"Movingly and realistically presents one of the most gruesome chapters of history." Booklist, starred review
The Slave Dancerby Paula Fox
Jessie Bollier often played his fife to earn a few pennies down by the New Orleans docks. One afternoon a sailor asked him to pipe a tune, and that evening Jessie was kidnapped and dumped aboard The Moonlight, a slave ship, where a hateful duty awaited him. He was to play music so the slaves could "dance" to keep their muscles strong, their bodies profitable. Jessie was sickened by the thought of taking part in the business of trading rum and tobacco for blacks and then selling the ones who survived the frightful sea voyage from Africa. But to the men of the ship a "slave dancer" was necessary to ensure their share of the profit. They did not heed the horrors that every day grew more vivid, more inescapable to Jessie. Yet , even after four months of fear, calculated torture, and hazardous sailing with a degraded crew, Jessie was to face a final horror that would stay with him for the rest of his life.
- San Val
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.66(d)
- Age Range:
- 10 - 14 Years
Read an Excerpt
An Excerpt from The Slave Dancer
I heard one piercing scream. My teeth began to chatter.
Then a very small brown face rose above the rail as though it had flown
up from the sea. It continued to rise slowly until its brown bare chest
was visible. Then I saw dark hands around its waist. The hands lifted,
the little girl's legs flew out, and I saw the head of the young man who
had been carrying her.
For a second, she sat on the deck, looking all around her, her eyes huge
with amazement, then she crawled and jumped toward the rail but was forced
back by the forward propulsion of the man who tottered over the rail,
unable, it seemed, to bring his body any further. The child hugged the
young man's neck frantically and buried her face in his hair. At that
moment, Nicholas Spark bent his thin length and gripped the man's back
as though he were gathering up cloth, and yanked him altogether over,
the chains around his ankles striking the deck with a violent clanging.
The clanging never ceased as one after another the captives struggled
over the rail and were dropped or dragged onto the deck. How long did
it all take? I'll never know. None of us moved.
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