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African Slave Trade
Home Up African Heritage Classroom Akan Beliefs-Thoughts African Slave Trade

Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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                        Race and History

Clearly, not all Africans are Black or wish to be viewed as such; and there are some parts without a slave trade heritage to be recalled. Did the African slave trade, raiders and traders exist long before Abram ventured into Africa and beginnings of Hebrew history? Slavery could not have existed without Africans having institutionalized values in place to facilitate it? 

Most likely, like humanity itself, ... the realities began in the Great Rift Valley of Africa that generated homo-sapiens, and so did the buying and selling in human flesh?  We do not know but suggest these are questions that scholars are right to address. 

                                 The Arab Slave Trade

The modern Black families as we know them in Africa, the Americas, Caribbean and Europe have in common the legacy of polygamy, so we believe, ... that generated the attitudes and behaviors leading to generations that ultimately did not view each other (the least of us) as brothers and sisters in context of the philosophy of Jesus who was born many centuries after the fact of human degenerate attitudes and behaviors throughout the earth.

                                        The Black Family

We neither offer or make any apologies for the existence of evil anywhere at any time in human history and likewise do not doubt satanic attitudes and behaviors by many Africans toward other Africans made slave raids and trades as our ancestors experienced it via:

....  probable and possible DNA traits of evil beings colored Black, Brown, Red and White, both males and females, and even eunuchs and hermaphrodites.  And evil still challenges good! Generations of polygamous lifestyles in Africa evolved values unable to view all births as new beginnings; but rather as rebirths of their known ancestors as living lords and saviors mitigating with an all-powerful God. 

Like other peoples, most Africans believed in a God of their own making and descriptive philosophies that suited their reasoning!  In the first century of Jesus' birth, many market-place masters and traders would hear about Jesus, ... but not as believers.  He was not expected excepting a few Jews: ie John the Baptist.

1320 Section 13 Early Christianity and History

The "Good News of Jesus" brought into Africa by disciples like Matthew, Mark, Simon, Thomas and James (all of whom preached and died in Africa) did not penetrate or generate a mass change in most African cultures essentially built on sand.  And not established on the rock of ages, .... were unable to survive intact when the floods and winds came with the successive Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and European empire conquerors who took youth away to be slaves in Asia, Europe and the Caribbean and finally Americas. 

And, let it be clearly understood that slavery, whether chattel or sexual was always an abomination that ought not be rationalized as goodness regardless of who, ... even that of our beloved pre-Moses era Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers.  The story of Joseph is still a favorite story of legitimately educated and enlightened Black preachers up from slavery in Africa, the Americas and Caribbean with formal training and abilities to read and understand "Bibles" as the world's great literature.  And, know that bibles were written for men by men, ... not God that lesser men personalized in their own image of energy and matter.   

Ultimately in the great Middle Atlantic slave trade that generated modern day African-Americans, ... many persons sold into slavery were not simply victims of slave raids and wars; but also tribally sentenced criminals for infractions ranging from murder and theft to sexual perversions and evil witchcraft such as mysterious deaths often blamed on young women. 

The process of sending out one's own flesh and blood to be slaves may have began with practices of women of whorish values having unwanted children, ie crippled, mentally retarded, perverted, etc. deemed to be burdensome, useless, worthless and/or profitable to personal aspirations.  Not all mothers practice redeeming motherhood that nurtures, inspires and motivates their offspring! 

By time of the American Civil War, at least two or three generations of mothers had turned to philosophy of Jesus as the living Christ, ... not their unknown ancestors. And, while millions with Plantation style modern day Pentecostal celebration and praise fervor embraced the name and glory, ... fewer grasped the functional philosophy of life in Him.  And, yet many were redeemed in the new faith of men like Allen, Wilberforce, Truth, Douglass, Tubman and Lincoln among millions of believers, ... that most Black preachers, teachers, writers and scholars seem unable to address for the inspiration of mothers and fathers, and motivation of offspring youth?    

                            AFRICAN CIVILIZATIONS

African god-kings, from the millenniums of the pharaohs that dominated and ruled much of North Africa and the Middle East ....

