Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

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Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

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My generation was the first that came here with the dungeon as our prime destination, unlike the scores of black tourists who, motivated by Alex Haley's Roots, had traveled to Ghana and other parts of West Africa to reclaim their African patrimony. Stella turned on the overhead fan, which churned the stale air but brought no comfort, retrieved a small stack of threadbare towels from the corner bureau and placed them on the bed, pointed out the bathroom down the hall, and then excused herself for the night. Saidiya Hartman’s book is about, in part, having a lack of that, a lack of sense, and a lack of belonging. Telling the truth risked savaging the dreams of those who might never travel to Africa but still imagined soil on which they would be embraced.

In my daily trek from Osu to the University of Ghana in Legon, which was a twenty-to thirty-minute excursion by taxi, I began to map the city in my own terms.

I needed to see the Atlantic, which was where I reckoned with the dead, the men and women and children who were all but invisible in most of the history written about the slave trade; academics had continued to quarrel about how many slaves packed per ton constituted "tight packing" and a deliberate policy of accepting high mortality, estimate rates of cargo productivity in the slave trade versus the other kinds of commodity trade, and quantify the gains and losses of the slave trade with algebraic formulas that obscured the disaster: Deck Area = Constant × (Tonnage) 2/3. Whether I could pass for a young Ghanaian woman could not redress my losses, settle the questions that plagued me, or bring me any comfort.

The émigrés had no illusions about their status, according to Leslie Lacy: "We were tolerated out of sufferance of Nkrumah, and if they could kill him at eight o'clock, our fate would be his at eight-thirty. Ellen had accompanied her master and his family on a trip to Alabama, where he went to sell a parcel of horses.

Nor was slavery discussed at the Black Power summer camp where, unbeknownst to my parents who recognized only that the camp was free and within walking distance from our house, counselors forbade us to apologize to white people, where I wore T-shirts embossed with revolutionary Swahili slogans, the meanings of which I could never remember. But Hartman, who “dreamed of living in Ghana” since college, is also interested in the country’s more recent centrality in the Pan-African movement since its independence in 1957, when the first president, Kwame Nkrumah, opened up the country to members of the African diaspora, creating a Ghana whose slogan was “Africa for Africans at home and abroad. The dream of an age after colonialism, after racism, after capitalism, which had provided the bridge across the Atlantic for the émigrés, fell to pieces. The monumentality of the castle gave heft to the assertion and grandeur to the fledgling post-colonial state.

They arrived with what Maya Angelou described as a "terrible yearning to be accepted," to pitch in their lot with Ghanaians, and to undertake the hard labor of nation building. Eloquent, thoughtful, and deeply affecting, Lose Your Mother is a powerful meditation on history, memory, and the Atlantic slave trade. Was it foolish to long for a territory in which you could risk imagining a future that didn't replicate the defeats of the present? I don't know if it was the bare bones of Ella's story or the hopefulness and despair that lurked in Poppa's words as he recounted it, as if he were weighing the promise of freedom against the vast stretches of stolen land before him, that made me eager to know more than what Poppa remembered or wanted to share. As far as I could tell, not one taxi driver in Accra could find his way to African Liberation Square, but almost all knew the location of the U.There was still the chance that the manufacturers of misery would be toppled and the empires derailed. The book provides valuable insight into hearts and minds of blacks in the Diaspora, who are more than ever trying to bridge the gaps in time that the trans-Atlantic slave trade severed—mostly through tourism and DNA technologies to trace one's "roots".

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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