The New Song: For the Sunday School, Societies of Christian Endeavor, and Other Religious Exercises (Classic Reprint) jAs been heard from the cargo itself It is also a significant document in teaching us about the establishment of Africatown a village set up not by African Americans but by Africans Cudjoe and his fellow former slaves The stories Cudjoe tells are often those he learned in his home culture The Brookes Slave Ship Diagram from the British Library Barracoon is a triumph of ethnography bringing together not only a first person report on experiences in African slave trading but reporting on slavery from a subject of that atrocity In addition Kossula adds his triumphant account ofoining with other freed slaves to construct an Africa like community in America and offers as well old world folklore in the stories he recalls from his first nineteen years It is a moving tale for Hurston s sensitive efforts to reach across the divide of time to encourage Kossula to relive some of the darkest moments any human can experience sitting with him calm caring and connecting And finally it is a truly remarkable tale Kossula tells It will raise your blood pressure horrify you and encourage bursts of tears You think you ve had it tough And for this man to have endured with such dignity and grace is a triumph all its own Commemorative Marker for Cudjo Lewis Plateau Cemetery Africatown Mobile AL image from wikiThe text of the story is short but Kossula s tale is epic Editor Deborah G Plant has added a wealth of supportive material including parables and old world stories Kossula told to his descendants and to residents of Africatown a description of a children s game played in his home town in Africa and background material on Hurston her professional issues with an earlier piece of work and her involvement with the Harlem Renaissance without touching much on Hurston s unexpected political perspective on segregation The information adds to our appreciation of the book Cudjo with great grand daughters twins Mary and Martha born in 1923 image from Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library University of South AlabamaThe ethnographical research Hurston did bolstered a perspective on African culture that different was not inferior that African culture had great value regardless of those who believed only in Western superiority Long before Jesse Jackson such research proclaimed I am somebody The research Hurston did in the USA Caribbean and Central America certainly informed and strengthened the portraits she painted in her fiction writing The history of slavery is a dark one however much light has been shone on it in the last century and a half This moving upsetting telling of a life that endured it is a part of that history That this 80 year old nugget has been buried under the weight of time is a shame But there is an upside The pressure of all those years has created something glistening and wonderful for us today a diamond of a vision into the past Review posted 52518Publication date 582018 hardcover 1720 Trade paperbackEXTRA STUFFVIDEO A film shot by ZNH Cudjoe appears in the opening scene On the unveiling of a bust of Cudjoe in Africatown WKRG in Mobile it also ncludes an interview with Israel Lewis one of Kossula s descendants A contemporary profile of Africatown and the challenges it faces particularly from hazardous industry nearbyEXTRA READING Emma Langdon Roche s 1914 book Historic Sketches of the South includes much on the Clotilde Wiki on Cudjoe includes images from EL Roche Smithsonian Magazine May 2 2018 Zora Neale Hurston s Barracoon Tells the Story of the Slave Trade s Last Survivor by Anna Diamond Historycom piece on ZNH s work on Barracoon The Last Slave Ship Survivor Gave an Interview in the 1930s It ust Surfaced by Becky Little the interviewing was actually done in the 1920s Bitfal Entertainment A pretty nice brief summary of Cudjoe s experience with many uncaptioned illustrations Time Magazine Zora Neale Hurston s Long Unpublished Barracoon Finds Its Place After Decades of Delay by Lily Rothman On the slave ship Clotilda NY Times May 26 2019 Ship of Horror Discovery of the Last Slave Ship to America Brings New Hope to an Old Community By Richard Fausset National Geographic January 2020 America s last slave ship stole them from home It couldn t steal their identities much information about the Clotilda s criminal mission and about the lives of the men and women it transported and their descendantsAUDIO NPR s Lynn Neary talks with Amistad s editorial director Tracy Sherrod and Barracoon s editor Deborah Plant In Zora Neale Hurston s Barracoon Language is the Key to Understanding Definitely listen to the entire interview It is under four minutes One wonderful benefit is to get a sample of the audio reading of the book which sounds amazing Tracy Sherrod is the editorial director of Amistad at Harper Collins which is now publishing the book She says Hurston tried to get it published back in the 1930s but the manuscript was rejected They wanted to publish it Sherrod says but they wanted Zora to change the language so it wasn t written in dialect and in standard English And she refused to do soHurston refused says Deborah Plant because she understood that Lewis s language was key to understanding him We re talking about a language that he had to fashion for himself in order to negotiate this new terrain he found himself in she says Embedded in his language is everything of his history To deny him his language is to deny his history to deny his experience which ultimately is to deny him