Forceful Wet Nursıng In Slavery – This must be Thursday (History Day)

The earlier settlements and the colonialism accelerated the slave trade drastically because a labor force was needed for farming. The slaves had many tasks, mainly in plantations, to increase productivity. Because of the harsh working conditions, there were more male slaves on the field.

The female slaves served indoors for other purposes, from house cleaning to cooking. If there were many babies in the house, the female worker would have an additional duty: breastfeeding. Although it may not sound like a physically demanding job, it had horrible consequences physically and psychologically.

Believe it or not, most of the babies were not their biological children, nor were they adopted by them. They were their slave master’s wives children.

The concept of wet nursing in slavery emerged in the 17th century when wealthy white families started hiring black women of lower classes and paying them to breastfeed their babies. The ladies tried to avoid it because they wanted to maintain their body shape integrity.
In addition, breastfeeding was against their elegance and always deemed more suitable for uncultured low-class people. The claim of the doctors proving that breastfeeding is unhealthy was the cherry on top.

The act of wet nursing began in Europe and soon expanded into the New World. The unfamiliar geography in new settlement areas affected the immune system of the newborns, and many of them fell ill. On the other hand, the children of the black women were much more immune and resistant.

This was the driving reason for white families to force female slaves to breastfeed their children. Once the female slave gave birth to a child, they were forced to prioritize the white babies for breastfeeding. This left their children short of breast milk since it was all used up to feed the kids of the white families.

Read Also: Slave Castles & Forts In Africa

They had to feed their babies with cow’s milk or other substitutes to substitute for the milk. This resulted in an elevated death rate amongst the babies of the enslaved families.

The women did not have the choice to refuse breastfeeding other babies. In case they argued, they were threatened with the lives of their babies. Some slave traders and settlers would even kidnap or kill the newborn babies, so the slave-mother was left with no choice but to do wet nursing.
For the slave women to start producing milk, they were often raped by the slave masters and were told to keep quiet about it. This resulted in the birth of many babies of mixed race. Their husbands even rejected these women despite knowing that they were forced into it.

 

Wet nursing gradually vanished with the abolishment of slavery. However, some women continued doing it since they realized that they were earning more money as wet nurses than the freed slaves. The women who were wet nursing on their own were deemed the equivalent of prostitutes for not letting go of a traumatizing act from the past.

Forceful wet nursing has scarred the souls of many women and children – if they were able to survive, that is. So, it will always remain in our hearts as one of the most disgraceful aspects of the history of humankind. and as one of the numerous Museum Exhibitions in Cape Coast in Ghana reads

‘May those who return find their roots. May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity’

Don’t forget to email us the History Topic or Topics you want to learn or read about next week ‘ It Must Be Thursday’. 

Meet Emmanuel Neba-Fuh and his PAN-African Memorial (PAM) Project

Project overview — PAN-African Memorial, also known as the Black Memorial, is an international memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Africans, African-Americans and people of African origin around the world, terrorized and humiliated by colonialism and white supremacy.

Background Work on the memorial began on January 11, 2018 after President Donald Trump unleashed a vile word in reference to Africa that Americans aren’t accustomed to hearing from their president. “Shithole” entered the presidential lexicon, snatched the headlines, and sparked international outrage.

While much of the world was focused on rebuking the U.S President and insisting African countries are not “shithole,”

African enthusiast and award winning refugee rights campaigner, Emmanuel Neba Fuh argued that though it is easy to place the triumph of racism on Donald Trump‟s shoulders, he is just a manifestation of the ugliness of white supremacy.

Emmanuel began investigating the racial hierarchy white-supremacists-colonial-masters constructed with the loathsome word five centuries back that is still alive.

He was interested not only in how the word built a mysterious allure in an effort to paint Africa as a savage, untamed land for looting, dishonest acquisition of property and great human hunting, but in understanding how millions of black folks were massacred simply because they showed dignity, humanity, and just wanted to be respected as human beings.

Emmanuel Neba-Fuh pictured right with the Rt. Hon Nicholas Hurd MP, then British Minister for Civil Society and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the House of Commons (UK Parliament) / file photo

Racial terror by means of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Belgian genocide in the Congo, German genocide in Namibia, French genocide in Madagascar, Algeria, and Cameroun;

British Ethnic Cleansing in Kenya and Apartheid in South Africa, Portuguese massacres in Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique, the various wars of independence, racial segregation and Jim Crow in the U.S. (not exclusively), were especially effective because it allowed the entire black race to acknowledge their inferiority status, and know the consequence of not submitting to the white man.

