Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > School and Learning > By Subject > Social Studies > History > Slavery: An Incalculable Human Loss
|

Slavery: An Incalculable Human Loss

In This Article:

Page 1

We will never know the true cost of the human tragedy that was launched with the African slave trade. What we do know is that even drawing a broad outline around its likely dimensions is a disturbing experience.

Current estimates suggest that a total of perhaps 12 million Africans were imported to the New World as slaves. That figure stuns the mind, but it is not complete.

Many scholars believe that roughly one third of all Africans intended for the slave trade died before they were placed on ships. This is not an unreasonable estimate, considering that many of them were captured warriors who would have resisted such a fate. In addition, conditions on the ships were so appalling that it is entirely possible that another third of this huge population died before reaching the New World. The source for these estimates is the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad provided fugitive southern slaves with help in their (illegal) journeys to free states; it was a loosely connected alliance of American anti-slavery activist groups whose brave members risked their lives to help others. Although the term “Underground Railroad” only came into use in the mid-1840s, similar operations had been conducted for years before that. Members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, were prominent supporters of these dangerous campaigns; the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman. The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program operates under the National Parks Service to “extol the historical significance of the Underground Railroad in the eradication of slavery and the evolution of our national civil rights movement.” Visit the Network on the World Wide Web at www.cr.nps.gov/ugrr.

The best guess, then—and it is only a guess—is that something like 36 million Africans either met their deaths as a result of the slave trade or were sold into captivity between 1450 and 1850. This shocking number does not, of course, reflect the abuses inflicted on any of the descendants of the original Africans who fell prey to slave traders.



Next: Page 2 >>
|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to African-American History © 2003 by Melba J. Duncan. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


August 31, 2014



Leftovers make deliciously healthy lunches, and save a lot of time. Use last night's dinner leftovers as the basis of your child's lunch — adding just one or two extra ingredients can make it seem like an entirely different meal.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!