period To deny what happened to him I have thought long and hard on this and I do not feel like I can give this any formal review This is a case in which I feel I would be trespassing on the author s words and by this I mean Kossulo s by superimposing any thoughts of my own There are pieces of history we will never get back For many of us this is why we write to re imagine the stories of slavery for instance because we do not have words to tell us This is a living breathing document and should be treated as such Just like the recordings of the stories of the final survivors of the Holocaust we cannot rewrite their stories We can only let their words echo inside of us and understand how they are a part of us as we are a part of that part of history we created Such are the words of Cudjo He says many times in the book that there is no way to understand his life if he doesn t tell the lives of his forefathers At one point when Zora gets frustrated with this he retorts Where is de house where de mouse is the leader 20 This is how we all must understand the unfathomable meaning of this text for us RIGHT NOW We cannot pretend to care about any of the critical social and
Political Issues Of Today issues of today can t march in the streets hold rallies go on social media start movements if we aren t willing to look into our past and see where this is all coming from It doesn t matter what you believe in what you care about or don t care about where you live or what age you are This is a piece of history we can never get back and this was a historical reality that a great deal of the world participated in or still does Everyone needs to read this book Just simply everyone needs to read this book For ourselves for our own ancestors for the world we live in today and for the world that is to comeAnd thank you Zora thank you We cry cause we slave In night time we cry we say we born and raised to be free people and now we slave We doan know why we be bring way from our country to work lak dis It strange to us Well what to say I m ambivalent about this one The part Zora Neale Hurston actually wrote is beautiful and raw and touching In 1927 she interviewed Kossula Cudjo Lewis then 86 years old who was one of the last black slaves brought to America He along with 100 some others was smuggled into the United States after it became illegal to do so He was enslaved for 5 12 years until the abolition of slavery Barracoon The Story of the Last Black Cargo is Kossula s story I love that Ms Hurston used his dialect For some this makes it difficult to read I however think it adds so much to the account Kossula becomes real in a way that I don t think he would be if it was told in every day English You feel his pain his
longing for his home in Africa his confusion as to why he was for his home in Africa his confusion as to why he was and brought here It breaks your heart to read Through a period of interviews Kossula related his story to Ms Hurston beginning with the history of his grandfather and some of the customs of his people He then relates how a rival tribe captured and sold him to white slave traders He talks briefly about his time as a slave and then some of his life afterwards Such a tragic sad story full of so much pain and suffering inflicted on countless numbers of Africans The reason I m not giving this book 5 stars even though I love the way Zora Neale Hurston tells Kossula s story is that it is incredibly brief There is a foreword and an introduction which I think added to story by providing context The story itself ended all too abruptly a bit over half way through the book I was very disappointed as I hadn t realised that it was so short The rest of the book is an afterword by the editor of the book a glossary that I don t think was needed a bibliography further notes and a couple of African tales Kossula told to Ms Hurston It felt as though the editor was ust trying to make it book length in order to get it published with all the inclusions I m very
glad I read it and I ll be thinking of Kossula for a long time However I m disappointed and feel I read it and I ll be thinking of Kossula for a long time However I m disappointed and feel I know silly but I think this is something a lot of book lovers can relate to at some point that it was so brief and yet the book seemed like it would be longer Perhaps if I d realised ahead of time that half the book was written by others I wouldn t feel so disappointed by its brevity Cudjo Lewis s life story is important He was brought to America illegally at the tail end of slavery His owners kept him and his shipmate slaves secret between them using their labours for about 6 years before slavery was abolished These people were then abandoned to a life in America a place they did not see as home with no way back to the home they wanted to return to Free life in America was hard on African born freed slaves They were shunned it seems by both White Black Americans This is a side of slavery that I personally had never thought of the plight of the last slaves who always remembered another life Cudjo s story was horrendous from the treachery he experienced from other African tribes who benefitted from the slave trade to his attempts at living in America as a free man He s a uiet man He went through horrible times He lived a long life always yearning for Affic. S from his childhood in Africa the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil WarOffering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all black and white this work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and