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“A profound impact on Hurston’s literary legacy.”—New York Times
“One of the greatest writers of our time.”—Toni Morrison
“Zora Neale Hurston’s genius has once again produced a Maestrapiece.”—Alice Walker
A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.
In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.
In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.
Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Zora Neale Hurston, the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, was deemed "one of the greatest writers of our time" by Toni Morrison. With the publication of Lies and Other Tall Tales, The Skull Talks Back, and What's the Hurry, Fox? new generations will be introduced to Hurston's legacy. She was born in Notasulga, Alabama, in 1891, and died in 1960.
Date of Birth:January 7, 1891
Date of Death:January 28, 1960
Place of Birth:Eatonville, Florida
Place of Death:Fort Pierce, Florida
Education:B.A., Barnard College, 1928 (the school's first black graduate). Went on to study anthropology at Columbia University.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Those Who Love Us Never Leave Us Alone with Our Grief: Reading Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" Alice Walker xi
Editor's Note xxxiii
II The King Arrives 29
VI Barracoon 59
VII Slavery 67
VIII Freedom 73
IX Marriage 79
X Kossula Learns About Law 87
XII Alone 103
Takkoi or Attako-Children's Game 109
Stories Kossula Told Me 111
The Monkey and the Camel 116
Story of de Jonah 119
Now Disa Abraham Fadda de Faitful 122
The Lion Woman 124
Afterword and Additional Materials Edited Deborah G. Plant
Founders and Original Residents of Africatown 167
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Incredible historical account, the use of the vernacular maybe hard for some but it makes you feel as if your sitting in on a extraordinary history lesson.
Acclaimed author Zora Neale Hurston traveled to Alabama in the late 20s-early30s to interview Cudjo Lewis, who was captured by a rival African tribe and sold into American slavery. He was on the last ever slave ship, the Clotilda, to transport human cargo to the United States. Initially, Hurston attempted to pose questions to Cudjo, but he often went his own way with his stories. Amongst numerous other stories, he spoke of his life in Africa, the day when he was captured and the time he spent in the barracoon waiting to be placed on the ship. He also spoke of family trade ies, some of which pointed to the racial injustice and inequality. The book is very short and the stories of Cudjo's experiences of being captured, sold and transported to America didn't carry any impact for me. Hurston wrote down his words as they sounded to her because of his broken English. I was impacted by this as an African-American to think of how far we have had to come to overcome the obstacles placed in our way. Yet I found myself wanting more of his experiences as a captor and a slave. I was left unsatisfied.
This book is not easy to read due to the content. It is haunting and deep, but a story that needs to be read.
Eye opening potrait of the last African slave
I've read better accounts of slave narratives.