Smithsonian’s Objects That Define America

How Slavery Came to America

Over a 350 year period, an estimated 12 million men, women, and children from Africa crossed the Atlantic Ocean in shackles to be traded like porcelain, spices, pearls, and other luxury goods. Watch the video below to learn more about the slave trade and shackles people were forced to wear.

Questions to Think About: Slave Shackles

Now that you have heard Dr. Kurin's perspective on the Slave Shackles, what do you think is the most surprising or significant? Here are some questions to think about as you develop your own perspective on this icon.

Questions to Think About: Slave Shackles

  • Why did the transatlantic slave trade begin? How was it different from previous forms of slavery (in Africa or elsewhere) that you know about?
  • European countries participated in the early transatlantic slave trade, yet they outlawed slavery about half a century before the United States. Why do you think slavery lasted so much longer in the U.S.?
  • We tend to think of slavery as something in the distant past, but do modern forms of slavery exist?

How Slavery Came to America

Lesson:

Over a 350 year period, an estimated 12 million men, women, and children from Africa crossed the Atlantic Ocean in shackles to be traded like porcelain, spices, pearls, and other luxury goods. Watch the video below to learn more about the slave trade and shackles people were forced to wear.

Youtube

Lesson:

Introduction

Youtube

Lesson:

Introduction

Youtube

Lesson:

Introduction