Sunderland: James Field Stanfield

Painting of James Field Stanfield in a dark room, sitting for a portrait.
  James Field Standfield (1749-1824) Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
Painting of James Field Stanfield in a dark room, sitting for a portrait.

When

1749-1824

Where

Sunderland

James Field Stanfield (1749-1824) was the first ‘ordinary’ sailor to become involved in transporting enslaved Africans. James was horrified by what he saw on the slave ships and he began to write about his experiences.

The descriptions of what he witnessed were recorded in pamphlets and published for others to read. As the word spread about how awful the conditions were, a political movement arose to ban slavery and the slave trade. Those who supported it were called ‘abolitionists’. James’s writings helped inform the public about the plight of captured Africans and contributed considerably to the abolition movement.

James Field Stanfield’s account of the slave trade was in many ways more detailed, more gruesome, and, in a word, more dramatic, than anything that had yet appeared in print by May 1788.

Marcus Rediker ,The Slave Ship: A Human History

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