West African Narratives of Slavery: Texts from Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Ghana

Overview

Slavery in Africa existed for hundreds of years before it was abolished in the late
19th century. Yet, we know little about how enslaved individuals, especially those who never left
Africa, talked about their experiences. Collecting never before published or translated narratives of Africans from southeastern Ghana, Sandra E. Greene explores how these writings reveal the thoughts, emotions, and memories of those who experienced slavery and the ...

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West African Narratives of Slavery: Texts from Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Ghana

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Overview

Slavery in Africa existed for hundreds of years before it was abolished in the late
19th century. Yet, we know little about how enslaved individuals, especially those who never left
Africa, talked about their experiences. Collecting never before published or translated narratives of Africans from southeastern Ghana, Sandra E. Greene explores how these writings reveal the thoughts, emotions, and memories of those who experienced slavery and the slave trade. Greene considers how local norms and the circumstances behind the recording of the narratives influenced their content and impact. This unprecedented study affords unique insights into how ordinary West
Africans understood and talked about their lives during a time of change and upheaval.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"What makes this book tremendously valuable, particularly for undergraduates, is how Greene examines the historical, literary, and cultural contexts in which each narrative was produced.... A must have for academic libraries supporting an undergraduate curriculum in Africana studies....Essential." —Choice, October 2011

Martin Klein

"Greene's analysis is as valuable as the documents themselves." —Martin Klein, University of Toronto

Joseph C. Miller

"These rare examples... compellingly reveal the chaos left behind. Greene sensitively reveals the human experiences of warfare, scattering of communities, and capture of the survivors that wracked the Gold Coast region." —Joseph C. Miller, University of Virginia

S. T. Durrant

Greene (Cornell) presents and analyzes five previously unpublished or untranslated narratives of slavery to make a substantial contribution to historical scholarship on slavery in West Africa. These narratives take a variety of forms--a life history, two biographical accounts, a diary, and an oral history--and describe the experiences of
individuals and communities with the institution of slavery. What makes this book tremendously valuable, particularly for undergraduates, is how Greene examines the historical, literary, and cultural contexts in which each narrative was produced. In particular, the author pays careful attention to how the narratives were recorded and by
whom. Each narrative is preceded by a map with locations of the places discussed in the text as well as a chronology of important events, providing readers with the appropriate tools to engage in an informed reading of the narratives. A must have for academic libraries supporting an undergraduate curriculum in Africana studies. Summing Up:
Essential. General and undergraduate collections. --ChoiceS. T. Durrant, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

Biography

"It is an important contribution to the expanding literature on African enslavement during the decline of trans-Atlantic transportation and its displacement by 'legitimate' commerce, and essential reading for those seeking to understand the lived experience of African slaves." —Biography

From the Publisher
"Greene's analysis is as valuable as the documents themselves." —Martin Klein,
University of Toronto

Greene (Cornell) presents and analyzes five previously unpublished or untranslated narratives of slavery to make a substantial contribution to historical scholarship on slavery in
West Africa. These narratives take a variety of forms—a life history, two biographical accounts, a diary, and an oral history—and describe the experiences of
individuals and communities with the institution of slavery. What makes this book tremendously valuable,
particularly for undergraduates, is how Greene examines the historical, literary, and cultural contexts in which each narrative was produced. In particular, the author pays careful attention to how the narratives were recorded and by
whom. Each narrative is preceded by a map with locations of the places discussed in the text as well as a chronology of important events, providing readers with the appropriate tools to engage in an informed reading of the narratives. A must have for academic libraries supporting an undergraduate curriculum in Africana studies. Summing
Up:
Essential. General and undergraduate collections. —ChoiceS. T. Durrant,
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

"It is an important contribution to the expanding literature on African enslavement during the decline of trans-Atlantic transportation and its displacement by 'legitimate'
commerce, and essential reading for those seeking to understand the lived experience of African slaves." —Biography

"What makes this book tremendously valuable, particularly for undergraduates, is how
Greene examines the historical, literary, and cultural contexts in which each narrative was produced.... A must have for academic libraries supporting an undergraduate curriculum in Africana studies....Essential." —Choice, October 2011

Choice

"What makes this book tremendously valuable, particularly for undergraduates, is how Greene examines the historical, literary, and cultural contexts in which each narrative was produced.... A must have for academic libraries supporting an undergraduate curriculum in Africana studies....Essential." —Choice, October 2011

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253222947
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 1,328,888
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra E. Greene is Professor of History at Cornell University. She is author of
Sacred Sites and the Colonial Encounter (IUP, 2002).

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

A Note on the Translations xi

A Note on Ewe Orthography xv

Introduction 1

Part 1 Aaron Kuku: The Life History of a Former Slave

1 Enslavement Remembered 21

2 The Life History of Aaron Kuku 47

Part 2 The Biographies of Lydia Yawo and Yosef Famfantor: Life in Slavery/Life after Abolition

3 To Stay or Go: Exploring the Decisions of the Formerly Enslaved 77

4 Come Over and Help Us! The Life Journey of Lydia Yawo, a Freed Slave: Preface and Text 103

5 Yosef Famfantor: Preface and Text 121

Part 3 Paul Sands's Diary: Living with the Past/Constructing the Present and the Future

6 Open Secrets and Sequestered Stories: A Diary about Family, Slavery, and Self in Southeastern Ghana 139

7 The Diary of Paul Sands: Preface and Text 158

Part 4 A Kidnapping at Atorkor: The Making of a Community Memory

8 Our Citizens, Our Kin Enslaved 187

9 Oral Traditions about Individuals Enslaved: Preface and Texts 213

Conclusion 222

Notes 227

Bibliography 263

Index 277

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