Forced Immigration

Africans did not choose to come to North America but were instead captured from their villages in Africa, enslaved, and brought across the Atlantic Ocean to be put to work. Twelve million Africans were forced into slavery from the early 1600s to the mid 1800s. More than 40,000 ships brought Africans to North America. By 1888, slavery was abolished throughout America.

What do you see in this image?

What do you think?

What do you wonder?

Examine this sequence of maps. What can you learn about the Atlantic Slave Trade? Look at slave numbers, dates, and destinations.



Slavery began and grew because it was profitable. Wealthy Africans could buy slaves in Africa for $100 and sell them in New York for $1000. Colonial beliefs were strictly Christian and follow the doctrine of such religion could not enslave fellow Christians. However, Africans had different beliefs. So, colonists could justify enslaving Africans. It did not commit a sin, at least in their eyes. Here, the dehumanization of Africans began. Slaves could be bought and forced to do the work that no one else would do.

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Who were the people who owned slaves?

The Beekman family was a prominent family in New York that would have owned slaves. Examine the portraits of this family. What do you see? Dou you see any symbols of wealth? What may have been items that could show wealth in the 1700s?


View the movie on the Beekman family and items they used in their lifetime. What new ideas do you have on slave owners?