8 Disturbing Photos of Instruments of Torture Used on Black People

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torture cotton screw

Cotton screw

Moses Roper, a captured African who eventually escaped slavery in 1835, recounted the torture endured in punishment for running away in “Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery.”

A machine used for packing cotton used as an instrument of punishment. Roper had attempted yet another escape and among the “instruments of torture” applied to him was the “cotton screw”, a machine used for packing and pressing cotton.

Roper recalled: “He hung me up by the hands at letter a, a horse moving round the screw e* (*This screw is sometimes moved round by hand, when there is a handle on it. The screw is made with wood, a large tree cut down, and carved in the shape of a screw), and carrying it up and down, and pressing the block e into the box d, into which the cotton is put . . . . I was carried up ten feet from the ground, when Mr. Gooch . . . let me rest for five minutes, then carried me round again, after which, he let me down and put me into the box d and shut me down in it for about ten minutes . . .”

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