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Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"

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Description

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

From the author of the classic Their Eyes Were Watching God comes a landmark publication - a never-before-published work of the American experience.

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston traveled to Plateau, Alabama, to visit eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis, a survivor of the Clotilda, the last slaver known to have made the transatlantic journey. Illegally brought to the United States, Cudjo was enslaved fifty years after the slave trade was outlawed.

At the time, Cudjo was the only person alive who could recount this integral part of the nation’s history. As a cultural anthropologist, Hurston was eager to hear about these experiences firsthand. But the reticent elder didn’t always speak when she came to visit. Sometimes he would tend his garden, repair his fence, or appear lost in his thoughts.

Hurston persisted, though, and during an intense three-month period, she and Cudjo communed over her gifts of peaches and watermelon, and gradually Cudjo, a poetic storyteller, began to share heartrending memories of his childhood in Africa; the attack by female warriors who slaughtered his townspeople; the horrors of being captured and held in the barracoons of Ouidah for selection by American traders; the harrowing ordeal of the Middle Passage aboard the Clotilda as “cargo” with more than one hundred other souls; the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War; and finally his role in the founding of Africatown.

Barracoon employs Hurston’s skills as both an anthropologist and a writer, and brings to life Cudjo’s singular voice, in his vernacular, in a poignant, powerful tribute to the disremembered and the unaccounted. This profound work is an invaluable contribution to our history and culture.

NPR –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Review

Barracoon and its long path to print is a testament to Zora’s singular vision amid so many competing pressures that continue to put us at war with ourselves.

— “Huffington Post “

Barracoon is a testament to [Zora’s] patient fieldwork.

— “Vulture”

[Hurston] was determined to present Kossola’s story in as authentic a manner as possible. That authenticity includes rendering his words in patois…That mark of the griot, or West African traditional storyteller, is evident as Kossola recounts moments of resistance…We are fortunate to have this late work of Hurston’s, which is sure to be widely read.

— “Kirkus Reviews”

A man who lived across one century and two continents, Kossola’s life was marked, repeatedly and relentlessly, by loss: of his homeland, of his humanity, of his given names, of his family. For decades, his full story, from his perspective and in his voice, was also lost, but with the publication of Barracoon, it is rightfully restored.

— “Smithsonian “

A remarkable account…whose brevity disguises its richness and depth…Kossola (aka Cudjo)…was nineteen years old when he was sold into slavery; thus, his accounts of folkways and traditions offer more graphic and personal immediacy than other surviving narratives of the slave trade…Kossola’s story-in the vernacular of his own words-is an invaluable addition to American social, cultural, and political history.

— “Publishers Weekly (starred review)”

A testament to the enormous losses millions of men, women, and children endured in both slavery and freedom-a story of urgent relevance to every American, everywhere.

— “Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning author “

An impactful story that will stick with you long after the final page.

— “Parade”

Brimming with observational detail from a man whose life spanned continents and eras, the story is at times devastating, but Hurston’s success in bringing it to light is a marvel.

— “NPR”

Capturing the dialect, accent, and intonation of Cudjo Lewis, then living in Alabama, presents a challenging task for narrator Robin Miles, who must deliver one of the integral aspects of Hurston’s work: a reconstruction of Lewis’ African and Southern accents. Miles’ rendition is well done, with clear, deliberate diction that places appropriate emphasis on Lewis’ emotional reactions. Also included is an introduction to Hurston’s work. Traditional music at transition points sets the mood of the rural South. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.

— “AudioFile”

His story, documented by Hurston in Lewis’ specific vernacular, is performed here by audiobook great Robin Miles, who not only nails the accents but strikes the exact balance between the warmth in Hurston’s internal narration and the conversational eccentricities of her spoken conversations with Lewis. A new Zora Neale Hurston book is something that by definition never happens, so don’t sleep on this necessary, entertaining listen.

