A good turnout Tuesday night heard College of Charleston historian Rebecca Shumway discuss the transAtlantic slave trade, its impact on Charleston and what both of those things mean for Charleston’s new International African American Museum.
She stressed that although there was obviously an economic motivation to trafficking in slaves, on both sides of the Atlantic, it can’t be considered a normal commercial activity because of the depths of human suffering and violence involved. She also pointed out that on both ends of the trade…in Africa and in Charleston it was the elite, not the common people involved.
While cautioning that the slave trade can’t be reduced to abstracts and numbers, she shared a website featuring data bases on slave voyages. Check out the TransAtlantic Slave Trade Database here.
She also discussed some of the challenges facing Charleston’s International African American Museum on everything from physical depictions of slave ship conditions to how best to put 18th century Africa in a perspective that relates to modern realities. For more on the museum, due to open in 2020, check out this link.