Tia Blassingame

Settled: African American Sediment or Constant Middle Passage

Tia Blassingame

Settled: African American Sediment or Constant Middle Passage



Edition Size



Leather, Letterpress


Nepalese lokta paper




Artist Book


15.25 × 9.75 in

$ 2,800.00


View Collectors

Library of Congress (LoC)

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Stanford University

University of California, Irvine (UCI)

University of Delaware Library

University of Virginia (UVA)

“The disruptive and mournful effects that death,
kidnapping, abuse, or assault have on a person and a
community transcend the borders of distance and time.

During the 1764–5 voyage of the Salty, a Brown family slaving
ship, from West Africa to the West Indies, 109 of 196 slaves
succumbed to suicide, disease, starvation, and injuries inflicted
during a failed slave insurrection. Using the line items from the
ship’s account book that noted their death, I attempted to embody
them by repeating and expanding on that brief notation.

Thinking about contemporary individuals who have lost
their lives, gone missing, or had their dignity assaulted,
I wrote bout how each person and related incident
affected me. Diverse themes are explored from the
criminalizing of the victim in the case of Trayvon Martin
to the absence of concern and media coverage for
kidnapped African Americans such as Relisha Rudd.

Each loss is mourned, each absence felt. All are
connected. We came over in the same ships. Today as
yesterday, we are stuck in this constant middle passage.”

— TB, 2016

Letterpress, original and concrete poetry.
Nepalese lokta paper; goatskin leather

From the colophon—
“All poems in Settled: African American Sediment, or Constant Middle Passage were written by Tia Blassingame between November 2014 and March 2015, after much time spent walking and meditating on the Rhode Island shoreline and the relationship of captive Africans and African Americans to the complexities of racism.
Settled was letterpress printed using Didot, Josefin Sans, and Phosphate typefaces on lokta paper.”