Slavery suffuses our present-day environment in an afterlife called the weather. An excerpt from In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, Duke University Press, November 2016.
IN all kinds of weather, the ships came and went from Saint Louis, Bristol, Rhode Island, New York, from Senegambia and offshore Atlantic, from West Central Africa and St. Helena, from Southeast Africa and Indian Ocean islands, from the Bight of Benin, from the Bight of Biafra, from Liverpool and Lisbon, from Bahia, Havana, Marseilles, Amsterdam, Port Antonio, Kingston, Rio de Janeiro, and London. The ships set out one in the wake of another. Five hundred years of voyages of theft, pillage, and bondage. Some of the ships made only one trip; others made multiple trips under the same and different names, under the same and different owners, under the same and different flags, and under the same and different insurers. The ships kept going and coming; over thirty-five thousand recorded voyages. I find their names in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Voyages Database: Antelope, Formiga, The Good Jesus, Diligente, Black Joke, Bonfirm, Mercúrio, The Phillis, Alligator, Voador, Tibério, The Amistad, Africa, Africain, Africaine, African Gally, Africano Constitucional, Africano Oriental, African Queen, Legítimo Africano, Vigilante Africano, Agreeable, Agreement, Aleluia da Ressurreição e Almas—the names went on and on.