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African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For centuries, the story of the Atlantic slave trade has been filtered through the eyes and records of white Europeans. In this watershed book, historian Anne C. Bailey focuses on memories of the trade from the African perspective. African chiefs and other elders in an area of southeastern Ghana — once famously called "the Old Slave Coast" — share stories that reveal that Africans were traders as well as victims of the trade.

Bailey argues that, like victims of trauma, many African societies now experience a fragmented view of their past that partially explains the blanket of silence and shame around the slave trade. Capturing scores of oral histories that were handed down through generations, Bailey finds that, although Africans were not equal partners with Europeans, even their partial involvement in the slave trade had devastating consequences on their history and identity. In this unprecedented and revelatory book, Bailey explores the delicate and fragmented nature of historical memory.

Review:

"Focusing on the stories passed down from generation to generation among the Anlo Ewe community in southern Ghana — an area once known as the Slave Coast — Spelman College historian Bailey offers a noteworthy, carefully researched contribution to the study of the African slave trade. Few accounts in the copious literature have adequately addressed the African viewpoint, says Bailey, and the oral histories she offers are designed to correct that silence. Examples include 'the incident at Atorkor': sometime in the 1850s, a breakdown in the working (though unequal) relationship between white slave traders and a coastal African chief — the chief's kin were taken along with inland, 'approved' captives — heralded a new phase in the slave trade, one in which African slave traders became nearly as vulnerable as their African captives. In compact chapters, Bailey considers the political and economic impact of the slave trade on the West African region; West and Central Africa's class-based practices of domestic slavery; and the issue of European, American and African agency in the slave trade. Though dense prose makes this a better choice for the scholar than the lay reader, Bailey brings unheard historical voices to the fore." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A remarkable effort to present the slave trade from a perspective very different from what we are used to...People like Anne Bailey make us uncomfortable, which is all to the good." Daniel Lazare, The Nation

Review:

"Bailey is not afraid to ask difficult questions...[She] expands and troubles our understanding of the African diaspora. In this fine and accessible study of the slave trade, Bailey places African voices of this era at the center of the writing of history." Robert P. Byrd, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Review:

"[Bailey's] research is important, her questions provocative, and her arguments sensible." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Anne Bailey's judicious, beautifully written account of this extended, appalling human experience is enormously enhanced by her great original contribution — the frequently moving and always thought-provoking memories and understandings of that tragedy amongst the descendants of those who participated as victims and perpetrators in West Africa itself." Richard Rathbone, professor emeritus, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Review:

"A true work of retrieval and restoration....A remarkable gift." Ato Quayson, Director, African Studies Centre, University of Cambridge

Synopsis:

It's an awful story. It's an awful story. Why do you want to bring this up now?--Chief Awusa of Atorkor

For centuries, the story of the Atlantic slave trade has been filtered through the eyes and records of white Europeans. In this watershed book, historian Anne C. Bailey focuses on memories of the trade from the African perspective. African chiefs and other elders in an area of southeastern Ghana-once famously called "the Old Slave Coast"-share stories that reveal that Africans were traders as well as victims of the trade.

Bailey argues that, like victims of trauma, many African societies now experience a fragmented view of their past that partially explains the blanket of silence and shame around the slave trade. Capturing scores of oral histories that were handed down through generations, Bailey finds that, although Africans were not equal partners with Europeans, even their partial involvement in the slave trade had devastating consequences on their history and identity. In this unprecedented and revelatory book, Bailey explores the delicate and fragmented nature of historical memory.

Synopsis:

The story of the Atlantic slave trade has largely been filtered through the records of white Europeans, but in this watershed book, Anne C. Bailey focuses on memories of the trade from the African perspective. African chiefs and other elders in an area of southeastern Ghana once famously called “the Old Slave Coast” share stories that reveal that Africans were both traders and victims of the trade. Though Africans were not equal partners with Europeans, their involvement had devastating consequences on their history and sense of identity.

Like trauma victims, many African societies experience a fragmented view of their past that partially explains the silence and shame around the slave trade. Capturing astonishing oral histories that were handed down through generations of storytellers, Bailey breaks this deafening silence and explores the delicate nature of historical memory in this rare, unprecedented book.

