Saturday, July 16, 2016

Few Artifacts of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Still Exist. These Iron Blocks Help Tell That Gut-Wrenching Story

"The first time Lonnie Bunch touched an iron ballast from the sunken Portuguese slave ship São José Paquete de Africa, he cried.
“I really believe that artifacts have power, that they carry spirits, feelings,” says Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. “When you touch that, you understand that ballast was supposed to equal a body so that the ship could float.”
Tears came to his eyes again Wednesday night at the Embassy of South Africa, where historians, diplomats and divers gathered to commemorate the loan of items from the ship that sank off of Cape Town, South Africa in December of 1794. It was carrying 512 enslaved Mozambicans, and also iron ballasts. Those long thick bars were meant to offset the weight of its human cargo..."
Iron bllasts

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