Black History: Special Delivery!!
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In 1803 one of the largest mass suicides of enslaved persons occurred on St. Simons Island in Glynn County, Georgia. Hailing from what is now Nigeria, enslaved Igbo captives were transported to the Georgia coast on the “Wanderer” slave ship. The average cost paid for each of the enslaved by slave merchants, John Couper and Thomas Spalding was approximately $100. The enslaved were to be resold to plantations on St. Simons Island.
During their transport to St. Simons Island, approximately 75 of the enslaved Igbo, launched a rebellion and took control of the ship that was transporting them. They drowned their captors which resulted in the grounding of the ship in Dunbar Creek. The order of events that took place following the ship running aground is uncertain. What is known, is that the enslaved Igbo, came ashore, singing, led by their high chief. At the chief’s command, the group of Igbo, walked into Dunbar Creek, committing mass suicide. A written account of the mass suicide was documented by Roswell King, a white overseer from the Pierce Butler Plantation. King, along with another man, recovered a large number of the drowned bodies. It appears that only a portion of the Igbo actually drowned. In total, only 13 bodies were recovered from Dunbar Creek; while others remained missing. It is believed that some may have actually survived; making the total number of deaths unclear.Continue reading “Igbo Island Mass Suicide of 1803”