Kwame - Journey to the ship
The traders were calm when they took us - they have had practice and know what they are doing. We were chained, each to the other by hands and feet and made to walk the long road. I knew where we were going - a nine day walk to the coast where we would be sold to the white men.
This was the time to escape but there was no chance. On the first day my partner in chains fell to the floor, twisting and foaming at his mouth. The traders saw his weakness and kicked and whipped him all the way to the coast. Any chance for me to run disappeared then.
If I had worked in the goldmine or even in the fields I might have walked easier. The heat, weight of the metal, insects and distance hurt so much. I was almost happy when we felt the sea breeze and saw the blue of the water. The white of the sails on the white men's ship was less comforting.
Read about the journey to the ship for Okechukwu, Oyeladun and Kofi.
The walk across Africa
A group of Africans would walk for eight hours a day, covering about twenty miles. They were usually joined in pairs, chained to each other at the legs and by the collars at their necks.
The Asante and the traders worked to keep roads between Kumasi and the coast open. These allowed quick transfer of Africans to waiting ships. Kwame is on the 'great road' that ran to the fort at Elmina. It was the most important road in West Africa.
The best chance for a captive to escape was while still on African soil. Once on the ship they had nowhere to go, while plantation owners in the Americas employed people to prevent and catch runaways.