simplebooklet thumbnail

The Slave Dancer 

 

By: Haven Fiocci , Casandra Sapia, Olivia Hesseltine, and Stevie Ricci

 

Based on the novel written by

 

Paula Fox

 

 

 

 

 

Jessie looks out the dusty window of his one-roomed house. He glanced over to see his mother working on a sewing project. But she would never be able to wear the lovely garments she made. She would sell them to make just enough money to survive.

"Jessie dear," she began,

"Could you walk to Aunt Agatha's house to get me candles so I can continue to work on my project?"

Jessie nodded and stepped out the door.

 

 

Jessie arrived to see his ungrateful aunt Agatha. She gave him the candles and shooed him off.

 

On the walk home, Jessie looked up at the stars. He walked calmly until he heard a noise. Suddenly, a canvas wrapped around Jessie as he grasped the candlesticks tightly. He heard men talk about a fife, and realized one of them was a sailor I had played for earlier that day for two pennies.

 

 

 

 

Fife - A flute like instrument usually played with the drums in a military band.

Jessie woke up on the ship. Two men told him calmly that he would be on the boat for four months, playing for slaves with a fife. They handed him an orange. They also told him that he is on The Moonlight, a ship with other men.

"Why am I here? Why me? My mother will think I am dead!¨ Jessie said loudly

"Ït´s  okay, we have it all sorted out. We talked to your mother.¨ a crew member told me. Jessie was sure they were lieing. 

 

The Moonlight - The slave ship Jessie was kidnapped and put on. 

Ben Stout, another crew mate, tells Jessie about slave trade, and that they are going to Africa to get slaves illegally. Ben stout said it would be a safe journey, just a little risky. The only thing that Jessie could think of was how he was going to get home.

Slave Trade - The buying and selling of slaves from one to another.

Jessie is getting used to ship life, which includes less food, water, a mean and stern captain, and also the rough sleeping conditions of sleeping in a hammock. Jessie also has to get used to only getting rations.

But all Jessie was worried about was how he would get home. He imaged walking through the door and seeing his mother's surprised expression. He thought of home until he fell alseep.

 

 

 

Ration:
A decided portion of 

food that is decided by a 

captain or leader,

and are usually used

over long distance

travels.

The Moonlight arrives in Africa after dark. They hadn't seen any U.S fleets and hoped they never would. After docking the ship, rowboats began coming out from Africa, filled. Jessie sees the slaves being brought onto the ship naked and scared. The night before the captain had the broker on board to talk about the tax on docking the ship.

 

Broker - Also known as the Spainard, this person would be the one who would come on board the ship and discuss the tax for docking the ship in Cuba.

Jessie has to dance the slaves and sees them dance joylessly. They are also tired and sometimes can’t even stand to dance. Jessie has to dance them so that they can stay in shape.

The ship headed into Cuba for refueling, restocking and refilling food and water storage. After a king journey so far, all the food and water was running out. When captain Cawthone went back into his holds, Jessie sat next to a slave boy and whispered.

"Jessie," he said, and pointed to himself. The slave boy said nothing but seemed to understand.

 

When sailing, the crew/ship had to change flag along the sea to avoid trouble from British, U.S and Spanish fleets/ships. (this is after slave trade became illegal overseas.) Unfortunately, a crew member named Ben Stout put up the wrong flag when The Moonlight bumped into a U.S patrol ship. The ship began to sail towards the slaver ship for inspection. Captain Cawthorne began screaming at everyone and rushing and was freaking out. Jessie realized it was dangerous, so grabbed the slave boy he had met and hid in a lower part of the ship.

 

Jessie and the unknown slave boy hide in the holds for safety. The captain was getting frustrated with his crew and taking anger out on the slaves. While down there, a storm hit. The storm caused the boys to stay down in the holds for days.

 

Holds:

Where the slaves slept and lived in while in the journey overseas.

 

They go up to see everybody gone and the ship slowly sinking from the storm. They paddled away on a piece of wood from the boat to the newest unknown shore they see. They used a wooden plank to get them to shore and to help them not drown. The slave boy and Jessie both paddled and paddled, but the shore never seemed to come any closer.

 

Jessie and the slave boy wake up on an unknown land. Slave boy reveals his name as Ras. They meet Daniel, an old, black farmer who feeds them and tells them they are in Mississippi.

 

Two black men come to Daniel's where Jessie and Ras are staying at and they take Ras north for safety. Jessie walks home through a forest to New Orleans after saying goodbye and taking Daniels directions. Then he tells his family everything when he arrives back to his home in New Orleans.

After the experience Jessie can no longer listen to music due to dancing the slaves. He ends up fighting for the union after the experience during the Civil War.