Dismiss Notice
You are browsing this site as a guest. It takes 2 minutes to CREATE AN ACCOUNT and less than 1 minute to LOGIN

Not just a number any more: Website traces the African slaves who shaped America....

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Deshbhakt, May 27, 2011.

  1. Deshbhakt

    Deshbhakt Senior Member

    #1
    May 27, 2011
    Joined: Jan 22, 2008
    Messages: 161
    Likes Received: 0
    Trophy Points: 33
  2. AshaDii

    AshaDii Platinum Member

    #2
    May 27, 2011
    Joined: Apr 16, 2011
    Messages: 16,200
    Likes Received: 155
    Trophy Points: 160
    Not just a number any more: Website traces the African slaves who shaped America by name and country of origin


    By Daily Mail Reporter

    The African slaves, wrenched from their homeland and shipped to America in the 1800s, have been known only as numbers... until now.
    But a new online database could help trace the roots of more than 100,000 slaves and help give them a proper identity.

    Called African Origins the project, devised by a team at Emory University, Atlanta, allows the general public to search for the slave's exact name or a similar sounding name and country of origin.
    Scroll down for video


    [​IMG]
    Enlarge [​IMG]

    From this to this: 19th century court documents listing the names, ages and boat of African slaves have been turned into a 21st century database enabling people to search for their ancestors and giving slaves an identity




    This then brings up their age, their voyage ID and the slave ship's name they were liberated from.

    The information has been been painstakingly digitised from 19th century court documents when the slave trade was in the process of being stamped out.

    'In the 19th century, when the slave trade was in the process of being suppressed, there were a set of international courts established around the Atlantic world and captured slave vessels were brought into these ports and adjudicated by the courts,' David Eltis, a member of the project and history professor at Emory, told CNN.
    'The people on board those vessels had their information taken down in bound registers which have survived.

    [​IMG] History: A group of men and boys sit at the dock in Jacksonville, Florida, in the mid 19th century. The slave trade was in the process of being stamped out by then. Courts were set up to adjudicate captured slave ships leading to the raft of documents available today



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Identity: The ultimate goal of the African Origins project is to create a geographic profile of the people forced into the slave trade so they become a person rather than just a number on a ship's log

    'And the most interesting thing about these bound registers is it provides information on the African name, which is actually quite rare in the history of the black Atlantic,' he added.
    Professor Eltis is now calling for people with knowledge of African naming traditions to contribute to the site in order to help identify where the individual slaves came from.
    'The range of languages and practices in Africa are very great,' Dr Eltis told the news channel.
    [​IMG] Database: Users can search for the exact name of an African slave or what the name is spelled like phonetically, the country of origin and gender on the website


    [​IMG] Go team: Origins project members Liz Milewicz, left, Kwesi Degraft-Hanson, centre, and David Eltis, right, search for the historical equivalent of the modern Akan peoples name 'Kwesi'


    [​IMG] Many of the African slaves in the database were on board the Spanish ship Voladora, which left Africa with 335 slaves in 1828 but was captured by the British just off Cuba


    LIFE ON A SLAVE SHIP


    The database aims to give African slaves an identity of sorts.
    Typing the name 'Kwesi' and Benin into the search on African Origins brings up 39 names with differing versions of the spelling.

    One boy of just nine called Qüesí was liberated by an international court located in Havana, Cuba in 1828.
    He had been one of 466 on board the slave ship Firme or Ferme, which departed from the port of Popo before being captured by the British and taken to Havana, Cuba.

    Conditions for young Qüesí would have been awful, with men, women and children crammed into every available space.
    The heat and the stench would have been unbearable and Qüesí would have witnessed many of his fellow slaves die of dysentery or simply from slow suffocation.
    Many slaves were manacled together in twos and threes.

    There are diary entries from British liberators that describe the moment a living man was brought above deck still shackled to his neighbour, long dead.
    Qüesí would have witnessed the dead being tossed over the side of the ship, their lives meaningless.

    He may also have seen the horrific moments when people killed each other in a bid for more room.

    But he was also one of the lucky ones and now his name will forever be remembered thanks to the African Origins project.



    'There are over 300 languages in Nigeria alone and there is no way that anyone can possibly be in command of all the names associated with those languages.'
    Many African names are specific to certain regions and even small villages, meaning those who can recognise them could be very useful to the project.
    Most of the original names have survived through the decades allowing ancestors to trace them right back to the village where they were born.

    Emory graduate, Kwesi Degraft-Hanson, from Ghana, is now helping the project after recognising several names on the database.
    'Exciting may sound like a strange word, but it was exciting to me,' Mr Degraft-Hanson told CNN.

    'Exciting because I realised these are people who were embedded in these documents, and who have been lying dormant for so long, and who really, as I put it, are reaching out their hands to people like myself, Dr Eltis, to all those who will interact with this, to say "here we are,"' he added.
    His first name 'Kwesi' mean 'male born on Sunday' and is specific to the Akan people from Ghana and Ivory Coast.

    'I was very surprised when I saw that if you go back to the 1600s you find lists with Akan on it - it has currency all through the ages,' he said.
    'I think it will fill in a lot of gaps on how the slave trade operated and where it originated,' he added.
    Those who think they could add to the search can send information to the African Origins team, who then vet the submission.
    If the information passes the process the person is given a name and identity in the data base.
    The ultimate goal of the project, Professor Eltis said, was to create a geographic profile of the people forced into the slave trade.
    'I think it will fill in a lot of gaps on how the slave trade operated and where it originated - not necessarily where the enslavement process began, but the regions in Africa which were drawn on most heavily for people who were taken to the Americas,' he said.
    'It's just as important, I think, for people who live in the Americas, the African Diaspora population.'


    Read more: Not just a number any more: Website that can trace the African slaves who shaped America by name and country of origin | Mail Online
     
  3. AshaDii

    AshaDii Platinum Member

    #3
    May 27, 2011
    Joined: Apr 16, 2011
    Messages: 16,200
    Likes Received: 155
    Trophy Points: 160
    One has to ask... Then WHAT Dr Eltis....
     
Loading...