Slave Ships

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Project by Brian Sims posted 02-16-2020 04:49 PM 1015 views 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was commissioned by two families to create these special woodcarvings. They are based on the diagram of a slave ship, included. Each ship has 292 human beings depicted. The people are separated into different sections of the ship, adult males, adult females, boys and small children. The inhumanity in this diagram is incomprehensible. The story and the image however must still be told and shared in their graphic reality. We cannot allow their story to be forgotten, downplayed or denied. In that spirit, I offer these two hand carved works of historical wood art.

31” long x 11” wide
Ambrosia Maple

-- Brian, North Carolina,

19 comments so far

View Skylark53's profile


2865 posts in 4184 days

#1 posted 02-16-2020 04:57 PM

Great work of art. Preserving these horrific acts and practices, though painful to view, should challenge and direct us to a HIGHER PATH. Congratulations on this work and thank you for sharing.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View Brian Sims's profile

Brian Sims

125 posts in 3895 days

#2 posted 02-16-2020 07:43 PM

Thank you Rick!

-- Brian, North Carolina,

View EllenWoodHead's profile


166 posts in 500 days

#3 posted 02-16-2020 09:26 PM

Nice work, and a worthy project. 12.5 million enslaved African people, around 10 million survived the Middle Passage. Then more deaths after they got here. We need to remember what we did.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View Peteybadboy's profile


3519 posts in 3073 days

#4 posted 02-16-2020 09:37 PM


We do need to be reminded of our human history. I think you did that with grace and skill.

-- Petey

View Brian Sims's profile

Brian Sims

125 posts in 3895 days

#5 posted 02-16-2020 10:32 PM

EllenWoodHead and Peteybadboy, Thank you! They were emotionally draining pieces to carve. Their story must be told over and over again.

-- Brian, North Carolina,

View BigAl98's profile


275 posts in 4163 days

#6 posted 02-17-2020 04:38 AM

I appreciate your diligence in completing the job, even as it progressed and your moral shock grew. I can’t say good job, but can say “good man”. Also, I’ll risk going OT, but don’t forget that many of the Union Army gave their lives or suffered severe wounds to stop slavery in the US. Also some estimate say that 1 million slaves where freed by the Union Armies(out of a aprox pop of 4 mil).

-- Al,Midwest -To thine own self be true

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 4007 days

#7 posted 02-17-2020 06:39 AM

Wow, seeing these brings me a feeling of horror and deep sadness. Thank you for sharing a bit of your soul by carving these.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Brian Sims's profile

Brian Sims

125 posts in 3895 days

#8 posted 02-17-2020 12:37 PM

Thanks Manitario!

-- Brian, North Carolina,

View becikeja's profile


1175 posts in 3937 days

#9 posted 02-17-2020 01:00 PM

I’ve seen this picture before. Its hard to believe that this actually happened. A couple of weeks ago I watched a PBS special on the holocaust. It was inconceivable that human beings could be reduced to this by other human beings. We are already forgetting these events, because they are so inhumane. I watch the news at what is acceptable and what is suppressed. I hope this work is viewed by thousands and becomes a work to help humanity never forget…...

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Brian Sims's profile

Brian Sims

125 posts in 3895 days

#10 posted 02-17-2020 01:15 PM

BigAl98, Thanks! With all due respect I must respond with the following: The Union Army did suffer losses fighting the Civil War and ultimately freeing slaves. Tens of thousands of former slaves fought were wounded and died while fighting as part of the Union Army (estimated 40,000) as well. Total Union soldier deaths were about 620,000. Estimates of how many slaves died in their transatlantic voyage range from 1.2 million to 2.4 million. I agree, both parts of this story are important, but the 10+ million people who were forcibly enslaved and among them the millions who died were victims, chattel property. Even Ulysses S. Grant owned slaves and only freed them after the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865. Although I see and agree with some aspects of your point, it is disheartening to think these images still elicit, the, but we saved them response. If not for us, they would not have needed saving. We all need to look at these harsh images and see them for what they are, not how they fit into a comfortable narrative.

-- Brian, North Carolina,

View Brian Sims's profile

Brian Sims

125 posts in 3895 days

#11 posted 02-17-2020 01:18 PM

Becikeja, Thank You! I hope in some small way these carvings are eye opening and informative for as many people as possible. Their story must continue to be told. We cannot afford to forget our inhumanity to our fellow human beings, lest we do it again.

-- Brian, North Carolina,

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9911 posts in 3452 days

#12 posted 02-17-2020 02:01 PM

I’ve seen that graphic several times and it never fails to both stun and sicken me.

When plumbed to it’s full depth, the scope of human depravity is pretty sickening.

Sadly, it’s a story told over and over again through the course of human history.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Fresch's profile


520 posts in 3045 days

#13 posted 02-17-2020 02:24 PM

It is bad, unfortunately it is still going on today.
“We”(humans) have practiced the slave trade for ever, the blacks themselves practice slavery, the U.S. is one of the shortest practitioners.
Did you know the first lawsuit to keep someone a slave was by a free black plantation owner against another black person?
Did you know not all blacks were slaves?
People say they are better off in the U.S. due to they could have been killed, eaten, sold to other more ruthless people, and their descendants now live in the U.S.; might compare the lifestyle of the U.S. against any African lifestyle.
True story: When I was very young our neighbors had a exchange student from Africa ( don’t recall country) got his degree as a medical doctor, his wife nursing, went back to the home land and was killed within (2) two years of returning.

View swirt's profile


6277 posts in 4096 days

#14 posted 02-17-2020 02:38 PM

Wow that is a powerful piece. I can not imagine the skill it took to carve each person, but also the feelings you must have had, carving each person. Thank you for doing it, and thank you for sharing it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Brian Sims's profile

Brian Sims

125 posts in 3895 days

#15 posted 02-17-2020 03:24 PM

swirt, Thank you very much!

-- Brian, North Carolina,

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