Once part of the Middle Passage Museum benefactor's inventory, these authentic and extraordinarily RARE, Slave Ship shackles have been de-accessioned from the personal collection of the museum's anonymous Georgia benefactor who is cited below.
These iron, hand-forged, 19th century slave ship shackles were purchased back in the early 1960’s out of a family estate in New Orleans, Louisiana, whose 18th and 19th century ancestors were involved in the slave trade. The shackles remain all-original and untouched with fifteen very heavy chain links that vary in size, measuring a total of 40 inches in length when positioned in a straight line. The cuff size is enormous with diameter measurements of 4.75 and 4.25 inches each; the heft and weight of each cuff is quite impressive. This very weighty set was designed to immobilize when the two circular links were attached to another locking shackle on the interior wall of the ship. An utterly horrible, tangible testament to the malevolence of slavery.
The anonymous museum benefactor from Georgia kept this particular set aside from those items he had planned to donate to the Middle Passage Museum due to the rarity in opportunity of acquiring slave ship shackles---the only set he acquired in his many years of collecting which began in the early 1950's before the collectible field of Black Americana was popular or even socially or politically acceptable.
Also currently offered for sale and priced separately are a rarely found, 19thC Slave Rattle Shackle out of the Charleston, South Carolina area and a set of early 19th century, child/young adolescent - size, Slave Crab Rattle Shackles. Please type the word "shackles" in the search box on our home page to find these sets of shackles.
The Middle Passage Museum was the dream of Jim and Mary Anne Petty of Mississippi as well as that of an anonymous Georgian benefactor who had together compiled a collection of slave artifacts numbering over 15,000 pieces and who had hoped to find a permanent site in Mobile, Alabama, for their museum. While they formed a non-profit organization to raise funds for their hoped-for museum, their dream was never realized.
In a 2003 statement, Jim Petty remarked, "The importance of the exhibit of these artifacts is to understand the harshness of what slavery and segregation was all about. The items in the exhibit remind us of the terrible heinousness of slavery. Viewing the collection can be very emotional, but it is a tool through which we can understand, honor and respect a great culture. We want to realize that out of slavery, a great culture emerged, and carried on, and continued to strive for a better life regardless of the adverse conditions that were placed upon them."