Kofi - Resistance
Two nights ago some men ran away towards the river. Some came back this morning with the patrollers. They have metal necklaces like the one I wore and they bleed a lot. One man hasn't come back yet. Maybe he got to the river and found a boat. Maybe I could do the same.
An 18th-century Caribbean newspaper advert, looking for news of Jacob, a runaway slave. N1994.0182, S2003-00131
Patrollers were white people employed to prevent slave uprisings and to catch escaped slaves.
Heavy metal neck shackles (often with sharp hooks) were just one form of punishment for slaves. These included:
- Whipping - sometimes to the death
- Stocks - a wooden frame with holes for hands, feet and head
- Iron muzzles - a way to stop someone talking, eating or drinking. It was often used to punish insults or someone who had eaten more than their share of food.
- Thumb screws - used to crush thumbs
- Neck clamps
- Amputation & mutilation - especially for black people who struck a white person
- Execution - sometimes by other slaves
These tortures were used to punish the smallest faults.
Maybe I could do the same
Escapees were punished to dissuade other slaves. A slave who successfully escaped gave the other slaves hope, and made plantation owners even more afraid of rebellion.