— “Paste Magazine (audio review)”

Hurston’s recovered masterpiece, Barracoon, is a stunning addition to several overlapping canons of American literature…[Hurston] makes herself almost invisible in this book, dedicating entire chapters to Kossola’s monologues, with few authorial interventions.

— “Washington Post”

Kossula’s story reminds us that Emancipation did not end those assaults on the communities and families of African Americans but rather enabled their continuation through other means.

— “Nation”

The details he shared with Hurston are indelible…[In] Hurston’s attentive gaze [there is] not restitution but the consolations of kinship and witness.

— “New York Times Book Review”

This is a rare account of the full experience of enslavement from capture to ‘freedom’ and a revealing look at Hurston’s maturing as a folklorist.

— “Library Journal”

Though both Hurston and Lewis are long gone, Hurston’s account of the former slave’s life serves as a timely reminder of our shared humanity-and the consequences that can occur if we forget it.

— “People”

Zora Neale Hurston’s genius has once again produced a Maestrapiece.

— “Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author “ –This text refers to the audioCD edition.

From the Back Cover

From the author of the classic Their Eyes Were Watching God comes a landmark publication – a never-before-published work of the American experience.

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston traveled to Plateau, Alabama, to visit eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis, a survivor of the Clotilda, the last slaver known to have made the transatlantic journey. Illegally brought to the United States, Cudjo was enslaved fifty years after the slave trade was outlawed.

At the time, Cudjo was the only person alive who could recount this integral part of the nation’s history. As a cultural anthropologist, Hurston was eager to hear about these experiences firsthand. But the reticent elder didn’t always speak when she came to visit. Sometimes he would tend his garden, repair his fence, or appear lost in his thoughts.

Hurston persisted, though, and during an intense three-month period, she and Cudjo communed over her gifts of peaches and watermelon, and gradually Cudjo, a poetic storyteller, began to share heartrending memories of his childhood in Africa; the attack by female warriors who slaughtered his townspeople; the horrors of being captured and held in the barracoons of Ouidah for selection by American traders; the harrowing ordeal of the Middle Passage aboard the Clotilda as “cargo” with more than one hundred other souls; the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War; and finally his role in the founding of Africatown.

Barracoon employs Hurston’s skills as both an anthropologist and a writer, and brings to life Cudjo’s singular voice, in his vernacular, in a poignant, powerful tribute to the disremembered and the unaccounted. This profound work is an invaluable contribution to our history and culture.

–This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

About the Author

Zora Neale Hurston was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. She was the author of four novels (Jonah’s Gourd Vine, 1934; Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937; Moses, Man of the Mountain, 1939; and Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948); two books of folklore (Mules and Men, 1935; and Tell My Horse, 1938); an autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942); and more than fifty short stories, essays, and plays. She attended Howard University, Barnard College, and Columbia University, and graduated from Barnard College in 1927. She was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, and grew up in Eatonville, Florida. She died in Fort Pierce, Florida, in 1960. In 1973, Alice Walker had a headstone placed at Hurston’s grave site with this epitaph: Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South.

Deborah G. Plant is an African American literature and Africana studies scholar and literary critic whose special interest is the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston.

Robin Miles, named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, an Audie Award for directing, and many Earphones Awards. Her film and television acting credits include The Last Days of Disco, Primary Colors, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order, New York Undercover, National Geographic’s Tales from the Wild, All My Children, and One Life to Live. She regularly gives seminars to members of SAG and AFTRA actors’ unions, and in 2005 she started Narration Arts Workshop in New York City, offering audiobook recording classes and coaching. She holds a BA degree in theater studies from Yale University, an MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama, and a certificate from the British American Drama Academy in England.

–This text refers to the audioCD edition.

Additional information

ASIN

B071YRWK84

Publisher

Amistad; Reprint edition May 8 2018

Publication date

May 8 2018

Language

English

File size

9587 KB

Text-to-Speech

Enabled

Screen Reader

Supported

Enhanced typesetting

Enabled

X-Ray

Enabled

Word Wise

Not Enabled

Print length

210 pages

Lending

Not Enabled

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Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”

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