Visual Archaeology Interpretation



The Middle Passage, Tom Feelings

My eyes touch, my fingers trace
The griot chants, clicks, songs of the
The warrior words stretched taut across
the soul
Drum words whispering the name of God
They say that beyond the blood-tide cries
there is triumph
They say that beyond the blues-moan
there is continuance
Triumph and continuance
A reaching back and a forward surge
A place where Black dreams swell
Even as the Niger swells old seasons into
new life.

History of My People
Walter Dean Myers.

Grade Level 3-12
Art • Geography • History • Language Arts

As students strive to understand the impact of slavery on American history and the American consciousness, they often have only sketchy "neutral" textbook renditions as a knowledge source. Slave narratives and diaries offer alternative glimpses of history often omitted from the official curriculum. Using the Internet, students can glimpse the underlying emotions and motivations linked to the agony and the terror of the Middle Passage and being owned by another person.

Tom Feelings took fifteen years to complete his work on the book, Middle Passage. His illustrations, achingly real, draw us into the lives of the millions of African men, women, and children who were savagely torn from their beautiful homelands, crowded into a disease-ridden "death ship," and transported under nightmarish conditions to the so-called New World. In his works such as Middle Passage and Soul Looks Back in Wonder, Tom Feelings gives a tribute to the survival of the human spirit, and the humanity won by the survivors of the Middle Passage

The Middle Passage

Middle Passage and African American History Museum

Amistad Links

The Middle Passage-Tom Feelings

The Middle Passage Lesson Plan


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Copyright ©2004 Linda Kreft