cultur. All these words from the seller but not one word from the sold Here Zora Neale Hurston expresses why she wrote this bookI have had difficulty rating this book That the book has now finally come to be published IS of course wonderful It should have been published decades and decades agoBUT but but I do have some complaints with the final productOnly half of this book is in fact Cudjo Lewis story his story told by him Zora Neale Hurston was absolutely right in demanding that his voice should be heard and that he was to be allowed to speak in his own dialect Cudjo Lewis was the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade He was captured by a rival tribe in 1859 and sold into slavery Oluale Kossola renamed Cudjo Lewis by the plantation owner who bought him in 1860 spent three weeks in a stockade a barracoon and was shipped to America on the last slave ship the Clotilda Born in 1841 he came to America at 19 years of age was a slave for five years and six months and then was freed by Yankee soldiers on April 12 1865 In Africa he was one of twelve siblings the second son of his father s second wife In America he married had six children all of whom died as well as his wife before his own death He converted to Christianity and after a train accident became a sexton in a Baptist church in Africa Town aka Plateau Alabama First in July of 1927 then in December and finally 1928 he came to be interviewed by Zora Neale Hurston cultural anthropologist investigating ethnographer and author She had been sent by Dr Franz Boas to get a firsthand report of the raid that had brought him to America and bondage for Dr Carter G Woodson of the Journal of Negro History Cudjo was then eighty six and had lived in America for sixty seven years Zora let Cudjo speak in his own time and in his own way On a doorstep on a porch after sweeping the church after introducing his two great grandchildren and sending them each off with peaches in their hands Cudjo would talk and remember and Zora would listen only rarely interposing a uestion enjoying a peach a hunk of watermelon and time together These interviews and Cujo s remembrances are the core of this book but they are only about half of the entire book The other half consists of multiple prefaces and introductions and an appendix The first introduction is written by Deborah G Plaint Thereafter follows a preface and introduction by Zora Neale Hurston In this way material comes to be repeated over and over and over again There exists an unresolved discussion of whether Zora Neale Hurston had plagiarized information from Emma Langdon Roche s Historic Sketches of the South While I agree that this had to be included the many details rather than clarifying leave the issue still open to debate Why Hurston s book completed in 1931 was not published is also discussed the primary reason being she insisted on retaining Cudjo s original dialect and vernacular The appendix at the end has assorted stories the value of which can be uestioned We hear Cudjo s story and we hear it in his words which has great value but do not mistakenly think you will be given Zora Neale Hurston s prose All though the telling is straightforward a reader a listener must perceive what this poor man has gone through the loss of his entire family the loss of his country and home the loss of freedom and the horrific memories of the slaughter of his tribesmen and passage over the sea His words as well as his silences speak In print the dialect could perhaps be hard to follow but this is not the case when Robin Miles reads the audiobook I never had trouble understanding the text The African names were a bit of a blur since I recognized nothing The dialect and vernacular does demand one s full attention while listening The narration I have given four starsThis is a story that needed to be told but the presentation is repetitive much reads as an academic essay and some information is in fact missing We are not told when or how Cudjo died I do not regret having picked this up My two star rating means it was OK not bad I am off to read Their Eyes Were Watching God only now finally made available to me I gave Dust Tracks on a Road three stars Though the United States passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807 boats continued to deliver abducted Africans to America for than 50 years The last shipment of slaves arrived in Alabama on the ship Clotilda in 1860 on the eve of the Civil WarOne of the African men on the Clotilda was Oluale Kossula also known as Cudjo Lewis who survived five years of slavery became a free man and helped found the black enclave of Africatown or Plateau near Mobile AlabamaIn 1927 when Cudjo was in his mid eighties he was interviewed by Zora Neale Hurston the American folklorist anthropologist and author In this book Hurston relates Cudjo s story much of it in his own wordsCudjo LewisZora Neale HurstonCudjo describes his ancestry and his early life in the African village of Takkoi where he was happy with his family and friends Then when Cudjo was 19 his village was invaded by warriors from nearby Dahomey who killed some residents and kidnapped others to sell to white slavers De King of Dahomey you know he got very rich ketchin slaves He keep his army all de time making raids to grabee people to sell The scene Cudjo describes is horrific Dey got de women soldiers too and dey run wid de big knife and dey ketch people and saw de neck wid de knife den dey twist de head so it come off de neck Oh Lor Lor I see de peoples gittee kill so fast Cudjo s village was located in what is now BeninThe white slavers housed the Africans in
