Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua: His Passage from Slavery to Freedom in Africa and America

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Overview

This remains one of the few biographies of a slave born in Africa who left a detailed account of his life and struggle for freedom in America.

Baquaqua was enslaved in northern Benin in the early 1840s, taken south through Togo to Ouidah, the port of Dahomey, shipped to Pernambuco in Brazil, and sold to a merchant from Rio, who sold him to a ship captain, who took him to New York City. There a little-known group, the New York Vigilance Society, convinced him to jump ship.

He escaped to Boston and traveled to Haiti, the only free Black state in the Americas, where he joined the American Free Baptist Mission. After converting to Christianity and learning English, he returned to the U.S. and attended college, traveling extensively on the abolitionist lecture circuit; his biography, written in Canada, was published in 1854 but has been virtually ignored since then.

In recent times some scholars have questioned the accuracy of biographies of slaves allegedly born in Africa. The editors of this volume have verified many of the details of Baquaqua's story by traveling to Djougou and Brazil retracing Baquaqua's path and collecting documents from African as well as North and South American sources.

Contemporary illustrations of the sites described by Baquaqua, along with his letters and other relevant documents, are included.

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Editorial Reviews

Hispanic American Historical Review
Particularly provocative is Law and Lovejoy's reading of the commercial and cosmopolitan background of Baquaqua's kin and community and his consequent diverse ethnic, religious, and linguistic inheritance. This book represents the authoritative edition of Baquaqua's narrative.
International Journal of African Historical Studies
This exemplary volume is worthy of study and emulation . . . . Extensive detail and clear overview of the present edition contrast powerfully with the previous versions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558764293
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 278

Table of Contents

Maps And Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Preface To The Second Edition

Introduction

An Interesting Narrative:

Biography Of Mahommah G. Baquaqua

Appendix 1 Affidavits, District Court, New York, 1847

1. Captain Clemente JosÈ da Costa of the LembranÁa,

before Judge Charles P. Daly, July 1847

2. Captain Clemente JosÈ da Costa,

before Judge Henry P. Edwards, 20 July 1847

3. JosÈ da Costa [Baquaqua] and JosÈ da Rocha,

through interpreter, William Ringold, July 1847

Appendix 2 Letters of the Rev. and Mrs. Judd (1847-48)

1. N.A.L. Judd to C. P. Grosvenor, 8 October 1847

2. W.L. Judd to Grosvenor, 28 October 1847

3. N.A.L. Judd to Grosvenor, 24 March 1848

4. W.L. Judd to Grosvenor, 21 July 1848

5. N.A.L. Judd to Grosvenor, 21 July 1848

6. N.A.L. Judd to Grosvenor, 13 November 1848

Appendix 3 Letters from Baquaqua (1848-54)

1. Baquaqua to Hepburn, undated [November 1848]

2. Baquaqua to C.P. Grosvenor, 14 November 1848

3. Baquaqua to Warham Walker [?], 28 September 1850

4. Baquaqua to Walker [?], 21 February 1851

5. Baquaqua to Mrs. Smith, 20 October 1851

6. Baquaqua to George Whipple, 10 August 1853

7. Baquaqua to Whipple, 14 September 1853

8. Baquaqua to unnamed recipient, 18 September 1853

9. Baquaqua to Whipple [?], 25 September 1853

10. Baquaqua to Whipple, 8 October 1853

11. Baquaqua to Whipple [?], 26 October 1853

12. Baquaqua to Whipple [?], 6 January 1854

13. Baquaqua to Whipple [?], 22 January 1854

14. Baquaqua to Gerrit Smith, 25 May 1854

15. Baquaqua to Gerrit Smith, 4 July 1854

Appendix 4 Review, The American Baptist, 2 November 1854

Glossary

Bibliography

Index

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