A major literary event: a never-before-published work from the author of the American classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God which brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave tradeillegally smuggled from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, to interview ninety-five-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 nations history. Hurston was there to record Cudjos 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 Cudjos pastmemories 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 Clotilde, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjos unique vernacular, and written from Hurstons perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon brilliantly illuminates the tragedy of slavery and 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....
|Title||:||Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"|
|Number of Pages||:||256 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Barracoon » Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"|
Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" Reviews
I went into this book thinking I would learn more about Cudjo's firsthand experience of slavery in the US, but the chapter about slavery is actually quite short. The most emotionally affective parts of the book for me were Cudjo's recollections of his wife and children, and the clear loneliness and anguish he felt in the present moment while talking to ZNH. It felt so human and raw. His voice comes alive off the page and his stories will stay with me for a long time.
Hurston wrote this work almost 90 years ago, but it is just being published for the first time now.
Through interviews, the book tells the life story of Cudjo, one of the last slaves to be brought from Africa to the US, and the last living African-born former slave alive when Hurston interviewed him.
As would be expected, the stories are violent and heartbreaking, but many are also about universal experiences of disappointment, love, and loss. Despite being written in Cudjo’s dialect, the stories ...more
“All these words from the seller, but not one word from the sold.”
Here, Zora Neale Hurston expresses why she wrote this book.
I have had difficulty rating this book. That the book has now finally come to be published IS of course wonderful. It should have been published decades and decades ago!
BUT, but, but… I do have some complaints with the final product.
Only half of this book is in fact Cudjo Lewis' story, his story, told by him. Zora Neale Hurston was absolutely right in demanding that his vo ...more
My Granny was 9 years old when Zora Neale Hurston visited Kossula, the last living slave to have been kidnapped from West Africa and brought to Alabama to be a slave. A survivor of slavery was living and could remember his enslavement and life in West Africa during my granny's lifetime. My Granny. Granny died in 2015 at the age of 97. My Granny came into womanhood knowing people who'd been slaves. So don't tell me slavery was a long time ago and we should just "get over it." I shared a life with ...more
This would be 5 stars if not for the uneven introduction and awkward endnotes. Cudjo's first person narrative is the reason to read this and it jumps off the page.
Wow! Kossulo’s story is touching and heartbreaking. I felt as if I was sitting there with him and he was personally telling me his story. There isn't much that needs to be said, go read it.
I was astounded when I first heard this book was being published - I’m a student of southern history, but I had never heard about slaver ships bringing in new slaves from Africa after the trans-Atlantic slave trade was abolished, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. So that was my initial draw to the book, learning about the slave trade and slavery from a man interviewed in the 1930s who had experienced it. Then to further learn that this was Zora Neale Hurston’s work that had gone unpublished ...more
Kossola's narrative is only about half the book. The remainder being a lengthy introduction with notes, appendices and acknowledgements at the end.
Kossola discusses in detail his upbringing, his capture, as well as his life after being freed; however, there is not much narrative about the middle passage and actual time during enslavement. The little he did provide about the passage was truly horrifying.
It was a little difficult to read Kossola's unique vernacular but it is understandable. His ...more