During the trek to Kabul, snow came down in coffles
18) In A Lecture Delivered before the Female Anti-Slavery Society of Salem, 1847, Brown tells his audience that coffles
are driven by the Capitol and "yet the American Legislators, the people of the North and the people of the South, the 'assembled wisdom' of the nation, look on and see such things and hold their peace; they say not a single word against such oppression, or in favor of liberty" (16).
Already by 1625, coffles
of slaves brought to New Netherland by the Dutch West India Company operated as "municipal workers, building and repairing fortifications, roads, warehouses, and other structures of the corporate state" (Moore 2005: 37).
Ironically, while details on the transmission and genetics of the disease were insufficiently understood in the 1930s, recent research by the Pasteur Institute in Paris revealingly suggests that the explanation for the high incidence and spread of the malady in the sub-Sahara and the Caribbean can in fact be traced to the earlier migratory patterns of slave coffles
and the intercontinental transportation of human cargo during the tragic years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Two iron slave coffles
on display date from about 1800.
The unimaginable successes of Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion, and, later, Joe Louis showed that the coffles
of racism could be bent, if not broken, when one relies on individual determination and skill.
at funerals, while chained in coffles
en route to the slave market, imprisoned in dungeons at slave markets, or at traumatic farewells before transport to unknown places further South.
Brown had seen slave coffles
before, but the sight of his child and his wife being taken away "assume[s] the appearance of unusual horror" (53)--indeed, a hellish vision of "little children of many different families, which as they appeared rent the air with their shrieks and cries and vain endeavours to resist the separation which was thus forced upon them, and the cords with which they were thus bound" (53).
Insurers sued the Zong's owners after the ship's captain threw overboard entire coffles
of slaves--living and dead chained together--in an effort to take advantage of a provision in the vessel's policy that allowed claims for property jettisoned to save the ship but not for ordinary cargo losses, such as slaves who dies of disease in transit.
White Americans and Europeans will walk silently through the streets literally yoked together with the chains and coffles
used to control the slaves traded at those ports 200 years ago.
The trauma of seeing two of her sisters sold, shackled, attached to slave coffles
and taken south, and the probability of falling victim to the same fate herself, devastated Harriet and convinced her of the pressing need to escape, which she did in 1849.
And the cattle dealer has the smirky, sidelong air of a slave merchant trucking suffering coffles
to the slaughterhouse.