The shameful behavior of our forefathers who are idolized as patriots is unconscionable! "We have been taught to revere them because they brought freedom to all, however there was no freedom for all. I can't begin to imagine the horror experienced by these men,women, and children lying in the belly of ships with shackles on their ankles stuffed in as sardines, in the pitch dark on treacherous seas from Africa to America only to be sold to the highest bidder to be enslaved for the rest of their lives. Can you imagine sea sickness, vomit, defecation, urination, the horribly unsanitary conditions, starvation, and many survived but not on the Henrietta Marie; all lives were lost to the sea!" Diane Dunwell-Hoffman
My grandchildren and I saw this exhibit yesterday at the Reading, PA Public Museum:
An exhibition, "A Slave Ship Speaks: the Wreck of the Henrietta Marie", was created by the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society in 1995, and toured museums around the United States for more than a decade. Henrietta Marie wreck has yielded more than 7000 objects (and more than 30,000 glass beads), the largest collection of artifacts known from a slave ship.
They have contributed greatly to our understanding of slave ships and the slave trade. Parts making up more than 80 bilboes have been found at the wreck site. As bilboes were typically used to shackle pairs of slaves together, the ones found at the wreck site could have restrained more than 160 slaves.
Other items found at the wreck site include trade goods apparently left over from trading for captives in Africa, goods acquired in Africa in addition to captives (including an elephant tusk), and gear belonging to the ship and crew. Part of the hull of the ship, including much of the keel and part of the stern post, have survived, and have been measured and reburied at the site.
Two copper cauldrons found at the wreck site shed light on the diet of the crew and slaves on a voyage. Malcom argues that the cauldrons were used to prepare separate meals for the crew and the slaves. One cauldron had a single chamber one-half cubic yard in capacity. This vessel was probably used to prepare a sort of mush or gruel for the slaves. As there were no slaves on the ship at the time it wrecked, the cauldron had been used to store chain. The second cauldron was smaller and had two chambers. One chamber had a capacity of one cubic foot, and the second a capacity of one-half cubic foot. This vessel could have been used to cook a two-course meal for the crew.