As the slave ships approached the Caribbean, it became important for captains to present the Africans in the best possible condition for prospective buyers. Slaves were scrubbed and their wounds filled with hot tar before auction. The unsold and frail were often sold by scramble auctions, where after agreeing a flat rate, plantation owners would race to grab the best workforce.

Discuss the treatment of slaves prior to and at auctions and look at case studies of the treatment of individual slaves. Students could list their own concerns about the ill treatment of slaves before putting themselves in the position of slave trader and attempt to answer these concerns based on business, moral and cultural justifications from the time.