a barracoon near the ocean until 65 men and 65 women were loaded onto the Clotilda and brought to barracoon near the ocean until 65 men and 65 women were loaded onto the Clotilda and brought to Alabama There they were split up among the slavers who kept some Africans for themselves and sold the others We seventy days cross de water from de Affica soil and now dey part us from one nother Derefore we cry Our grief so heavy look lak we cain stand it I think maybe I die in my sleep when I dream about my mamaA barracoonCudjo talks about his life as a slave which was difficult for several reasons The work was very hard and the new African slaves didn t mesh well with those already living in the country In night time we cry we say we born and raised to be free people and now we slave We doan know why we be bring way from our country to work lak dis It strange to us Everybody lookee at us strange We want to talk wid de udder colored folkses but dey doan know whut we say Some makee de fun at us After emancipation a group of freed slaves who couldn t raise the money to return home established Africatown We call our village Affican Town near Mobile Alabama Cudjo married a woman named Seely unofficially at first then after they Arabian Challenge joined the church with a proper license So den we gittee married by de license but I doan love my wife no mo wid de license than I love her befo de license She a good woman and I love her all de time Shacks in AfricatownAfricatown is now a tourist attractionCudjo and Seely had six children fives boys and a girl Oh Lor Oh Lor We so happy We been married ten months when we have our first baby We call him Yah Jimmyust de same lak we was in de Afficky soil For Americky we call him Aleck Along with other residents of Africatown Cudjo sought to educate his offspring We Afficans try raise our chillun right When dey say we ign nant we go together and build de school house Den de county send us a teacher We Afficky men doan wait lak de other colored people till de white folks gittee ready to build us a school We build one for ourself den astee de county to send us de teacher Residents of AfricatownCudjo s children had a difficult time living in America All de time de chillun growin de American folks dey picks at dem Dey callee my chillun ig nant savage and make out dey kin to monkey Derefo my boys dey fight Dey got to fight all de timeWhen dey whip de other boys dey folks come to our house and tellee us Yo boys mighty bad Cudjo
We Fraid They Goin Kill Somebody This fraid they goin kill somebody This may have contributed to some of the children s unfortunate endsOne son was killed by a law enforcement officer Somebody call hisself a deputy sheriff kill de baby boy now If my boy done something wrong it his place come rest him lak a manHe have words wid my boy but he skeered face him Derefo you unnerstand me he hidee hisself in de butcher wagon and when it gittee to my boy s storeDis man he hidin hisself in de back of de wagon an shootee my boy A second son was hit by a railroad train but the company offered no compensation A lawyer later helped Cudjo sue for recompense but Cudjo didn t see a penny of the money Of the four remaining children three died of illnesses and one mysteriously disappeared When Hurston interviewed Cudjo Seely had also been dead for 20 years perhaps from a broken heartIt s clear from the book that Cudjo had a very difficult life traumatized by the barbarity of slavery and devastated by its subseuent conseuences including discrimination bigotry and aggression towards the communities and families of black people Cudjo s story is both moving and disturbing and demonstrates how some things in the United States haven t changed enoughTo earn Cudjo s goodwill Hurston would bring him Georgia peaches watermelon and once a Virginia ham Over the course of many visits Hurston also helped Cudjo clean the church where he was a sexton worked in his garden and drove him to buy crabs Hurston notes I had spent two months with Kossula who is called Cudjo trying to find the answers to my uestions Some days we ate great uantities of clingstone peaches and talked Sometimes we ate watermelon and talked Once it was a huge mess of steamed crabs Sometimes we ust ate Sometimes we ust talked At other times neither was possible he Der Verlorene Koffer: A Graded Reader for Beginning Students just chased me away He wanted to work in his garden or fix his fences He couldn t be bothered The present was too urgent to let the past intrude But on the whole he was glad to see me and we became warm friends Cudjo in his cabinThe end of the book contains Cudjo s recitation of several African folktales which are sly and amusing This is an interesting book recommended to readers interested in African history slavery and anthropologyYou can follow my reviews at Why you may not like this book Reviewing non fiction is always strange to me and even so when you consider the topic of this book Imagine reviewing this like you would any other story when as Hurston says herself there are so few stories told from this point of view All these words from the seller but not one word from the sold I think this will be a difficult book to get through if you are concerned with the ease of yo. In 1927 Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau Alabamaust outside Mobile to interview eighty six year old Cudjo Lewis Of the millions of men women and children transported from Africa to America as slaves Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slav.