.... down through centuries of the Aksum, Ghana, Mali, Songhey, Congo and other morally degrading Kingdoms throughout Africa, with few exceptions, viewed the flesh of Kings and Queens as vessels of living gods. 

They were mostly, not all, guilty of the great sin of human cruelty that included slavery of not only captured prey but also the feeble minded, perverted and their criminal convicts.   

The philosophies of life pursued reflected attitudes that dictated behaviors contrary to philosophy of Jesus.   As believers in Jesus as the Christ, we nevertheless do remember who they were and what their rules wrought for our ancestors, ... but dare not mourn or praise dead cultures that gave them birth, nurture, inspiration and power.  Rather, we want a new beginning for Africa.

Modern day African descendents should be careful in their condemnations because slavery was in the very first and worse instance rooted in Africa.  Most of the great and rich kingdoms had rejected teachings of Christ and degenerated into scattered tribal chieftaincies before the Atlantic slave trade began.  Indeed, more disciples of Christ, including Mark & Matthew, were murdered in Africa than any other region of the world.

Degenerate Aksumite, Berber and other Kings and Queens long preceded the ruthless African chiefs and traders (including many market women). Military age African young men of many degenerated tribes, ... captured and sold into slavery not only youth of deviate and feeble minded behaviors but also their potential best and brightest gifts from God.  There were indeed many bad mothers that gave birth to generations of bad men and women who did many things bad for humanity.

Africa was further degenerated by the Arab conquest from 8th to 14th centuries that categorized millions of Africans as infidels to be classified as potential slaves, .... instituted widespread castration of boys to be sold as eunuchs and circumcised girls for sale to owners of harems. 

The Almoravid African-Arab Empire that emerged following the fall of the Ghana Empire was easily able to exploit the cultural weaknesses in West Africa. 

Indeed, degeneration began long before arrival of Europeans to see and exploit it to their advantage. The Portuguese, Spaniards and Italians did not so much discover but followed the pattern of Arab and Moorish trader routes that had dominated the Iberian Peninsula and Mediterranean trades until the fall of Grenada in 1492,

.... and expulsion/dispersion of over 200,000 Jews to non Latin dominated territories in Europe and North Africa along with millions of African and Arab heritage survivors.  King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were young, ambitious and in-debt to the money lenders.  They resolved their debts by expelling the money lenders and captivating their trade routes via young men like Columbus no longer content to be slave ship navigators.

Millions of Africans had since the eighth century Arab conquest claimed conversion to the Islam faith of their conquerors (especially the Berbers of North Africa including the infamous Tuareg dessert nomads) but in reality most maintained their traditional African beliefs in ancestral worship. 

But, they did indeed emulate the Arabs in capturing, buying and selling slaves for markets across the Sahara and even as far way as Moslem (Moor) civilizations in Spain and Portugal created by Almoravid Empire that had conquered ancient Ghana Empire, ... in the year of the Norman conquest of England.

The Almoravids grew rich by establishing export markets in Europe for African gold and slaves.  Ghana had been an empire ruled by African traditional theologies, more or less based on ancestor worship, and execution of criminals, ....

... but, the successor Almoravid, Mali and Songhey Empires were decidedly Moslem and more often than not sold criminals into slavery in foreign lands. Indeed, slave sales existed in the context of not only the deviate, criminal and mentally ill but many thousands of people kidnapped by relatives and strangers, both men and women, for sale as slaves.  It existed long before the 17th and 18th centuries of absolute hemorrhaging that literally sapped the continent of its ability to sustain life.

                                                        Almoravids

By the time European kings in the 15th century defeated the last Moorish Kingdom (Grenada) in Europe and embarked to exploit Africa for its gold and willingness to sell human beings, ... much of what God had given was dissipated to essentially pretentious chieftaincies based on tribal identities.  Let us be clear to understand that slave castles on the African coasts were established by naval ships and over-whelming force of arms under command of European monarchs who came and saw to conquer for gold and slaves.  They rationalized public support in their homelands by claiming to do so in name of God, King and Country plus papal blessings and bishops.

