The African slaves in this book were treated like objects, where they would be thrown off overseas and it is normal. These enslaved people were being brought from Africa to Jamaica. The Zong crew threw the slaves off the boat because they were running low on water due to a navigational mistake. When the water became too low, the crew decided to throw slaves overboard into the sea. The author, M. NourbeSe Philip questions why this is not a crime. Why isn’t it the law? Slaves are property and can not be saved. Philip fights on how this should not be happening. Slaves were treated as property and animals not as human beings.
In 1781, the author M. NourbeSe Philip revised the book Zong! He writes it in an unusual style. This is a form of a found poem. In this book the words are spread out, the words are repetitive and the stanzas do not make sense. The author makes this book unique on purpose for this book to stand out compared to all the other books. In order to understand this book you will have to read the end of the book, pages 189-211.It explains background information about the book. Honestly I was confused when I saw page 3. This is not a normal book. I had to think on a deeper level to read these readings.
The African slaves are spread out in the water thrown out overseas on the first page, the word “water” spread out represents the African Americans floating in the water (3). More than fifty people were thrown off. Slaves had a tough life, Philip states, “the more of of suffered did not exist sustenance water and want of dead” (12). Many African slaves drowned and nobody could save them.. These slaves are left lying dead on the bottom of the sea. More people had died over time. Philip wants the throwing slaves overboard to be illegal.
In the slave ship there were African slaves that Zong departed the coast of Africa on September 6, 1781 with hundreds of slaves of slaves aboard. Due to the poor routes, many people were on the ship and spread diseases, sicknesses that were caused by deaths (Prezi). Zong’s owners declared to their insurers for the loss of the slaves. The insurers refused to pay, the court case Gregson vs Gilbert was held. The slave trade showed lots of horror and it was the mass killings of more than 130 African slaves by the crew of the British slave ship Zong.
In 1783 was the Gregson vs Gilbert case. It first started with James Gregson, the ship’s owner who filed an insurance claim for their loss. The Zong crew will not be getting any money. Gregson argued that Zong did not have enough water to sustain both crew and slaves. The insurance underwriter is Thomas Gilbert and it states that Zong had enough sustenance aboard when arriving to Jamaica.Therefore the first trial, freed slave Olaudah Equiana who brought news of the massacre to the attention of the anti-slavery campanigner Granville Sharp (Wikipedia). James Gregson did not let the Zong crew get away with this. Granville Sharp, worked horribly to have the ship’s crew proscuted for murder (Wikipedia). Granville Sharp was one of the first English campaigners for the abolition of the slave trade. Zong’s crew did not win on the first trial. The second trial, won with the insurers. The judge let the captain make a suitable allowance of water for each slave.
The captain of this ship is Luke Collingwood. He is a terrible human being who wants the slaves to die. Zong and his crew caused all the tragedies. He wants them to die a “natural death” (189). The Zong Crew are selfish, disturbing horrible people and they only care about their voyage. Philip questions, “the which, the when, the were, the who the throwing overboard” (15). It is not clearly stated who did it and when did it happen? Philips can not believe this is happening, this should stop. Philip shows humane throughout the book.
Slaves are physically destroyed in the poems. Philips writes, “Slaves to the order in destroyed the circumstance in fact the property in subject in creature the loss in underwriter” (14). The insurance company found out about these people not killing the slaves, they did not pay for their claims. African Americans are destroyed, they are used as properties, and the underwriter is the safety of Africans. There was no safety. People were used, abused, hurt in such physical and emotional pain, nobody could forget this era. The slaves were malnourished and Zong Crew were ready for them to die. There is no hope for them. They were treated like animals not human (Umich). The Zong Crew does not know emotionally and physically to be thrown overseas. How can the Zong crew do this to the African slaves?
- How did you feel while reading this unique book were you confused?
- What were your reactions when you read that the African slaves were being thrown overboard?
Philip, M. NourbeSe. Zong! Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT 06459, 2008.
Zinnober9 Zong Massacre Wikipedia.
Prezi User Gregson vs Gilbert Prezi.23 September, 2016.
Ece. Umich. The Zong. University of Michigan.