Barracoon: used to describe the structures used to detain Africans who would be sold and exported to Europe or the Americas.
“That though the heart is breaking, happiness can exist in a moment, also. And because the moment in which we live is all the time there really is, we can keep going.”
― Zora Neale Hurston, Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”
Before I read a book like this, I typically steal myself against what I’m sure will be an appalling account of the horrors of slavery.
Barracoon is the emotional account of Olusale Kossula (Cudjo Lewis), and his experience of being one of the more than 12 million African men, women, and children who were kidnapped, chained and sold into life-long captivity and servitude.
After reading this book, I was appropriately outraged as usual, but I was also enlightened by some of the more nuanced aspects of who all played a role in this worldwide crime against humanity.
I was struck by the extent of evolvement by African tribes like the Dahomey people. The Dahomey played a prominent role in the abduction and forced enslavement of countless Africans.
Although this doesn’t diminish the culpability of European nations and their role in the trade or their subsequent colonization and subjugation of the entire continent. What it does, is provide us with a more well-rounded view from which to navigate from.
Zora Neale Hurston insisted that Kossula be allowed to tell his story in his own voice and distinct dialect, which provides us with a rare window into the experience of one person’s journey from free African to American slave. This is a perspective that is usually left out of the story of enslavement.
Most of all, this is a story of the search for connection – to the land of our birth, to its people, and for a sense of our common humanity.
Cudjo Lewis – The Last American Slave. 1 minute video
Interesting News Report video – 3 minutes
Oluale Kossola, the Last Survivor of the Atlantic Slave Trade – 12 minute history lesson.
One of the take aways from this video for me is the continued affirmation that Thomas Jefferson’s hypocrisy was limitless!
Peep this article while you’re at it: The ugly truth: the third president was a creepy, brutal hypocrite.
Fascinating Video Featuring the Voices of Ex Slaves. 10 minutes
Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees
The following are images from children’s book author Franck Prévot and illustrator Aurélia Fronty and their story about Wangari Maathai, who is responsible for planting 30 million trees and empowering women to partake in social change.
Midweek Post //