They subsequently licensed slave traders to pay a royal fee to use the facilities to contract hire ruthless African slave raiders and/or buy from traders (including rich market women).  There should be no doubt that with very few exceptions, ... slave raiders, often the bastard offspring of slave castle whores, were licensed and aided by African kings/chiefs to raid selected villages for humans as prey.  European slave castle operators quickly established dominion over local chiefs and villages within range of cannon fire mounted on ships and in the castles. 

                                                History of Slave Trade

Within a generation, these villages, such as Elmina in Ghana became communications zones and hubs for the slave trade industry buying and selling foodstuffs, weapons, utilities, cloth, rum, and slaves.  Local chiefs and traders did so in conjunction with their royal cousins who ruled the interior kingdoms.  And, collective greed would ultimately wage slave wars that dissipated Africa of at least a hundred million souls,

....  between years 1441 when Prince Henry began the trade and year 1860 with  election of Abraham Lincoln who affirmatively closed America's markets.  Thomas Jefferson had made importation of slaves illegal in year 1808 following the British embargo law in 1807, but the last slave ship to enter the United States sailed into Mobile Bay, Alabama in 1859 on the eve of Lincoln's election proving the law was not being enforced. 

Most American Presidents had not enforced the embargo law of 1808, and during the presidential campaign, Lincoln had angered slave traders, shippers, owners and even apologists by stating he would enforce the law.  Southern slave owners understood, feared and categorized him as a radical!  Indeed, the last slave ships from Africa to the United States sailed into Mobile Bay, Alabama just days before Lincoln ordered and put in place the Union naval blockade.

The 19th century slave trade horrified even the apologists for it. The great Christian scholars, ranging from Adam Smith to members of Parliament like William Wilberforce were adamant the trade was anti-Christ in its realty. The political ploy of putting chaplains in the slave castles and aboard slave ships did not end the realties of evil equal to any cited in scriptures proclaimed as the Word of God.

Men like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin among most enlightened and educated men and women in America and Europe were almost universally agreed the trans-Atlantic horrors so widely recorded and witnessed, ... should be ended as a moral necessity. 

For the most part, Pauline Christians were not engaged in the sale of slaves marched over-land to markets in East Africa, North Africa and Southwest Asia. Mind you the Jewish and Moslem faiths were never known to condemn the slave horrors as evil, but , ... they did tend to view slaves as human beings, even though infidels, unclean, not chosen, unworthy, etc. 

For them and their faiths, business continued as usual with the great Ottoman Empire dominating it from Zanzibar to Cairo and beyond into the Arabian desert kingdoms that relished slaves as eunuchs, concubines and laborers.  It was possible for an African slave for one of the Semite tribes to gain his/her freedom via any number of means allowed in the Koran and the Torah including conversion. 

The West differed in that so-called Judeo-Christian ideologies evolved in America used the King James version of the bible as "the Word of God." Africans should forever be "bearers of water and hewers of wood" .... for Whites who as lords and masters on earth could exercise their liberty to grant liberty to loyal and faithful slaves if they ever chose to do so. 

Hundreds of thousands of artists, writers, scholars, lawyers, traders, preachers and politicians  in America were commonly joined in belief system that heaven and earth were bound by and for them and their kind, ... prosperous White men and women as God's chosen people.  Yet, there were others who voiced that a God had chosen them.

Many had witnessed the horrors of Africa in its ultimate degeneration to nothingness, and gave witness in America and Europe to African inferiorities.  Yet, there were men like George Washington who in their post-revolutionary days were compelled to see and hear the realties all around them.  Africans were human beings, and in war and peace could and would bleed and die like all other men, including the best.

By the much heralded Age of Lincoln, ... much of West Africa, especially the Yoruba peoples of Benin had degraded into cultural regressions that left little in the way of enlightened young men or salvageable traits of humanity among them. 

Benin Kings were the worst of all, and in their great greed even harnessed young women to be and live as men, ... to include armed slave raiding and the holding of multiple wives.  Bipolar, most likely.

Many women traders were raiders.  In the late 19th century ending of the Kingdom of Benin, ... British soldiers (many Black colonials recruited from the Caribbean colonies) recounted the tragedy of having to kill hundreds of armed women imagining themselves to be warriors. 

