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The Middle Passage

             The Middle Passage Motion Picture .
             This is a truly overwhelming movie, that literally brutalizes your intellect and sense of decency and points out vividly the racism and utter disregard for life that was prevalent in the early days of our nation. It is not a "fun time" video to rent. This is a video that should be made required viewing in all middle schools in our nation, if for no other reason than to drive home the historical and social points of both how our nation was settled as well as the enslavement of the African people that was prevalent in those early times.
             The video begins with shackled tribal people from throughout the African continent being herded onto a French four-master. Sailing from Senegalese coast to the New World. the vessel is intended to hold 300 people, but it obviously holds many more terrified, sardine-packed captives. Thousands of Africans were captured and brought to America as slaves as our new country was gaining its independence. These ships of human cargo traveled across the Atlantic with enslaved people who would be traded for sugar, tobacco, or other products. This video depicts one of these voyages using brutal imagery and voice over narration to powerfully capture this disturbing historical period. .
             The large cast of slaves becomes a sort of mute background chorus, often targeting we the viewer with accusatory stares at the camera. Their personal humanity seems unbroken despite the inhumanity they suffer. The white slavers are frequently faceless, their characters only revealed as arms that wield whips or throw food slop aimlessly at skeletal captives. To show some contrast, the writer and director gave us brief glimpses of a normal African village life in order to convey and strengthen the slaves personal loss.
             The hold-dwellers were chained together in the foul air deep in the bowels of the ship were already sick after lengthy land marches before being loaded on the ship.

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