"The Middle Passage" A short story in the first person of a slave being taking from their homeland, Africa, across the Atlantic.

Essay by ti-amoJunior High, 8th gradeA+, September 2004

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My life has never been as good as others but before the Middle Passage, it had at least been civil. I have my wife and my children and together we managed even in times of doubt.

Then came the voyage from my homeland, Africa, across the Atlantic. I was one of over 600 people taken from their work, life and loved ones onto what they called a slaving vessel. This vessel was about 30 metres long and 8 metres wide. I must have been on the vessel for 2 months. During this time, I ate nothing but musty corn mush and I was given very little water. I was considered cargo; human cargo. I, along with nearly 450 other men and boys were "stored" in a different compartment than the woman and children. The men were chained in pairs (wrist to wrist and ankle to ankle). I felt as if I was already dead.

I had about as much space, if not less, than I would have had in my grave. About two weeks into the journey west I woke up to find the man chained to be dead. There was blood and mucus all over our "deck". Everything around me was dying. All I could smell, feel, hear and think was death. I wanted to be dead just so I wouldn't have to deal with the deaths of others.

I was occasionally brought up from the compartments so they could wash away the death...the blood and mucus and vomit.... I will never look at people the same way after this.