Lesson Plan - Get It!
Give your best estimate: How many Africans were forcibly removed from Africa for the slave trade? Why does this matter now?
Our minds connect with stories more than they connect with numbers.
Stories make things real in a way that numbers cannot. Most people, when faced with numbers, especially numbers we hear again and again, can't wrap their minds around the tragedy. For example, we have heard many times that six million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II, and that millions were abducted from Africa for the slave trade during the colonial era.
Here is just one story from the many millions of stories from the African slave trade:
He was a young man, his father’s favorite son. The father sent his son away to study, and the boy became learned and bright. The father happened to be the king, and one day he sent his son off to fight against the kingdom’s enemies. The son was captured, though, and held prisoner. He was sold to people from a faraway land, cast onto a slave ship, and would never see his father again.
The boy grew into a man and spent all his years working under terrible conditions. He was forced to learn a new language and abandon his faith. He eventually had children of his own, but he lost them when they were sold to another owner. Finally, in the last months of his life, this prince won his freedom and made it to the shores of Africa, but he died before he could reach the kingdom where he might have been king, if things had only turned out differently.
That is a true story, the story of Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori, a man from Futa Jallon in the modern nation of Guinea, who was forced into slavery in the United States. You can read the rest of his gut-wrenching biography in a book called, Prince Among Slaves.
Reflect on the story you just read and discuss the following questions with your parent or teacher:
- What emotions did it make you feel? Share your reflections with your parent or teacher.
- What place did Abdul Rahman come from?
- What were the other specific places in Africa from which people were abducted and forced into slavery?
The story of Abdul Rahman, the “Prince among Slaves,” is just one amongst millions of stories.
In the Got It? section, collect some information about the slave trade using some of the same research tools used by professional historians!