Our Children Free and Happy

Our Children Free and Happy : Letters from Black Settlers in Africa in the 1790's

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This group of unpublished letters from settlers in Sierra Leone record what was probably the earliest attempt on the part of ex-slaves to obtain political and land rights through their literacy in English. Their efforts ended in tragedy in some cases.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 120 pages
  • 137.2 x 218.4 x 17.8mm | 272.16g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0748602704
  • 9780748602704

Back cover copy

This is a unique group of previously unpublished letters which are held in manuscript form by the British Library, the Library of the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the Public Record Office, London. The letters were written by black settlers who had migrated from North America to Sierra Leone. They record an attempt by self-liberated ex-slaves to obtain political and land rights, which they felt had been unjustly denied them, using their literacy in English as a tool. As the letters reveal, their efforts ended in tragedy for, after delivering a declaration of independence and leading an armed rebellion, two settlers were hanged and others banished from their new homes. Christopher Fyfe's introduction explains the historical background to the period. An important supplementary essay by Professor Charles Jones examines the linguistic significance of the letters, comparing them with native English letters of the period.
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