regrouping based on size so that more of black-skinned people could fit in. Slaves were kept below the deck. Some were fortunate enough to be put on little bunks and chained for the walls. Others were chained for the floor below. They were underfed and treated brutally. Those that got sick badly or died would be thrown into the sea. Dozens of kinds of epidemics were normal and expected. Every slave master had an advance calculation of loss due to voyage deaths and would additionally adjust the price according to that. The average time of journey was one to two months. Slaves would be naked and shackled with little or no space to move at all. Since there was always a danger of a riot, captains would take some of the slaves to be their guardians and check on others. In addition to that way of the pointing of canons towards the sub-deck was one of the usual appearances. Maybe the best sources about what was really happening were the first-hand accounts like the one Olaudah Equiano had written. After surviving this journey, a slave would be ready to step onto the grounds of the U.S.

What One White Skinned Sailor Had to go Through Before Arriving on the New World?

While having significantly better conditions, sailors still had to endure harshness. Usually, they had to sleep on the open deck during the whole sailing time. Deceased ones would be thrown to the sea. The expected death rate of sailors was around 20% which was another cut on expense. Many that would survive would be tricked and not paid after the job. Then, there was this constant danger of riot. Count of slaves on some ships went even up to six hundred.

Slave Riot
Illustration of the slave riot

Slave Trade Act And Abolition

In 1788 the Slave Trade Act was created. This was the act of parliament that placed limitations on a number of slaves one ship was allowed to transport. The count was directly related to the ship’s tonnage. It was the first British legislation to regulate the slave shipping. From that point on, it was legal to transport only 1.67 slaves per ton up to 207 tons of burthen after which the new measure took place and it was only 1 slave per ton. This initiative was triggered by the Zong massacre in which more then 130 African slaves were killed by the British crew.

The slave trading was abolished by the U.S. and the United Kingdom in 1807. The U.S law took effect on 1 January 1808. All ships on territories of U.S. or U.K. that were transporting slaves would be considered for pirate ships that ought to be captured. Slaves would be released. They captured 1,600 ships and freed 160,000 slaves in this time.

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