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Slaves Refining Sugar Cane
Slaves boiled cane juice to make it into sugar. First, slaves also boiled the cane juice, ladling scum from the surface of the scalding liquid and then transferring it from kettle to kettle, reducing the syrup to crystals. Slaves routinely suffered burns during this process, often referred to as the "Jamaica Train," and the heat in the sugar houses was so intense that slaves were rotated out after four hours, their limbs swollen from the heat and humidity. Once the crystals formed, there was still heavy labor ahead. The harder the solid cakes of sugar were, the better the sugar quality, but the pieces had to broken up with shovels, picks and crowbars. Finally, sugar was shoveled into hogsheads (wooden barrels) and packed solidly before the barrel holes were plugged with a piece of sugarcane. Painted with a digital paintbrush and Wacom Board in 2006.
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