Crab Rattle Shackle

3/30/20 

COVID-19 Response UPDATE: 

Oak Alley Plantation's historic grounds & exhibits will temporarily close through April 12, 2020 at which time we will re-evaluate the COVID-19 situation.  

Please follow us on social media or visit the website for any updates. 

 

 

 

Crab Rattle Shackle

 

O2012.007.001

 

 

 

 

 

Date

ca. early 19th century

 

People

n/a

 

Geography

United States

 

Material/Technique

Cast iron

 

Dimensions

19.05 x 11.4 x 6.4 cm

 

Credit

The Collection of Oak Alley Foundation

 

Marks

None

 

Location

“Big House” exhibit

   Artifact room

 

Description

American slavery was an institution that dehumanized Africans and their descendants. Those enslaved often sought to take back their freedom. However, should their attempt at freedom fail and they were caught, they were returned to their owner or resold, now labeled a “maroon” or “runaway”. Such slaves were put in restraints in order to prevent future freedom-seeking attempts.

 

This crab rattle shackle was one of many different devices used to track a person’s movements via sound. The shackle is formed by two oblong “pockets” on either side that are filled with small metal balls that create sound when moved. The shackle would have been wrapped around a person’s ankle then attached to either to a post via a chain or closed with a lock. The length of time a person was shackled was indefinite and infinite. In addition to constant noise with each movement, the person wearing the shackle could also suffer rash, blisters, broken skin, burns, and bruises.

 


 

Divisions: 
"Big House" Exhibit: Artifact Room
"Big House" Exhibit Exterior
"Big House" Exhibit: Dining Room
"Big House" Exhibit: Lavender Room
Foundation Storage

 

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