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"The Mini Series Roots Provides An Accurate Account Of The Experience Of African Slaves"

1594 words - 7 pages

Roots provides, to a great extent, an accurate account of the experiences of African Slaves during the time of their capture, the Middle Passage and the slave auctions. The eye-opening series visually captures the barbaric nature of which the Africans were stolen from their homeland then packed into ominous ships only to be unloaded, sold and sentenced to a life of slavery in America. However some minor details have been omitted and distorted from the series for viewing purposes. Other sources such as the diary of Olaudah Equiano and Alexander Falconbridge support the main views shown in Roots on this disturbing chapter in history.The capture of slaves in Africa as demonstrated by Roots ...view middle of the document...

1995 'Equiano's autobiography' in The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself [Accessed 27/2/2007]). However in Roots there is no evidence of Kunta's journey from his home to the coast. Kunta is captured and immediately taken to the fort. Other sources such as Equiano's diary reveal that many slaves made a long journey from their place of capture to the fort. Equiano reveals that he moved through Africa acting as a slave in many different homes. Equiano reflects fondly on this part of his life as a slave, he describes most of his owners during this time as kind people, on one occasions he writes 'their treatment of me made me forget that I was a slave'. (Equiano, O. 1995 'Equiano's autobiography' in The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself [Accessed 27/2/2007]).Roots portrays the Middle Passage as the most despairingly rotten chapter in the lives of many slaves. This portrayal is an accurate reflection, although some of the more gruesome details have been dampened or spared from the series. Roots also delves into the lives of the white men during the Middle Passage. Kunta Kinte and hundreds of other Negroes were taken onboard the ship and taken below deck to be chained down. The diary of Falconbridge describes this process of being chained underneath the deck, 'they are frequently stowed so close as to admit no other position than lying on their sides.' (Falconbridge, A. 1995 'Alexander Falconbridge's Account of the Slave Trade' in An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa [Accessed 1/3/2007]). Roots show chilling scenes of Negroes packed in together like sardines crying and groaning from the miserable conditions. They were loosely packed, which by definition is incorrect, as they were packed so tightly they barely had enough room to lie flat on their backs. When they were allowed above decks the Negroes were shocked to see that the land had disappeared, as they had never left their country before. In Roots it shows the Negroes above deck being put through a dismal exercise routine that involved dancing and often whipping. This was an attempt at keeping their spirits up, to reduce the number of Negroes carried off by depression.The cruelty did not end there, the Negroes were a served a lump of rice at meal time. Kunta refused to eat it, 'white man's food makes me sick'. One account reveals 'a certain captain in the slave-trade poured melted lead on such his negroes as obstinately refused their food'. (Falconbridge, A. 1995 'Alexander Falconbridge's Account of the Slave Trade' in An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa [Accessed 1/3/2007]). Perhaps the most devastating consequence of being stowed in such a manner was the lack of air. The unhygienic state of the Negroes quarters saw many die. The confined air being continuously breathed in and out caused fatal viruses and fevers. One account reveals that the area underneath the decks resembled a slaughter...

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