Necklace Beads of African Slaves 17-18th

Contributed by Gabrielle Teychenne

Necklace Beads of African Slaves 17-18th

European slave-traders paid African middle-men to bring native men and women to the atlantic ports. In the case of Senegambia there is an island in the middle of the River Gambia on which a small fort was built, called Fort James where the potential slaves were held before being loaded onto the slave ships for the journey to the "New World". When they arrived at Fort James, soldiers tore the bead necklaces from their necks, thereby robbing them of their identities of family, tribe and culture. They became "non-people", only a potential resource to work. The necklaces were thrown by the soldiers from the windows of Fort James, falling on the surrounding beaches. The island was low-lying and much of it has been eroded over the centuries. These beads were recovered by my father from the beach beneath Fort James in 1987.

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