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enslaved africans

People from Africa who were forced to give up their freedom and spend their lives obeying and working for their "owners" or masters. These people were treated as property that could be bought and sold.


A situation in which a person is forced to make a choice, even though there is no good choice to make.

middle passage

The voyage ("passage") of slave traders and enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to the Americas.


A usually large area of privately owned land where crops were grown with the labor of workers or slaves who lived on the land.


The continents of North and South America, along with nearby islands, like those in the Caribbean Sea.

slave auctions

A sale in which slaves were sold to buyers who bid for them. Usually, a slave was sold to the person making the highest bid.


A person who was put in charge of the work of slaves. This person had great power over the slaves and could punish them for disobeying him.


A procedure for selling slaves where the price was the same for each slave and all the slaves were herded into a large yard. When the gates opened, buyers rushed in and grabbed the slaves they wanted.

breaking in or seasoning

The first year on the plantation when the slaves were given new names, were shouted at by the overseer in a language they did not understand, and were given new tools.


act or state of rebelling (resisting or fighting against law or authority)


take hold of suddenly; clutch; grasp; take possession of


person from whom one is descended (related to)

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