Thursday, July 07, 2011

FLASHBACK: "Reverse Planking" Is Method Used to Chain Slaves to Ships for Transport from Africa (1788)

I first heard about planking (or plankin') only a week or so ago when people flooded my Twitter timeline with pictures of people planking (for an example of someone planking). I may be behind the times, but I don't follow a lot of trends unless they directly affect me. While a few of the planking pictures I saw were entertaining, it seemed like a waste of time.

If you are unfamiliar with planking, the UrbanDictionary.com defines planking as the art of laying face down horizontally across any object or the ground with arms by the sides, aiming to occur in daring situations or a brotherly display of core-strength.

I didn't think much of the fad until I saw the above picture from Stowage of the British Slave Ship Brookes under the Regulated Slave Trade Act of 1788 (see below for a close-up). Namely, "reverse" planking is the way that the slave transporters restrained the slaves in the slave ships for the journey across the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere.

Often the ships...transported hundreds of slaves, who were chained tightly to plank beds...They were confined to cargo holds with each slave chained with little room to move.



The main difference with today's planking and the slave transport practice is the slaves were transported face up and today's planking is performed face down. I hate to be a downer, but cats need to know their history before jumping on a trend that pops up out of nowhere. I wonder who was the first person to promote this planking practice to the black community.

It seems like this planking is essentially an art that is derived from a practice that was used in the slave trade & distribution system.

Source: Library of Congress

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

No actual connection anymore than I had while lying in my bed last night. Why is everyone reaching to make this a race thing?

justmemiked said...

cause it is a race thing and always will be. stop being naive and open ur damn eyes. u might not be racists but others are!

Anonymous said...

Don't just say "cause it is a race thing" without some form of back up, you have no clue why the majority of people are doing it..........just because you want to put some negative racist context on this act doesn't mean everyone else is doing it in the name of racism........i like to believe they are doing it because it brings laughter and happiness in their lives.........not everything needs to be dragged down in the name of racism as it has been in this country lately

laughingdragonwaterdragon said...

Planking is just a reference to being flat like a plank. The language is common to all so the same words will be used for many different things.

I think planking is just a silly joke/sharing silly activity type of thing which people like to do. In other words, a fad. I saw an article with lots of planking photos and looked at a few. People were having fun. The fad seems to have originated in Britain.