What was the Middle Passage and how did it relate to the economy of Englands North American Colonies?

Once ashore, Africans had to attempt to rebuild their lives. Although the Americas are often called the “New World”, this term seems most appropriate for enslaved Africans. Separated from their family, village, language, culture and oftentimes even given a new name, they had to reconstruct their lives in a very unfamiliar setting. It is the attempt to rebuild and reclaim lives and culture that you should consider in the readings. Also consider how the slave experience varies based on the setting Africans find themselves in. Finally, read about Anthony Johnson and his life and consider how race-based slavery evolves.
The following links are not required reading, but do provide in-depth information for those who are keen to learn more on this topic. Perhaps the most comprehensive site on the experience of Africans enslaved in North America is PBS’s Africans in America site. At the site you can read about the origins of the Atlantic slave trade and how slavery was perceived in African society. You can also read the thoughts of current historians on various subjects such as how kidnappings affected African lifestyles.
Reviving the voices of Africans enslaved in the 17th and 18th centuries is difficult work. Duke University’s online exhibit “Third Person, First Person: Slave Voices From The Special Collections Library” attempts to address this problem with a variety of primary documents related to slavery in Colonial America. Africans forced to work against their will rebelled in many different ways. Runaway slaves, or even the threat of slaves fleeing their captivity, was a constant problem for slave holders
People enslaved in the Chesapeake worked primarily on tobacco plantations. You can read about everyday life as a slave in the Chesapeake and read about experiences at a contemporary reenactment by going to the “History Explorer” link at the Colonial Williamsburg site. Africans in the lower South were generally forced to work on rice plantations. Slave holders had to constantly find ways to reconcile the use of enslaved labor as talk of liberty, equality and freedom increased in the years preceding the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson’s “Notes on Slavery” reflects an early attempt to justify slavery through a scientific explanation theorizing white racial supremacy.

Readings: Oakes, Chapter 1, pp 10-11, Chapter 3, pp 68-70, Chapter 4, 97-100 & Chapter 4, pp 126-129. Focus on the stuggle to make a life in a “new world”, along with the diversity of experience based on the type of setting one finds themself in.
Also, check out the PBS presentation, “Africans in America: The Terrible Transformation” on You Tube. Just watch about the first 26 minutes on Anthony Johnson and the development of race-based laws.
Write a one to three page paper discussing the following questions. Make sure not to follow too closely to these talking points, and instead just use them for ideas on what to discuss. Best is to write an original essay that features an introduction and conclusion.

1) What was the “Middle Passage” and how did it relate to the economy of England’s North American Colonies?
2) Were Africans coming to a “New World?” Explain your reasoning using examples from our readings.
3) What does the video mean by the title “The Terrible Transformation”?