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Men of the Nsongo District (ABIR concession).jpg

Men of the Nsongo District

Men of the Nsongo District (ABIR concession) with hands of two of their countrymen Lingomo and Bolenge murdered by rubber sentries of ABIR Anglo-Belgian India Rubber Company in May 1904. The two European men are Mr Stannard and Mr Harris of the Congo Balolo Mission at Baringa. This image (Neg. 119) formed part of the Harris Lantern Slide Collection. Under King Leopold II the Congo Free State used mass forced labour to extract rubber from the jungle for the European market. As consumer demand grew King Leopold II's private army - the Force Publique - used violent means to coerce the population into meeting quotas, including murder, mutilation, rape, village burning, starvation and hostage taking. Alice Seeley Harris and her husband Reverend John H. Harris were missionaries in the Congo Free State from the late 1890s. Alice produced a collection of images documenting the horrific abuses of the African rubber labourers. Her photographs are considered to be an important development in the history of humanitarian campaigning. The images were used in a number of publications. The Harrises also used the photographs to develop the Congo Atrocity Lantern Lecture which toured Britain and the the USA raising awareness of the issue of colonial abuses under King Leopold II's regime. Source: Antislavery International.

Natives of Nsongo Mboyo, upper Congo