Life-size replica showing the amount of space enslaved people had on the Middle Passage.

As I have written about already, my class of four (five counting me) in African American History was absolutely outstanding. I’ll write more about it soon, too.

I wanted to share part of Tim’s project, and lucky for you (!), he gave permission to do so. (Make sure to check out the blog he created for the class!) In the pictures below, you’ll see his replica of approximately how much space enslaved Blacks had on the Middle Passage. On ships using the “tight packing” method, each person had somewhere around 6′ by 16″ by 30″. Tim’s replica would be the amount of space for two or three people. 

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A picture replica is worth a thousand words. I’ve talked about and read about the amount of space many times but had not at all internalized how impossibly small the space actually was.

When asked “What was it like being inside that space?,” Tim said, “It is ridiculously tight. I’ll just be frank, It was extremely uncomfortable for the few minutes that I stayed in it. I can’t imagine being stuck in a space that size, not being able to move, for months on end. It was so tight for me that I had to be helped out.”

In a Facebook chat just now, we then talked about difficulties associated with such representations, regardless of their accuracy, because they perpetuate negative, not positive, elements of Black History. More on this later. 

Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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7 replies

  1. Yet many survived the journey showing the resilience of a people. This replica real makes the hardship of the journey of the enslaved more visible.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was in WOODSHOP class in High School in the early 70’s our Shop teacher had us make some similar things like you have here and we had to lay in them for at least 30 minutes. It was a project our American History Teacher had us do

    Liked by 1 person


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