It was intended to send a message that if Africans, African-Americans and people of African origin around the world try to resist slavery, if they try to prevent the partition of their villages, if they insist on gaining independence, if they try to gain the right to vote, if they do anything that complicates white supremacy, white dominance and political power, they will be killed.

Intended to acknowledge centuries of racial terrorism, the research ultimately produced “Triumph of Racism:

The History of White Supremacy in Africa” an 800 page legendary classic book that is soon to be released. Beautifully written and expertly argued, the landmark in African studies documented racial terror genocides, massacres, and high profile assassinations (not exclusively) across the African continent, many of which had never been documented.

Purpose

1 – Commemoration:
Cognizance of the fact that there is currently no memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Africans, African-Americans and people of African origin in their ancestral homeland – Africa, Pan-African Memorial was conceived with the hope of creating a sober, meaningful site where people can gather and reflect on Africa‟s history of racial inequality, commemorate the victims and advocate for social justice.

The memorial which is planned to set on a twenty five-acre site in Ghana will have a library dedicated to the history of Africa and the life stories and experiences of some of Africa‟s greatest sons and daughters.

The memorial will provide a sacred space (a Chapel and a Mosque) for visitors to pray and reflect about racial terrorism and its legacy.

In an effort to reshape the cultural landscape with monuments and memorials that more truthfully and accurately reflect the African history, the site will host a mega-memorial pool with a huge slave ship onboard to symbolize millions of African men and women that were transported to the Americas.

Artists will use sculpture, art, and design to capture African men and women at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean who were reportedly thrown overboard by European slave traders either because they were unruly or sick.

Overlooking the memorial pool at the center of the site will be a memorial structure in the shape of the African map. These fifty four space-structures will showcase genocides, Apartheid and massacres, detailing the various countries where the terrorism took place.

The memorial will have a special site for countless Africans, African-Americans and people of African origin around the world who amid mortar burst, whining bullets and the pain of racism, died fighting for European colonial masters in the First and Second World Wars.

Emmanuel in the House of Commons, consulting with Hon Pauline Latham OBE MP, former UK Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Vice Chair, and Hon. Kwaku Agyenim-Boateng Ghana Member of Parliament / file photo

For the unsung pro-independence revolutionary heroes of Africa – Patrice Lumumba, Steve Biko, Thomas Sankara, Felix-Roland Moumie, Barthélemy Boganda, Mehdi Ben Barka, Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, Amilcar Costa Cabral, Ruben Um Nyobe, and many others who stood up against European colonialism and were demonized as terrorist and brutally assassinated, soil will be collected in big bottles from either where they were born or buried, and transported to PAM, and public markers erected in their honor.

In honor of African-American leaders who sacrificed their lives for the black cause in the United States of America, and other parts of the world, including Harriet Tubman, Alexander Augusta, Abraham Galloway, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X (not exclusively), soil will also be collected in bottles from where they were buried and transported to PAM.

Key information about these leaders will be saved in the library and documented for future generations. Public Markers will also be erected in their honor.

The memorial will also have a remembrance wall with the names of selfless folks who shown exemplary leadership, and gone beyond their means to promote the black race.

In solidarity with African migrants who have died in the Mediterranean Sea, the jungles of Latin America, and other routes to Europe and America, in an attempt to escape a far-reaching network of state sponsored terrorism, endless civil wars, and extreme poverty/hardship, monuments will also be constructed in the honor.

2. Historical truth-telling and repair:

Research suggests that while racism had a psychological, multigenerational impact on the era  of slave owners, its imprint and the trauma it left – which was maintained by pathological stereotypes and misinformation about black people – became transferrable to subsequent  generations including those who never own slaves.

Built into power structures and institutions especially in America‟s Deep South, where white  people were taught to propagate racism and not to see it, white supremacy became a reaction to the feeling of white people‟s social status threatened by the advancement of black folks.

The disturbing reality is that racism did real psychic damage not only to black people, but to  white people too. In the circumstance of Mr Trump ‟shithole‟ remarks, it can be argued that the legacy that it created is the pattern of racial inequality and inferior status meted out on Africa and the usage of such profane language (shithole) on folks of color.

