The Plantation: Cutting sugarcane and overseer
© Alistair Devine
Discussion
Discuss what happens next – the slaver (slave ship) docks and the enslaved people are now to be auctioned. What state of health are they in? What might they be thinking?

Whole class activity
The Slave Auction. The enslaved people have arrived at their destination of Jamaica (West Indies). One pupil is chosen as an Auctioneer, a small group as Slaves and the rest as Buyers. Each slave is described and bid for in turn. This is rather like a horse market – the slaves are looked over, they might be asked to show their teeth or to walk about.

Buyers should consider what they want to buy (for instance, a house slave or a plantation worker or someone to work in the sugar mill?). Healthy male slaves were of high value. The pupils might be told that they have a limited amount of money (for simplicity, perhaps 5 gold pieces each) and that they must use the money wisely at the auction.

Small Groups
Scene showing lives of domestic slaves - who work in the plantation house for the owner’s family, e.g. washing clothes, cleaning the house, sewing, cooking, looking after the children – or acting as valets or footmen, gardeners, odd job men.

Some of the slaves might describe what they have to do, their hours of work and how they are treated.

Small Groups
Movement piece – on a sugar plantation - one pupil is an Overseer (slave driver), the others are Slaves (enslaved people) who are cutting the sugar cane. Sugar cane was exceptionally hard to cut. They used big machetes. The slaves are in line, each doing the same action at the same time - a) cutting b) stooping to pick up cane c) straightening up and d) putting cane in piles. Actions become slower as the slaves grow more tired. The overseer forces them on.

Small Group Improvisation
It is the end of the day and the enslaved people are preparing to rest. These are new slaves and each group discuss a plan and then try to escape from the plantation – but each attempt is foiled by the slave drivers. The ring leaders will be punished.

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