Book Excerpt Of The Week: “The Slave Ship” By: Marcus Rediker

Slave Ship“Another feature that was literally central to the social organization of the main deck- the barricado, a strong wooden barrier ten feet high that bisected the ship near the mainmast and extended about two feet over each side of the vessel. This structure, built to turn any vessel into a slaver, separated the bonded men from the women and served as a defensive barrier behind which the crew could retreat (to the women’s side) in moments of slave insurrection, but it was also a military installation of sorts from which the crew guarded and controlled the enslaved people on board. Built into the barricade was a small door, through which might pass only one person at a time, slowly. Whenever the men slaves were on the main deck, two armed sentinels protected the door while ‘four more were placed, with loaded blunderbusses in their hands, on top of the barricade, above the head of the slaves: and two cannons, loaded with small shot, were pointed toward the main=-deck through holes cut in the barricade to receive them.’ The threat of insurrection was ever present…When the slaves were brought above, the main deck became a closely guarded prison yard.” -From, “The Slave Ship” By: Marcus Rediker

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Riddle Me This: The Name Game Edition


I came across a book excerpt (included below), that states that the “Wheel of Fortune” was once the name of a slave ship. I wonder if the creators of the long-running game show of the same name are aware of this. The book excerpt is as follows:

“Needing funds for his business, Nicholas Brown fitted out the first Guineaman- a name given to mean a slave ship trading with Africa- the ‘Mary,’ for the slave trade. In 1736 his son Obadiah Brown signed on as the supercargo, or head trader, on what would become Providence’s first venture into the slave-trading business. Obadiah soon came into his own and fitted out another ship, the ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ to join in the trade. The young man then bought the entire family into the business and developed a colony-wide reputation.” -From, “Secret Societies of America’s Elite” By: Steven Sora

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