SPIRITS OF THE PASSAGE:
THE STORY OF THE
TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE
Cotton grown by slaves is starting point of the Industrial Revolution.
Produced by the Frazier History Museum in partnership with the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida and with sponsorship support from the University of Louisville, Spirits of the Passage allows guests to see authentic artifacts from the wreck of an actual slave ship, such as restraints, tools, plates and trade goods, as well as dozens of other objects from West Africa societies that show the uniqueness of the individual cultures they represent. These include religious objects, bronze and beadwork, pottery and jewelry. These compelling artifacts, along with maps, paintings and illustrations, create a provocative picture of this tragic era, while also engendering a sense of pride in the legacy of strength these enslaved people left behind.
“Spirits of the Passage represents a wealth of new scholarship on a topic that often gets reduced to data and charts,” said Frazier History Museum Executive Director Madeleine Burnside, a slave trade historian. “What’s so rare about this exhibition is how we delve into the details of this haunting world event—with real stories about specific people and coordinating artifacts.” Objects for the exhibition are on loan from the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, which has one of the finest collections of this sort in the world, as well as the Speed Art Museum, which contributed objects from the Congo, Dahomey and Igbo cultures. Burnside continued, “We’ve worked with a distinguished group of scholars from across the country, as well as local interest groups to ensure that we’re doing this vast topic justice on not only an academic level, but a human one as well.”
Using maps, dioramas, informative panels, audio stations and artifacts, the exhibition sets out to dispel myths, offer new insights and encourage a community conversation about history’s by-standards, up-standers and activists, and the interconnectedness of people from various parts of the globe. To this end, The DuSable will be hosting a number of related events and programs during the run of Spirits of the Passage, as well as special programming for school groups.
Spirits of the Passage: The Story of the Transatlantic Slave Trade will open on Friday, September 19, 2014 and continue through Sunday, January 4, 2015. The exhibition is partially supported by Macy’s and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. For more information on the exhibition please call 773-947-0600 or visit our website, The DuSable Museum of African American History gratefully acknowledges the Chicago Park District’s generous support of the Museum.