Forgotten Heritage despite Its Continuing Impact on Our Culture, the Middle Passage Is Often Ignored in the Mainstream of American Education

By Guillaume, Bernice Forrest | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 27, 1994 | Go to article overview

Forgotten Heritage despite Its Continuing Impact on Our Culture, the Middle Passage Is Often Ignored in the Mainstream of American Education


Guillaume, Bernice Forrest, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Many scholars assert that no event in this millennium had a more profound effect on the course of American history than the Middle Passage - the enslavement of 30 million Africans and their forced migration to the New World that began nearly 500 years ago and lasted into the 19th century. The Middle Passage is also known as the black holocaust because as many as 18 million Africans died of starvation and disease on the slave ships. Yet most Americans know little about the Middle Passage, and many black leaders complain that schools pay relatively scant attention to it. As Black History Month draws to a close, Bernice Forrest Guillaume, an associate professor of history at St. Louis University, writes about the meaning of the Middle Passage for our times.

WE ARE living links to the Middle Passage.

We are the resultant combinations of Europeans, Africans and Native Americans in biology as well as culture.

Some of us are as proud of our heritage as the natives of the Brazilian state of Bahia, where African religions flourish. Others of us shun any connection with colored humanity.

We are Afro-Hispanic, mixed-blood creoles, mulattos and those whose ancestry of color has been deliberately concealed so we may call ourselves white.

These currents and legacies arrived with the slave ships. And the rich tapestry of cultures covering the Americas is enriched and increasingly variegated by people from Asian and Middle Eastern civilizations.

Many of us can trace our beginnings to rape and concubinage. Others stem from casual encounters, common-law and legally binding marriages. Since the era of the Middle Passage, we have exchanged language, religion, folklore, cuisine, motifs in music and sculpture, and other traits to forge mixed nations in the New World.

Yet in spite of this, there is scant discussion of the Middle Passage among academicians or the general public about its impact on our civilization.

How could such a momentous occurrence be so little known? Why does the social and cultural consciousness of modern America remain in denial of the Middle Passage?

An answer may lie in the nature of the Middle Passage itself - a colossal but well-planned accident that occurred during Europe's 16th century age of exploration and conquest.

It began with the decimation of Native American populations through murder and disease. Without natives to exploit, Europeans found plantation life nearly unbearable. And so a market was created for cheap, human labor. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Forgotten Heritage despite Its Continuing Impact on Our Culture, the Middle Passage Is Often Ignored in the Mainstream of American Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.