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Separation of families

Separation of families
Separation of families.
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: E9976
Description: Life on the plantations for enslaved Africans involved not only very hard work, but also oppression, indignity and fear. The slaves were regarded as property that could be treated as the plantation owner saw fit; the enslaved had very little control over their destiny. Young, healthy Africans were a prized commodity and fetched high prices at auctions, where the planters bought and sold their slaves. Individuals were often separated from their families, friends and the wider plantation community and transported to a new and unfamiliar location. They were unlikely to see their relatives and loved ones again. This process might occur several times during the working life of the slave and the bitter experience of enforced separation – both from their original communities in Africa and from family and friends on the plantation – created emotional problems for many enslaved Africans, adding to their sense of despair and hopelessness.
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London, Michael Graham-Stewart slavery collection
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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