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Christian Missionary Party Crossing the River.jpg

Christian Missionary Party Crossing the River

A Christian missionary party crossing the Aruwimi river in the Aruwimi Welle zone of the Belgian Congo. This image (Neg. 102) formed part of the Harris Lantern Slide Collection and was used in the Harris Lecture No.2. 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 and Panos Pictures.

Bridge over the lagoon at Lobito Bay

Canoeing on the Aruwimi. Mrs. Harris and native attendants in foreground

A Baringa paddler – famous for his boat songs

Rowing boat pulling hard against the current above the Devil's Cauldron, lower Congo. Forced to abandon journey and return down stream

Palm in grip of parasite

Palm tree in grip of parasite, Kasai River