A Service of Remembrance for those who died on the Middle Passage
Nobody knows exactly how many African men, women and children died on the Middle Passage - the Transatlantic Crossing between Africa and the European colonies in the New World - but estimates range from 3 to 6 million. Cramped below deck in tight, smelly and dark conditions, shackled and allowed only a poor diet and little fresh air and exercise many succumbed to fevers and to diseases like smallpox and yaws. On one voyage by the ship Hannibal, for example, 320 Africans died out of a total of 700.
This clip from the movie Amistad gives an idea of what it was like.
Every year in the Virgin Islands, Gil Trott organizes a ceremony to remember those who died and whose bones are strewn beneath the ocean. These are some of the pictures I took during the 3rd February ceremony on Wickham's Cay, Road Town.