French supermarket chain Intermarche launched this promotional campaign to help reduce food waste of “undesirable” fruits and vegetables. Rather than throw out ugly, deformed, or damaged produce, Intermarche instead sells them with a unique twist.
Starting in the late 1960s, historians began culling hard numbers on the slave trade from shipping manifests and other original documents. The result is the Trans-Atlantic Slave Database. It has tabulated an estimated 80 percent of the traffic in human beings and found about 10.7 million people survived the passage from their homeland between 1500 and 1866. Of that, about 390,000 made it to North American soil. This was about 3 percent of the total.
Historian Herbert Klein of Columbia and Stanford universities, who worked on the database, said that the data suggest about 85,000 people destined for North America did not survive the trip across the Atlantic…
(The same data show deaths caused by the slave trade in all of North and South America at about 1.8 million.)
However, as exact as this information might be, it only goes so far. Much data is missing, either because it was lost or because no records were kept of the illegal shipments of slaves to North America that took place after 1808. That was the year when the United States banned the importation of slaves from Africa.
Plus, as we noted, the database counts only the deaths due to the capture and transport of slaves and says nothing about the people who died in bondage from brutality, disease and deprivation.
When the Civil War began, about 4 million people lived in slavery. According to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, half of all their babies died in the first year of life. That was twice the rate for white babies. Stanford Medical School cites the statistic that in 1850, the life expectancy of slaves was four years less than for whites.