Middle Passage Marker Boston

Labor Day seemed an appropriate day to visit the new display marking the Middle Passage down on Long Wharf, Boston. It is yards from the Atlantic and the site where Africans were unloaded from ships and sold.

I took a lot of pictures, so that I could read later. Why? Parking fees were obscene. I set my timer for 35 minutes, determined not to pay more than $18. But we didn’t really want to pay even that, so we didn’t dally. Made it back in under twenty minutes. High fives at the parking pay kiosk.

Rowes Wharf, approaching Long Wharf

Most of the business along Long Wharf these days is tourism.

Almost all of the marker’s text was devoted to highlighting local luminary African Americans, like Phyllis Wheatley (blogged about here). I expected the narrative to reveal the horrors of the slave trade, so this surprised me a little. Did you know, for example, that the Guinea ships could be smelled from four miles off, so vile was the hygiene and carnage? Or that a loss of life in the neighborhood of ten percent was an acceptable margin in terms of turning a profit?

If you read my Facebook post on this yesterday, you’ll have seen the LONG laundry list of ways that the North profited from slavery, pictured below.

Next time we go, I’ll bring flowers and we’ll look for on-street parking.