Dreams of Africa in Alabama

Dreams of Africa in Alabama : The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America

4.3 (102 ratings by Goodreads)
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In the summer of 1860, more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 men, women, and children from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States as slaves. Timothy Meaher, an established Mobile businessman, sent the slave ship, the Clotilda , to Africa, on a bet that he could "bring a shipful of niggers right into Mobile Bay under the officers' noses." He won the bet. This book reconstructs the lives of the people in West Africa, recounts their capture and passage in the slave pen in Ouidah, and describes their experience of slavery alongside American-born enslaved men and women. After emancipation, the group reunited from various plantations, bought land, and founded their own settlement, known as African Town. They ruled it according to customary African laws, spoke their own regional language and, when giving interviews, insisted that writers use their African names so that their families would know that they were still alive.
The last survivor of the Clotilda died in 1935, but African Town is still home to a community of Clotilda descendants.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 20.32mm | 562.45g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 16 pp halftone plates
  • 0195382935
  • 9780195382938
  • 991,570

About Sylviane A. Diouf

Sylviane A.Diouf is an independent scholar and a former Senegalese diplomat who directs the Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Institute, edits an African-American migration web site, and has appeared in several PBS documentaries.
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Review quote

Dreams of Africa in Alabama is an extraordinarily well- written historical account, organized chronologically, where the reader will find horror, sorrow and courage, coupled with a sensational resilience to the harsh conditions which the African slaves endured. * Randall C. Quimby The Northern Mariner *
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Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Mobile and the Slave Trades ; 2. West African Origins ; 3. Ouidah ; 4. Arrival in Mobile ; 5. Slavery ; 6. Freedom ; 7. African Town ; 8. Between Two Worlds ; 9. Going Back Home ; Epilogue ; An Essay on Sources ; The Illegal Slave Trade in Numbers ; Bibliography
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Rating details

102 ratings
4.3 out of 5 stars
5 48% (49)
4 35% (36)
3 16% (16)
2 1% (1)
1 0% (0)
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