The myths and hard facts of the Atlantic slave trade
For many years scholars made assumptions about how Europeans traded with West Africans for other, enslaved Africans, about how many voyages were made by slave ships to the English colonies in North America before 1808, and about why the institution of slavery almost died out in New England. Beginning in the late 1960s, however, a movement began that challenged these assumptions and the viewpoints of generations of Euro-centric scholars began to give way to work by data-driven historians.
Dr. Donald Wright, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York College at Cortland, is one of the historians who was part of this sea change in scholarship. He spent decades writing about African history, beginning as graduate student collecting oral histories in Gambia, as well as African American history, and Atlantic history. His books include Oral Traditions from the Gambia and African Americans in the Colonial Era: From African Origins Through the American Revolution.
This week Walter Edgar talks with Donald Wright about the myths about and some of the hard facts of the Atlantic slave trade.