Publicly confronting the truth about history is the first step towards recovery and reconciliation. A history of racial injustice must be acknowledged and mass atrocities and abuse must be recognized and remembered, before a society can recover from hate. Public commemoration plays a significant role in prompting community-wide reconciliation.

Emmanuel during the Plenary of the Pan African Parliament in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt / fileModeled on important projects used to overcome difficult histories of genocide, apartheid, and horrific human rights abuses in other countries, PAM provides a sacred space for truth-telling and reflection about racial terrorism and its legacy in Africa and around the world.

PAM has been designed to promote a more hopeful commitment to racial equality and just treatment of all people.

The opening of PAM will be accompanied by several days of educational panels and presentations from leading international figures, performances and concerts from acclaimed artists, and a large opening ceremony to celebrate the launch of this important new African institution.

Besides the fact that Ghana was one of several West African territories at the heart of the Trans-Atlantic Trade, with a long history racial terror, the country was chosen home to PAM in honor of Kwame Nkrumah, its first Prime Minister and President.

A founding member of the Organization of African Unity, Kwame Nkrumah was an influential advocate of Pan-Africanism, and a courageous revolutionary hero who played a pivotal role in the independence of several African countries. Nkrumah also worked closely with many African-American Civil Rights leaders.

The name of the pre-independence colony Gold Coast was changed at independence to Ghana by Premier Nkrumah in honor of the once celebrated Ghana Kingdom in West Africa.

PAM library will liaise with major universities around the world to assist students with historical truth-telling about the black race. It will also host community events with internationally-acclaimed artists, writers, and scholars, films, and other programming to address a range of topics and issues relating to its work.

© 2018-2021

Emmanuel Neba-Fuh

Source: PAM Project/TheAfricanDream.net

Gorée Island Senegal

The slave trade routes of the Atlantic Ocean had layovers, some of which are incredibly small and well-hidden today. Although the slave trade is a subject of shame and sadness, the architecture left behind is still worth exploring.

Gorée Island, one of the 19 districts of Dakar, is a small island on its own, but it had immense strategic importance.

 

Slave Trade

The inhabitation of Gorée Island wasn’t until the arrival of Europeans because the island didn’t have suitable conditions for living. For instance, drinking water was scarce.

The island was first discovered by the Portuguese who built a stone chapel and a cemetery.

Over time, Dutch and British forces also arrived at the island, but their presence was short-lived. At the time that slaves from the mainland Senegal were transported across the Atlantic Ocean.

The French invasion in 1677 marked the beginning of the colonial era that lasted for almost three centuries despite occasional defeats by the British forces.

 

 

The People

Gorée Island was inhabited by mixed people, the French, Africans as well as the American merchants.

In 1784, an Afro-French family built a house for the slaves to be accommodated during their stopover.

The house was later called the House of Slaves and is now a UNESCO Heritage site.

The slave trade through the island declined upon the French Revolution in 1794. Napoleon entirely abolished it in 1815. This shifted the trading towards nutrients such as peanuts.

This was when the current port was initially built. Also, some merchant families whose source of income was the slave trade decided to leave the island.

Later it  was annexed to Dakar (the capital of Senegal) by the French Colonial Government.

 

The French Colonial Government built a government teachers’ college called Ecole normale superieure William Ponty in 1913. The school operated until 1938.

Later on, many graduates of the school took part in gaining independence from France in 1960.
The island has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in September 1978.

The main historical buildings under the UNESCO protection are the Slave House, William Ponty School, the Maritime Museum, and Fort d’Estrées.

The government of Senegal is currently conducting research called Gorée Archeological Project, which aims to collect artifacts

 

Source: History lessons/ Education/ African Studies

The videos below explain how the Door of no return in Ghana played a vital horrific role in the transatlantic Slave trade that saw the worst demeaning atrocities ever done to humanity. 

Did you know there are the 3 castles and over 15 Forts located in different regions in Ghana? 

 

As the image from Cape Coast Castle states

”May humanity never again perpetuate such injustice against humanity’

‘Today we see a beautiful sea, our ancestors and forefathers over 400 years ago saw this same shores as source of pain,  bloodshed, tears and heartbreak’ JustinaD

 

 

This the Year of return 2019, in remembrance of the anguish of our ancestors over 400 years ago.

 

 

We hope those returning to the motherland, will find peace.

There door or return is very symbolic in Ghana’s history,  and those seeking to trace their origin or ancestors

 

RELATED STORIES