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Slave Trade Satire Shows Dark Abolitionist 'Humor'

Oct 4, 2007 (Talk of the Nation)

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A recently discovered, 18th-century satire petitions the British Parliament not to end the African slave trade — for the sake of African sharks. The disturbing satire is written in the voice of sharks that ate the bodies of slaves who jumped or were thrown overboard from slave ships.

Marcus Rediker, a professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, discovered "The Petition of the Sharks of Africa." He discusses the document and his new book, The Slave Ship: A Human History.

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