Free read BarracoonUr own reading experience that is if you are focused on the dialect with the format with getting through an introduction I think if you enter it expecting something of a classic narrative structure you will be let down Why I loved this book I was gutted while reading every word of this I realize that some of the details are not entirely accurate but again that s missing the point of what this does give Cudjo the chance to share his story in his own words I think Hurston did a good ILLERAMMA Kathalu job acknowledging her role and presence in the story framing the circumstances under which she received these words but ultimately maintaining the integrity of Cudjo s story There is a heck of a lot of pain here and a truly heartbreaking and still timely reminder thatust because something is against the law doesn t mean that it doesn t still happen It s hard for me to further put into words why this hit me the way it did but I m glad I finally got around to reading it It deserves to be read This book was suppressed for over 70 years because the myth of poor exploited Africans capturing and selling their countrymen to the evil white slavers suited America with their collective guilt and wish not to offend African Americans further But you cannot build a house on shifting sands and this book by one of America s absolute top American Literature Student Text journalists of the era provides part of the missing foundationI read it at or less the same time as the very genial Michael W Twitty s The Cooking Gene A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South which explores through extreme DNA analysis of his blood all the strands from Africa to Scotland that have slaver and enslaved native American and free white alike It is notust cooking but culture and both have affected American history At this time I also read The Hungry Empire How Britain s uest for Food Shaped the Modern World This had a chapter on slavery in Africa It was very surprising to read of the salons of the African women with their imported china tea sets and high life style financed by their involvement in the slave trade This was a very sophisticated society This was not the rough tribal end we are all taught were exploited by the slaversThese three books together have opened my eyes to the organisation of the immense business of entrapping people holding them as goods and selling them to be enslaved as essentially farm animals And the best of these Barraccon has been suppressedHurson interviewed the last living slave Mr Cudjo Lewis over three months He tells in detail of his capture at the age of 19 and the conditions in his part of Africa that meant his capturers main business was the supply of captured men and conseuently agriculture suffered from a lack of manpower and they had to import their foodstuff That s a very cynical society that does that to its fellow men one that puts profit above feeding the nation Oh wait that s almost a model for our own societies todayIt isn t brilliantly written it is very short but it is paradigm shifting and I would like to give everyone a copy of this book every school child every adult in all the countries that captured or enslaved Africans and all the African Americans who suffered from in this business where the Black man is as much to blame as the White If there had been no product to buy there would have been no trade Someone else would have suffered instead This is not to take away from slavery the extreme cruelty wrought on Africans as slaves by the White man I m only talking here of the business of demand and supply How Africans were treated in the Americas is strictly the White man s sinI am
writing this not as an American I m writing this as a British woman with half mythis not as an American I m writing this as a British woman with half my spent in the Caribbean in an educated country where the Black man has been king for 150 years My persepective may not be one you share But a review is an opinion a collection of thoughts engendered by a book and these are mine I chose to listen to this in audio book form and think it was a great way to hear Cudjos story The narrator does a fantastic ob with the dislect and I felt like I was there hearing Cudjo speak his own story The last cargo of slaves brought here at an age eighteen I believe that would allow him to remember his life in Africa and when he was taken Heartbreaking Was interesting hearing about his life in Africa strange of course to my American ears but that is what it wasWhat I didn t like was the beginning an argument that encompasses the controversy surrounding this story I felt it was circular repetitive and the result lacked clarity The end of the the book was a few stories where once again it seems the truth is open to debate So I give Cudjos story and the telling of it 4 stars But taken as a whole have settled on three How to rate and review a book that has no real comparison or companion that has been my uandary since finishing Barracoon The rating is for the very fact of its existence for Zora Neale Hurston s truly wonderful and difficult work of taking down Cudjo Lewis s story of childhood capture sale to slavers and transport across the Atlantic on the last slave ship to reach the United States in 1859 and of his life after the freedom granted during the Civil War up to the 1920sAs Kossula Cudjo Lewis s approximated birth name tells his life story to Hurston we learn details of the history of the area of Africa in which he lived the facts of black Africans selling those they had defeated in war to traders from the Americas life in Africatown Alabama all like Cudjo from that last ship a glossary providing detailed information on major people and events in the biography and extended notesThere are are scholarly issues discussed in some of the introductory material that may add to why this material has not been published sooner a uestion of plagiarism in aspects of this work from an earlier
