The disturbing account of a black baby thrown into boiling water and flogged to death by slave-ship captain

Theodora Aidoo September 16, 2019
Voyages in transatlantic slave trade Pic Credit:

Today, many Africans are still living with memories of the pains and brutalities meted out to their ancestors by European and American slave traders.

The slave masters didn’t just brutalize adults; black children were also treated with cruelty.

Bahamianology writes that “African children bound for slavery in the colonies of the West Indies, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and South America as well as the colonial states of America, were treated with a cruelty which almost defies the human imagination.”

Accounts state that to make the young ones obedient slaves, slave masters employed different inhuman tactics, including flogging to instil fear in them.

The thought of babies and young ones experiencing outright barbarity, being beaten to a pulp, snatched from the arms of their mothers and sold to strangers is nothing any mother would wish for her enemy, let alone herself.

What was more disheartening was the fact that many of these little black boys and girls were kept in cages in breeding farms as though they were animals, and this sometimes led to their deaths.

Documented pieces of evidence of the brutality faced by enslaved children abound but the story of a 10-month-old baby who was thrown into boiling water and flogged to death by a slave-ship captain portrays wickedness at its peak.

While black slaves were being transported from Africa, the 10-month-old baby was sulking and refusing to eat. This troubled the captain of the ship as the baby was definitely part of the money he would make from the trade.

An account by The Liberator, cited by writes that the captain subsequently took the baby from the mother and tried to force the baby to eat.

He hit the baby who would still not eat and reportedly said: ‘I’ll make you eat or I’ll kill you.”

The baby developed a swollen leg resulting from the manhandling from the captain.

The disturbing account of a black baby thrown into boiling water and flogged to death by slave-ship captain
The account of the 10-month-old baby dropped into boiling water by a slave-ship captain in 1832. (The Liberator, Saturday 28 January 1832) | Source – Bahamianology

To douse the swollen legs of the child, the captain asked his men to boil water and then the unimaginable happened; the captain ordered that the baby’s feet and nails be dipped in the hot water. Right after, the nails and skin of the baby’s feet came off.

Having no sympathy for the child, the captain used an oiled cloth to wrap the feet of the child and then tied the child to a heavy log of wood for three days.

The captain wasn’t done with the little child yet; he caught the child up and said: “I’ll make you eat, or I’ll be the death of you.” He went on to flog the child until the child died.

After the infant was lifeless, disregarding the talks from his countrymen who were spectators of this devastating event, the captain called the mother of the baby and beat her while ordering her to pick up the child and throw it into the ocean.

The Liberator writes that the mother “then dropped it [the baby] into the sea, turning her head away the other way that she might not see it.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 16, 2019


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