Thursday, March 22, 2012

Visit the Bunce Island “Slave Castle” Exhibit in Concordia’s Library

“Because of its many important links to North America, Bunce Island is arguably the most important site in Africa for the United States”.

Such is the claim of the exhibit currently able to be seen in the Concordia library.  It is entitled “Bunce Island: A British Slave Castle in Sierra Leone”
Having checked out the exhibit, I highly recommend that you visit it if you get the opportunity.
Bunce Island is located in Sierra Leone (“Lion Mountain”) in Africa, named for the mountainous peninsula that is visible for many miles along the W. African Coast.  On the island was one of forty "slave castles" that operated in Africa during the heyday of chattel slavery.  Between the years of 1670-1807 some 30,000 Africans were held captive there. 
Those who were captured were from the “Rice Coast”, which is the rice-growing region of West Africa.  Slave auction posters from Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Georgia (where many of these slaves ended up – their descendants are called the “Gullah” people), tout this fact, since slaves who had the technical knowledge of rice-farming were in demand.

The exhibit also brings several other interesting things to our attention, including some disturbing details of how and why slaves were captured and treated, the requirement that the slave traders leasing the island (from an African King) be married to local women (so they could be spied on), the connections between some influential American revolutionaries and the Bunce Island "enterprise", “homecomings” of some of the slave’s descendants who have recently traveled back to the island, and current efforts to preserve the castle on the island.

Take the time to learn more about Bunce Island, made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and other supporters.  

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