of this online exhibit is to provide information on the history of the Wanderer as well as the historical context within which this story unfolded.
In a world of camels and straws, the landing of this slave ship and subsequent trial was another piece of hay on the proverbial camel's back - which not merely broke, but shattered into a million devastating pieces. Who placed the final straw is debatable: was it the election of a republican president, or guns fired on Fort Sumter by Americans on Americans? The first strand placed is also debatable: was it the Founding Fathers' blind eye toward slavery, or earlier with the arrival of 20 Africans to Jamestown in 1619?
The bulk of the camel's crushing weight came from forty years of legislation ironically trying to relieve the creature's arduous burden. The arrival of 400 Africans to the Georgia coast couldn't help but add to the strain on a back giving way to destruction.
"If we allow slaves we act against the very principals by which we associated together, which was to relieve the distressed. Whereas now we should occasion the misery of thousands in Africa. . . and bring into perpetual slavery the poor people who now live free there."
-General James Oglethorpe (founder of the colony of Georgia)