The men, women and children, most likely from the kingdoms of Ndongo and Kongo, endured the horrific journey, bound for a life of enslavement in Mexico. Almost half the captives had died by the time the ship was seized by two English pirate ships; the remaining Africans were taken to Point Comfort, a port near Jamestown, the capital of the English colony of Virginia, which the Virginia Company of London had established 12 years earlier. Forced labor was not uncommon — Africans and Europeans had been trading goods and people across the Mediterranean for centuries — but enslavement had not been based on race. The trans-Atlantic slave trade, which began as early as the 15th century, introduced a system of slavery that was commercialized, racialized and inherited.
For black men and women, slavery was an equally devastating experience.
All rights reserved. Nearly years ago a year-old African girl was kidnapped and transported to South Carolina, where she was renamed Priscilla and sold into slavery. Unlike the ancestors of many African Americans who were brought to North America as slaves, Priscilla left a paper trail that tells her story and connects her to her living descendants. Thomalind Martin Polite is Priscilla's seventh-generation granddaughter.
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