These women were pitiful remnants of Yoruba raiders who had raised hell in slave wars by godless kings and chieftains engrossed in the trade.  British politicians were determined to stop it on grounds where it swelled and smelled to high heaven, and even in the Vatican where pontifical approvals of the trade had first began with Pope Martin V. 

Early colonial and pre-colonial journalists from America and Europe, often travelling with European forces observed and wrote about the human blight and plight witnessed.  Their views shaped later attitudes to carve up Africa for colonialism. We should understand that even the powerful British Navy that patrolled the coasts of West Africa could not completely stop the ruthless African slave trade able and willing to provide human cargo for the equally ruthless slave ship captains who risked being caught and boarded on the high seas by British patrols. 

It was the prime cause for the American War of 1812 against the British who routinely stopped and searched American ships for illegal cargo, ... per British law that allowed them to remove human cargo and return them to Africa via the nearest place of convenience.  Thus, came into existence the relocation to places like modern day Liberia and Sierra Leone of many Africans with origins in distant locations such as Cameroon, Angola and the Congo. 

African kingdoms, such as the Asante, Dogon, Mandinga and others with capitals out of range and distant from the coastal castles and villages essentially remained immune from European conquest until approximately 1890 when invention of the Maxim machine gun made interior conquest feasible for colonial expansion. 

But, even before the carving up of Africa by the European colonial powers, the damages to Africa's heart and soul had been long since done by godless greed and ruthless kings dating back to at least the Roman Empire.  Slavery was enveloped in a fury of evil slave wars during the cross-Sahara and cross-Atlantic slave trade years that made "Black Ugly" in pages of human history dominated by "Exploitation" of African sins and attitudes that can not be ignored.

Slave raiders were normally young men who would march hapless men, women and children to the castles where they were held in castle dungeons until customers arrived to purchase them.  Victims were available for sale as chattel to ship captains of slave cargo ships who carried them to the Americas and Caribbean, packed like sardines and upwards of half dying in the horrible trans-Atlantic voyage.

Indeed, survivors of the voyage were thankful to leave the ships and be purchased for a life as slaves far better than their experiences being captured, branded as animals, incarcerated in dungeons, packed completely naked in ship cargo bays and witnessing the screams and death cries of hundreds.  Many ship crews reported being followed across Atlantic Ocean by sharks awaiting the daily dumping of dead bodies to feed on.

                            slavery A Shark's perspective - The Boston Globe

After landing the alive slaves, they were held by slave brokers in essentially animal pens until an auction sale was scheduled and buyers found.  Indeed, most slaves  would deem the simple act of a buyer providing them a cloth to cover their naked body to be a form of salvation.

Artist John Holyfield in painting on left entitled "Angels Love" reflects a clothed woman who might be reflective of feelings by a naked slave woman in her first encounter with a Christian caring enough to help clothe her body.                                           

We are compelled to believe that redemption in the harshness of America was for a divine purpose and it is unfaithful to imagine to know that such a divinity does not exist.   Whatever the case may be many souls up from slavery would emerge after 400 years bondage with the view that good news of Jesus must be shared in Africa also. 

In a very real sense, modern Pan-Africanism was born again Messianic Christianity in the Caribbean, America and Europe among hearts and minds of generations up from slavery and determined to lift Africa up to the light that uplifted others.  Most Americans, though viewing themselves to be disciplined in the teachings of Jesus have never understood and cared to know why African-Americans among them cared about Africa.

Thus said, it is not confusing as to why so many Americans chose to believe and conceive during that the Cold War that African-Americans and even African Christians like Kwame N'Krumah, Patrice Lumumba and Nelson Mandela were Marxist pawns.  Reverend Jerry Falwell actually preached to millions that such was so. 

Many millions still perceive Africa is the Black men and women's burden to help spread the good news in Africa, not simply by preaching but also teaching and living demonstration lives of goodness healing, nurturing, inspiring, motivating, educating and dying in all the nations of the earth.  

What did your ancestors believe?  What do you believe?

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