275-6: Tobacco, Sugar & Coffee

Whenever Baby cries, mother would fetch a bottle of tobacco leaves, coffee grains and sugar water, shake it up and give it to baby.  Delighted, baby would expose their black tongue and yellow gums. Baby goes to sleep and mother slave puts on her high heels and leaves for work.

Tobacco, sugar or coffee will never feed a community.  Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade kidnapped Afrikans and forced them to grow tobacco, sugarcane and coffee; cash crops that did not value subsistence but prioritized profit.  The expansion of such cash crops are one of the metrics that differentiate Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from slavery within the Motherland.  Close-minded scholars would compare these different types of slavery to diminish the ruthless and continual effects of imperialism.  Look to agriculture as an indicator.  African slave-owners had slaves, yes, to grow cassava and subsistence crops to maintain the health of a society. Agricultural techniques and culture were shared between captor and captive because despite differences, there is a respect for humanity and a reverence for the ground that provides food.  Captives, in their lifetime, could have land and be leaders in their new community.

When tobacco and sugar were exported to Europe, it was not to sustain a population, it was to quench the bourgeoisie’s greedy addiction to luxury items.  European aristocracy had no vested interest in the humanity and culture of slaves, nor did they value the soil that provided them with the commodities they desired.  They worked both Afrikan and soil mercilessly.  They were not feeding families, just potbellies and egos.  Slavery sucks. But do not put slavery in the Americas and slavery within Afrika on the same level.

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