They were the notorious slave ships ferrying Africans from their homeland into bondage on U.S. shores.
The Middle Passage, or the route the slave ships took, brought more than 10 million people to America who would become slaves. Two million more died in the ocean crossing.
The Middle Passage Project is now working to place historic markers around the Florida coast, at ports where the slave ships docked. Future sites of remembrance include Amelia Island and St. Augustine.
Says director Ann Chinn, "Florida is unique because of the diversity of Africans imported, the fact that it is the birthplace of the first recorded African American descendant, and Florida also has the distinction of having the longest documented history of enslaved African importation of any US state... into the 1860s."
The Florida Historical Society has endorsed the initiative. Learn more at www.middlepassageproject.org.