The Slave Trade

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12022

How can people treat each other so cruelly at times? Dehumanization has been used to destroy people based on race, religion, and beliefs. Examine slavery in touchingly human, contemporary terms!



learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • What do you know about the transatlantic slave trade?
  • How many Africans do you think were forcibly removed from Africa for enslavement?

Watch the video below for a brief overview.

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  • Why does this matter now?

It is estimated that 12 to 12.8 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic  Ocean over the 400-year span of the slave trade.

Our minds connect with stories more than they connect with numbers. Stories make things real like numbers cannot.

When faced with numbers, especially numbers we hear repeatedly, most people can't wrap their minds around the tragedy. However, hearing a story about just one person among those numbered allows us to comprehend better.

Below is just one story from the many millions of stories from the African slave trade.

Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori was born into a noble family in Futa Jallon, a region of present-day Guinea, in the late 18th century. He belonged to the Fulbe ethnic group and was raised with a strong Islamic education. In 1788, at the age of 26, Abdul Rahman was captured by slave traders and sold into slavery in the United States.

Arriving in Natchez, Mississippi, Abdul Rahman was owned by Thomas Foster, a wealthy plantation owner. Despite being a prince in his homeland, Abdul Rahman endured the harsh conditions of slavery, performing laborious tasks alongside other enslaved individuals. However, his intelligence, charisma, and noble bearing set him apart from others, and he gained the respect of his fellow slaves and even some of his captors.

Abdul Rahman's remarkable story gained attention and sympathy from abolitionist groups and influential figures, including President John Quincy Adams. In 1828, after more than four decades in bondage, Abdul Rahman's perseverance paid off. With the help of sympathetic individuals, he could negotiate his freedom.

Upon regaining his freedom, Abdul Rahman faced the difficult decision of whether to remain in the United States or return to Africa. Ultimately, he chose to return to his homeland and reunite with his surviving family members.

Sadly, Abdul Rahman's story took a tragic turn just months after his return to Africa. He fell ill and passed away in 1829, leaving a legacy of resilience and courage.

The story of Abdul Rahman is just one among millions of stories.

  • What emotions did it make you feel?

You can read the full gut-wrenching biography of this remarkable man in a book called Prince Among Slaves or watch the documentary Prince Among Slaves.

In the Got It? section, collect some information about the slave trade using some of the same research tools used by professional historians!

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