“Bailey offers a noteworthy, carefully researched contribution to the study of the African slave trade . . . [and] brings unheard historical voices to the fore.” —Publishers Weekly

“A remarkable effort to present the slave trade from a perspective very different from what we are used to—not that of slaverys liberal opponents or even of the slaves themselves but of the Africans from whose midst the slaves were taken . . . Bailey is scrupulously objective in making her way through the resulting political minefield . . . People like Anne Bailey make us uncomfortable, which is all to the good.” —Daniel Lazare, The Nation

“A true work of retrieval and restoration . . . A remarkable gift.” —Ato Quayson, director, African Studies Centre, University of Cambridge, UK

About the Author

Anne C. Bailey is assistant professor of history at Spelman College. Born in Jamaica, she is the author of two historical novels. Bailey has spent time in and among various communities in Ghana, collecting numerous oral histories. She lives with her son, Mickias Joseph, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807055137
Author:
Bailey, Anne C.
Publisher:
Beacon Press (MA)
Author:
Bailey, Anne
Location:
Boston
Subject:
History
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
Africa, West
Subject:
Slave-trade
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Slave trade -- America -- History.
Subject:
Slave trade -- Africa, West -- History.
Subject:
World History-General
Subject:
United States - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
February 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x .55 in .75 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Slavery
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Historical Reference
History and Social Science » World History » General

African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$29.75 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807055137 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Focusing on the stories passed down from generation to generation among the Anlo Ewe community in southern Ghana — an area once known as the Slave Coast — Spelman College historian Bailey offers a noteworthy, carefully researched contribution to the study of the African slave trade. Few accounts in the copious literature have adequately addressed the African viewpoint, says Bailey, and the oral histories she offers are designed to correct that silence. Examples include 'the incident at Atorkor': sometime in the 1850s, a breakdown in the working (though unequal) relationship between white slave traders and a coastal African chief — the chief's kin were taken along with inland, 'approved' captives — heralded a new phase in the slave trade, one in which African slave traders became nearly as vulnerable as their African captives. In compact chapters, Bailey considers the political and economic impact of the slave trade on the West African region; West and Central Africa's class-based practices of domestic slavery; and the issue of European, American and African agency in the slave trade. Though dense prose makes this a better choice for the scholar than the lay reader, Bailey brings unheard historical voices to the fore." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A remarkable effort to present the slave trade from a perspective very different from what we are used to...People like Anne Bailey make us uncomfortable, which is all to the good."
"Review" by , "Bailey is not afraid to ask difficult questions...[She] expands and troubles our understanding of the African diaspora. In this fine and accessible study of the slave trade, Bailey places African voices of this era at the center of the writing of history."
"Review" by , "[Bailey's] research is important, her questions provocative, and her arguments sensible."
"Review" by , "Anne Bailey's judicious, beautifully written account of this extended, appalling human experience is enormously enhanced by her great original contribution — the frequently moving and always thought-provoking memories and understandings of that tragedy amongst the descendants of those who participated as victims and perpetrators in West Africa itself."
"Review" by , "A true work of retrieval and restoration....A remarkable gift."
"Synopsis" by , It's an awful story. It's an awful story. Why do you want to bring this up now?--Chief Awusa of Atorkor

For centuries, the story of the Atlantic slave trade has been filtered through the eyes and records of white Europeans. In this watershed book, historian Anne C. Bailey focuses on memories of the trade from the African perspective. African chiefs and other elders in an area of southeastern Ghana-once famously called "the Old Slave Coast"-share stories that reveal that Africans were traders as well as victims of the trade.

Bailey argues that, like victims of trauma, many African societies now experience a fragmented view of their past that partially explains the blanket of silence and shame around the slave trade. Capturing scores of oral histories that were handed down through generations, Bailey finds that, although Africans were not equal partners with Europeans, even their partial involvement in the slave trade had devastating consequences on their history and identity. In this unprecedented and revelatory book, Bailey explores the delicate and fragmented nature of historical memory.

"Synopsis" by ,
The story of the Atlantic slave trade has largely been filtered through the records of white Europeans, but in this watershed book, Anne C. Bailey focuses on memories of the trade from the African perspective. African chiefs and other elders in an area of southeastern Ghana once famously called “the Old Slave Coast” share stories that reveal that Africans were both traders and victims of the trade. Though Africans were not equal partners with Europeans, their involvement had devastating consequences on their history and sense of identity.

Like trauma victims, many African societies experience a fragmented view of their past that partially explains the silence and shame around the slave trade. Capturing astonishing oral histories that were handed down through generations of storytellers, Bailey breaks this deafening silence and explores the delicate nature of historical memory in this rare, unprecedented book.

“Bailey offers a noteworthy, carefully researched contribution to the study of the African slave trade . . . [and] brings unheard historical voices to the fore.” —Publishers Weekly

“A remarkable effort to present the slave trade from a perspective very different from what we are used to—not that of slaverys liberal opponents or even of the slaves themselves but of the Africans from whose midst the slaves were taken . . . Bailey is scrupulously objective in making her way through the resulting political minefield . . . People like Anne Bailey make us uncomfortable, which is all to the good.” —Daniel Lazare, The Nation

“A true work of retrieval and restoration . . . A remarkable gift.” —Ato Quayson, director, African Studies Centre, University of Cambridge, UK

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