HISTORICAL REPORT THIS IS DISCUSSED FROMreport This is discussed from viewpoints and ultimately appears if memory serves may have been an oversight in an article not finalized by the author for
"publication Since she has written many other works without this issue arising it would appear that the decision has been "Since she has written many other works without this issue arising it would appear that the decision has been that this work needed to be published On another note personally I didn t have difficulty reading Cudjo s dialect as written down by Hurston But I know that many have enjoyed listening to this book rather than reading it I do recommend you try it in one form or the otherPostscript another note re this late publication Apparently Hurston attempted to have this piece published in the 1930s At the time the publisher wanted Hurston to translate Lewis s dialect into standard English She refused as this would have denied the essence of his identity It was not accepted for publication I want to ask you many things I want to know who you are and how you came to be a slave and to what part of Africa do you belong and how you fared as a slave and how you have managed as a free man when he lifted his wet face again he murmured Thankee Jesus Somebody come ast about Cudjo I want tellee somebody who I is so maybe dey go to tell everybody whut Cudjo says and how I come to Americky soil since de 1859 and never see my people no mo Barracoon An enclosure in which black slaves were confined for a limited period Oxford English DictionaryBefore she was a world renowned novelist Alabama born and Florida raised Zora Neale Hurston was an anthropologist an ethnographer a researcher into the history and folklore of black people in the American South the Caribbean and Honduras She was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance producing works of fiction in addition to her anthropological work Cudjo at home from Historycom Credit Erik Overbey Collection The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library University of South AlabamaIt was during this period that she first met the last known black man transported from Africa to America as a slave Cudjoe Lewis She interviewed Lewis then in his 80s in 1927 producing a 1928 article about his experiences Cudjoe s Own Story of the Last American Slaver There were some issues with that report including a serious charge of plagiarism Hurston returned to Lewis in Africatown Alabama to interview him at length It is these interviews that form the bulk of her book Barracoon plagiarism no longer being at issueZora Neale Hurston image from SmithsonianHer efforts to publish the book ran into some cultural headwind publishers refused to proceed so long as her subject s dialogue was presented in his idiomatic speech Thurston refused to remove this central element of the story and so the book languished But the Zora Neale Trust did not give up and a propitious series of events seemed to signal that the time was right Last fall on the PBS genealogy series Finding Your Roots the musician uestlove learned that he descends from people brought over on the Clotilda Then an Alabama reporter named Ben Raines found a wreck that looked to be the scuttled ship it wasn t but the story made national newswhile Kossola s relevance goes beyond any headlines there are also noteworthy links there one of Kossola s sons is killed by law enforcement and his story holds a message about recognizing humanity echoed by Black Lives Matter from Time Magazine articleThen there is the story itself Hurston gets out of the way acting mostly as Cudjoe s stenographer and editor reporting his words as he spoke them It is a harrowing tale A young village man in 1859 Kossula his true name was in training to learn military skills when his community was attacked by a neighboring tribe His report of the attack is graphic and gruesome Many of those who survived the crushing assault were dragged away and sold to white slave traders Definitely not their choice Kanye We learn of his experiences while awaiting his transportation his telling of the Middle Passage arrival in America and his five years as a slave He tells as well of the establishment of Africatown after the Civil War ended the Peculiar Institution in the United States and of the travails of his life after that having and losing children running up against the so called legal system but also surviving to tell his tale and gaining respect as a storehouse of history and folklore This is an upsetting read rage battles grief as we learn of the hardships and unfairness of Kossula s life Oh Lor I know it you call my name Nobody don t callee me Kossula us lak I in de Affica soil The book stands out for many reasons Among them is that it is one of very few reports of slavery from the perspective of the slave There are many documents available that recorded the transactions that involved human cargo and many reports by slavers but precious little E trade was outlawed in the United StatesIn 1931 Hurston returned to Plateau the African centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship Spending than three months there she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life During those weeks the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past memorie. .