Photo by Muhammad-Taha Ibrahim

Some facts about slavery are not taught in school, making others forget that black lives matter.

Black lives matter. People support the movement that brings back the power of the oppressed. Today, we have all been fighting for peace and unity, even though some still believe in white supremacy. Fortunately, today’s generation is well aware of the history and is fighting for those who were subdued into submission.

It is important to know the history that put lives in vain because of slavery. So many individuals are trying hard not to revive the gruesome idea of enslaving people for personal purposes.

Why by Marvin V. Blake tackles the idea of slavery and owning slaves. It uses black trading and slavery as the backdrop. This drama follows two sisters: one white, the other black. Both sisters learn about the experiences of privilege and slavery.

Here are facts about slavery that we should look back into:

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Historically, black slavery in the United States started in 1619. However, the trading of black people can be traced back to 1526, when Africans were conquered, captured, and transported to the Americas. Approximately 12.5 million Africans, including men, women, and children, were traded from 1526 to 1867. The long-distance migration cost many lives along the way. 10.7 million arrived on the American continent.

Slavery in Plantations

The United States and the Caribbean flourished with huge plantations, helping them with their economy. These regions used black slaves to maintain and were forced to do the hard work in the fields. The mortality rate is high as the slaves have to get through heavy tasks with no other choice. If they fail or refuse to do the task, they will be punished. The punishments for slaves can cost their lives.

Abuse and harassment are also practiced by some landlords, giving the slaves minimal to zero chance of fighting back.

Despite this, the Africans were still able to find ties to help them, including other white people. Some of them would get connected to white people and have transracial families, gaining them protection from their white families.

Infant and Child mortality

As the mortality rate is high, the birth rate during slavery is low. Women become pregnant, but their children do not last in their first year. The reason behind this is that the infants are weaned after four months. The recommended early weaning for infants is eight months. Moreover, the parents would feed the children with a starch-based diet that is low in nutrients. Because of this, children would die of undernourishment.


Another factor that affected the mortality rate of the enslaved was diseases. The enslaved people did not have all the resources to fight against illnesses as they were deprived of the right to medicine. Some conditions are the after-effects of the punishments, like whipping.

The enslaved people suffered from blindness, bowed legs, skin lesions, abdominal pains and swelling, and convulsions. Moreover, the enslaved also suffered from conditions like beriberi, diarrhea, dysentery, tetany, kwashiorkor, rickets, respiratory diseases, and pellagra.

Price Tags and Sold Down the River

Domestic trading also led the enslaved having price tags. This trade continued through the 1860s, involving 1.2 million slaves, including men, women, and children. These subjects were already born in America, knowing that they were already born a slave. Some of these people don’t even know they were already sold to plantation owners for forced labor without their family’s knowledge. Young men have a higher trade rate than women. The children are enslaved by their mother’s owner as well.

The Civil War

One of the most impactful happening in American history was the Civil War. Disputes and disagreement over slavery started the American Civil War from April 1861 to May 26, 1865. The results of the American Civil War included the abolition of slavery, which freed the slaves from their owners, giving them their rights as people in America.

There are still other facts about slavery and the black trade that were not taught in schools. It is a great advantage for those well-informed about the dark era that imprinted an image in history.

Why by Marvin Blake explores the lives of people living in the slavery era. It gives insights to the readers on how slavery affects people.

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