This project is committed to getting out information to those who are interested. We pledged to provide readers quarterly with materials that we base the posts upon, so here are the second quarter’s materials as promised by category with annotation.
African Burial Ground Project: paradigm for cooperation? by Michael Blakey (Museum International, UNESCO, 2010). Professor Blakey is on our project’s advisory board and worked continuously on the Manhattan African Burial Ground Project. This is a detailed description of the development of a new method of cultural anthropology which was required to successfully complete this massive undertaking over a decade.
The Black Population in Mexico by Aguirre Beltran (1946) Easiest to find in Spanish, this work set scholars on their heads when originally published. Greeted with much resistance throughout the region, gradually African presence and influence are acknowledged but only as the “third” root. DNA does not lie, African heritage is far more widespread in Central America than realized.
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (2007) A novel that traces an African woman’s life from the Continent through enslavement in South Carolina to Nova Scotia, Canada, and eventually to London as part of the abolitionist movement. The title of the book is based upon an actual ledger that the British maintained to record the name of each black person who was given asylum in Nova Scotia after the American Revolution.
Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal by Afua Cooper (2007) Another work of fiction set in Canada, it is based upon a little known historical event related to African slavery. Well documented and absorbing it portrays how one person’s life is totally affected by institutions over which she has no control or power.
Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South by Michael Gomez (1998) The author argues that Africans forged a new identity in the Diaspora, but ethnic traits remained within the community. He describes the Middle Passage as the place where the new identity began. This analysis is harshly challenged by another work cited in this post by Stephanie Smallwood.
Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 by James Campbell (2006) An engrossing compilation of personal histories from those in the Diaspora connecting with Africa. Their experiences, expectations, disappointments and realizations are well described and accompanied by substantial historical background.
Motives of Honor, Pleasure and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763 by Lorena Walsh (2010) An expert researcher of the Chesapeake region’s early colonial history, Walsh’s skills and analyses are fully realized in this study of the economics of slavery. Following British American society from Jamestown to the American Revolution, the evolution of the institution of slavery as an economic foundation for the nation is expertly tracked and documented.
Never Forgotten by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon (2011) This is a children’s book, the story of a young African boy who is kidnapped and enslaved. There are very few books that can tell this story to young children effectively. This one does. The message is that we always must remember ancestors.
Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora by Stephanie Smallwood (2007) The focus and sources are primarily British: business records and correspondence of the Royal African Company. England merchants became the largest traders in Africans during the transatlantic slave trade. This is an impressive and thorough work tracing the human trade from the West African Gold Coast to the Americas between 1675 and 1725.
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) Often cited as the seminal work on race in the United States. It remains a required reading text for students of African American and US history.
They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America by Ivan Van Sertima (2003 Reprint) Van Sertima lays out evidence of an African connection to and presence in the Americas even before the Spanish Empire set foot in the Caribbean or Central America.
Slave Voices: The Sounds of Freedom edited by Hilary McD. Beckles and Verene Shepherd (U.W.I.) UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network. These scholars made exceptional effort to identify, compile and document the sentiments of “freedom seekers” throughout the Diaspora. An impressive learning/teaching tool!
New World Order by Curtis Mayfield
A Past Denied: The Invisible History of Slavery in Canada by Mike Barber A documentary on 200 years of institutional slavery in Canada. In production, preview available.