The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo

by Tom Feelings

Tom Feelings worked ten years to complete the agonizing work that would become The... read more

Tom Feelings worked ten years to complete the agonizing work that would become The Middle Passage, an achingly powerful 10 1/2" x 13 1/2" wordless book for older readers and adults that chronicles the forced journey of Africans into slavery. Feelings created sixty-four images that detail the experience of Africans captured at gunpoint, and shackled and herded onto ships of death, disease and cruelty, where they endured, and often didn't survive, the crossing to North America, South America or the Caribbean. Seeringly painful images of inhuman conditions in which living people were stacked like so much cargo, cruelly worked, brutally raped and tortured, haunt the pages. A hard journey for the reader, The Middle Passage was a difficult journey for Tom Feelings to make as an artist as well, and he writes in the preface about his experience researching and creating the images. An introduction by John Henrik Clarke discusses the slave trade and places the artist's images in their deeply disturbing historical context. (Ages 14-adult)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1995

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