Chapter

Harms to Slaves and Free Blacks

Roy L. Brooks

in Atonement and Forgiveness

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780520239418
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939738 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520239418.003.0002
Harms to Slaves and Free Blacks

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The Atlantic slave trade was not slavery as typical, although the use of human beings as domesticated animals reaches back to ancient Mesopotamia. The Atlantic slave trade as originated by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century was a new form of slavery—far more diabolical than that which had existed since ancient times, and far more appalling than the intertribal slavery that existed in Africa prior to the European influence. Slavery in the Americas initiated the troubling element of race into the master/slave relationship. Dark skin became the social marker of chattel slavery for the first time in history. And, as a way of justifying this new face—a black face—given to an ancient practice, the slavers and their supporters created a race-specific ideology of condemnation. In due course, racial slavery became institutionalized in the North American colonies—first by custom in the New England colonies and then by law in Massachusetts.

Keywords: Atlantic slave; Mesopotamia; Africa; colonies; Massachusetts

Chapter.  6437 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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