Thursday, June 14, 2018

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"

Written by: Zora Neale Hurston

First line: I was summer when I went to talk with Cudjo so his door was standing wide open.

Why you should read this book: This fascinating book, an interview turned on its head by the subject's desire to share his story in his own way, was an early work of a then relatively-unknown Hurston, who masterfully turned a series of conversations into the shape of a book that was then considered unpublishable, as Hurston insisted on retaining her subject's use of dialect; it has only been released now, nearly sixty years after the author's death (and even longer after the subject's). One of the few slave narrative recounting the middle passage, Barracoon follows the life of a young African man, plucked from the continent on a dare long after the transport of Africans to America on slave ships had been outlawed. The story covers traditional life in the village where Cudjo (originally know as Kossula) grew up, his kidnapping, sale, transport across the ocean, years as a slave, and years as a free man after the Civil War.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Don't care about history, hope to repeat it.

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