Why the storyteller matters as much as the story itself

National Geographic Explorer Tara Roberts dives into shipwrecks to recover the histories of African captives in the transatlantic slave trade.

The Atlantic Ocean, Tara Roberts writes, is full of “souls who have never been acknowledged or mourned. Dreamers, poets, artists, thinkers, scientists, farmers.”

And so begins a powerful essay of discovery: the magazine’s cover story and a special six-part Nat Geo podcast called Into the Depths. Roberts, a National Geographic Explorer, has traveled coastal waters from the United States to South Africa to Costa Rica, searching for what remains of the ships that an estimated 12.5 million Africans were forced onto during four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade.

(A new six-part podcast series, Into the Depths, explores the complex history of the global slave trade and the stories of the estimated 12.5 million Africans forced to make the Middle Passage. Listen now on Apple Podcasts.)

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