Cover image for Bound for America : the forced migration of Africans to the New World
Bound for America : the forced migration of Africans to the New World

Publication Information:
New York : Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books/Morrow, c1999.
Physical Description:
48 p. : illustrations (some color).
Reading Level:
1220 L Lexile
Discusses the European enslavement of Africans, including their capture, branding, conditions on slave ships, shipboard mutinies, and arrival in the Americas.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 382.44 HAS 1 1

On Order



Between about 1500 and 1850, millions of Africans were captured and transported across the Atlantic in one of the most tragic ordeals in human history. In this objective and profoundly moving book, Haskins and Benson open with discussions of slavery thoughout history and of Europe and Africa at the time the African slave trade began, then closely examine every aspect of the Middle Passage. Included are sections on capturing the slaves, the march to the coast, the selection of slaves for purchase, conditions on slave ships, and slave revolts aboard ship. Illuminated with historic prints, photographs, and Floyd Cooper's compelling paintings. Timeline, bibliography, map, and index included.

Author Notes

Author Jim Haskins was born in Demopolis, Alabama on September 19, 1941. He received a B.A. from Georgetown University in 1960, a B.S. from Alabama State University in 1962, and a M.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1963. After graduation, he became a special education teacher in a public school in Harlem. His first book, Diary of a Harlem School Teacher, was the result of his experience there. He taught at numerous colleges and universities before becoming an English professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville in 1977.

He wrote more than 100 books during his lifetime, ranging from counting books for children to biographies on Rosa Parks, Hank Aaron and Spike Lee. He won numerous awards for his work including the 1976 Coretta Scott King Award for The Story of Stevie Wonder, the 1984 Coretta Scott King Award for Lena Horne, the 1979 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Scott Joplin: The Man Who Made Ragtime; and the 1994 Washington Post Children's Book Guide Award. He also won the Carter G. Woodson Award for young adult non-fiction for Black Music in America; The March on Washington; and Carter G. Woodson: The Man Who Put "Black" in American History in 1989, 1994, and 2001, respectively. He died from complications of emphysema on July 6, 2005 at the age of 63.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Horn Book Review

The book briefly discusses slavery practiced as the result of war or debts, but the major focus is the practice of slavery based on the race of the enslaved. The writing is crisp and is liberally punctuated with brief quotes from works by slave traders, slaves, and those whose lives came in contact with both. Historical prints and photographs and Cooper's paintings support and extend the text. Bib., ind. From HORN BOOK Fall 1999, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-9. The statistics are devastating: historians estimate that in the late 1600s "at least one out of every four slaves died while crossing the Atlantic"; in the 1700s it was about one in eight, but one of every four survivors died shortly after arriving in the New World. Cooper's strong oil-wash paintings, with their focus on individual faces, make intensely personal these statistics and the detailed historical facts about the slave trade. The second in a projected seven-part From African Beginnings series (one book to be published annually each January), the large-size volume also includes historic prints and photographs in a spacious design that makes an extraordinary amount of information accessible. Beginning with a brief overview of slavery through history and then in Europe and Africa in 1492, the facts are organized in two-or three-page chapters that detail how the slaves were captured, marched to the coast, imprisoned in holding pens, selected for purchase, and branded. Then the focus is on the brutal conditions on the slave ships and the feeding and "dancing" of the slaves. There are descriptions of shipboard mutinies, including the Amistad revolt, and accounts of mass suicides. The prose is flat, but no one wants rhetoric with this kind of horror. There is no documentation for direct quotes (in fact, Equiano is quoted with no reference to who he is), but there is a useful bibliography, and the book ends with a four-page chronology. Pair this with Tom Feelings' The Middle Passage (1995). --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-Seldom has the plight of the African natives who were sent into slavery in the New World been more clearly and effectively presented. This combination of clear text and judicious use of primary-source material makes crystalline the inhumanity and commercialism that kept the trade in slaves alive for 350 years. Eighteen brief chapters illustrated with period and contemporary art cover the history of slavery in general; European and African society in 1492, when Columbus's contact with the New World precipitated the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade; the mechanics of the slave trade from capture to delivery; conditions on slave ships; mutinies; and what slaves could expect at the end of their journey. The volume includes a time line, a list for further reading divided between works for adults and for young people, and a sound index. Cooper's oil-and-wash paintings are exceptional, their impact resulting largely from the artist's ability to capture the suffering and stoicism of his subjects. Following on the heels of Haskins's and Benson's African Beginnings (Lothrop, 1998), this volume successfully continues the exploration of the history of people of African descent. Narrower in scope than Milton Meltzer's The Black Americans (HarperCollins, 1987) and Julius Lester's To Be a Slave (Dial, 1968), it shares their predilection for primary-source narrative. An excellent companion to Paula Fox's The Slave Dancer (Dell, 1975), this book will provide ample opportunity for thought and discussion.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Taking a big step up from its glamorous, superficial predecessor, African Beginnings (p. 111), this volume looks at the history of slavery in Europe and Africa, plus the growth and decline of the New World slave trade, with a narrative that is closely based on contemporary accounts and full-color and black-and-white illustrations from a variety of sources. After creating a historical background for the Age of Exploration, the authors explain how the slave trade came to dominate commerce with Africa, describe in harsh detail the treatment of captives before and during the infamous Middle Passage, take up the topic of slave mutinies (including the Amistad revolt), and end with the slaves' arrival in port. Cooper's emotionally intense, soft focus scenes of agonized or downcast captives are interspersed with crisply reproduced, mostly well-chosen art from Ancient Egypt to a mid-20th century mural; back matter includes a detailed chronology to 1808, when the trade was outlawed in the US, and a well-founded bibliography. A strong summary of an epic historical tragedy that is both sobering and illuminating. (index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 9-12)

Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-This engrossing and detailed account of the Middle Passage evokes powerful images through full-page oil paintings, riveting reproductions, and maps. A moving story told with authority and sensitivity. (Jan.) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.