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Clear de Road – en USVI skolebog (1983)

En af de bøger, der bruges i US Virgin Islands' grundskoler (omkring 4. klasse), er Clear de Road. Bogen er henvendt til unge virgin islanders og har fokus på deres vestafrikanske forfædres kamp for frihed. Følgende er et uddrag fra bogen, der handler om den danske kolonimagts behandling af slaver.

Uddrag fra Roger Hill: Clear de Road. A Virgin Islands History Textbook. US Virgin Islands Department of Conservation and Cultural Affairs, Bureau of Libraries, Museums and Archaeological Services, 1983, side 62-74.

 

Slavery

The Danes may have known that the enslavement of the West Africans was wrong. However, they told themselves that the enslavement of West Africans was right, because their hunger for wealth was so strong. The European planters looked upon the West African slaves as pieces of property. The Europeans thought of slaves as animals, not as human beings. Slavery had existed in Africa long before the Europeans came. Captives in West African tribal wars were considered slaves. They would be given low jobs in the tribal communities. However, Africans captured and kept as slaves in Africa were never thought to be less than human beings.

 

A European Myth

The myth that West Africans were less than human beings started with the Europeans. A myth is an invented story. The myth the Europeans told themselves was that the Africans were born to be slaves. Thus, the Danes thought it was all right to enslave the West Africans.

[…]

 

The Middle Passage

The trip to St. Thomas, known as the Middle Passage, was another bad part of slavery. First, the West Africans were branded on their shoulders. Then, hundreds of them were chained very closely together in the hot holds of the slave ships. They were not given enough to eat. Many West Africans died on the four-week voyage to St. Thomas. They died from fright, diseases and malnutrition. Some even killed themselves rather than be slaves.

[…]

The history of the Virgin Islands is about the fight for freedom by West Africans. They are the ancestors of most modern Virgin Islanders. The chapters that follow will tell about the struggle, strength and courage of these great people.

[…]

The West Africans' lives were controlled by the planters. Many of the West Africans were not allowed to marry and have families as we know them today. The Danes knew that marriages and families brought about unity. They knew that in unity there is strength. The Danes were afraid that unity among West African slaves would bring about rebellion. When the West African slaves had children and tried to have a family life,the planters would sometimes sell members of the family to other plantation owners. This was done to make sure that West African slaves would not have strong family ties.

During slavery in the Danish West Indies, a young boy or girl had a hard life. The children started to work at a very young age, sometimes as young as five or six years old. They did not know from one day to the next if they would be separated from their mother,father, sister or brother. However, even though many homes were broken, the parents of West African boys and girls during slavery tried to give them love, warmth and happiness. The West African slave parents also tried to give strength and courage to their children.

 

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