does not reveal the historical significance of the item. This newspaper page includes an ad for “Negroes for Sale,” demonstrating the way in which humans became economic commodities described as “valuable.” A final potential frustration is that one cannot limit a search to the Caribbean Views collection, but must search all of the “Collect Britain: Putting History in Place” collections. As a result, a search for “sugar” returns items related to sugar in other online collections such as “Illuminated Manuscripts” and “English Accents and Dialects.” A search can later be sorted by collection, but this sorting does not work if the number of images is greater than about 200.
One teaching exercise would be to have students compare texts, one in defense of slavery and one in opposition to it. (For example, comparing William Snelgrave’s A New Account of Some Parts of Guinea and the Slave Trade with Elizabeth Heyrick’s Appeal to the Hearts and Consciences of British Women.) Students could be asked to compare the rhetorical strategies of the texts. For example, what arguments and “facts” do the authors give in support of their views? To which values do they appeal? What language do they use to persuade their audiences?
Another teaching exercise could involve the analysis of a set of pictorial images, some depicting an idyllic Caribbean, the others, a horrific Caribbean. Ask the students to identify what seems to be the “message” of the image, and ask them to define specifically the aspects of the images that convey that message. Is it the subject of the images, the placement of objects, the postures of bodies, the colors used, etc.? They might compare, for example, “A Negro Festival Drawn from Nature in the Island of St. Vincent” and “View of St. John’s Harbour, Antigua” with The Black Man’s Lament.
One final teaching exercise would explore how racial experiences were complicated by gender. Students might compare the experiences of a female (The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave: Related by Herself) and a male (The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself) slave. Did Mary Prince and Olaudah Equiano have different experiences that could be attributed to the different positions of men and women in that time period?