The Middle Passage
White Ships/Black Cargo
Publication Date: November 1995
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The Middle Passage is the name given to one of the most tragic ordeals in history: the cruel and terrifying journey of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean. In this seminal work, master artist Tom Feelings tells the complete story of this horrific diaspora in sixty-four extraordinary narrative paintings. Achingly real, they draw us into the lives of the millions of African men, women, and children who were savagely torn from their beautiful homelands, crowded into disease-ridden "death ships", and transported under nightmarish conditions to the so-called New World. An introduction by noted historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke traces the roots of the Atlantic slave trade and gives a vivid summary of its four centuries of brutality. The Middle Passage reaches us on a visceral level. No one can experience it and remain unmoved. But while we absorb the horror of these images, we also can find some hope in them. They are a tribute to the survival of the human spirit, and the humanity won by the survivors of the Middle Passage belongs to us all.