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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Saidiya Hartman's words and thinking are unflinching, true, and beautiful, and only she could have written this extraordinary book. He said less about her than about his grandmother, maybe because his grandmother raised him or maybe because speaking of his mother made him feel like the grief-stricken fifteen-year-old he had been in 1907 when she died. He had imagined a commonwealth where all the necessities of life were provided for, where the comforts were abundant and experienced by all, where the land easily supported the people, where greed had been eliminated, where money had been abolished, where the idle crowd of gentlemen and nobles had been eradicated, and where all true pleasures were encouraged. Of course I knew black people had been enslaved and that I was descended from slaves, but slavery was vague and faraway to me, like the embarrassing incidents adults loved to share with you about some incredulous thing you had done as a toddler but of which you had no memory. Mary Ellen was an attractive woman in her sixties with luminous, sad brown eyes, a mischievous smile, and the unmistakable comportment of a bohemian.

Following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast, she reckons with the blank slate of her own genealogy and vividly dramatizes the effects of slavery on three centuries of African and African American history. Telling the truth risked sullying the love of romantics who kissed the ground as soon as they landed in mother Africa, not caring that it was the tarmac of the airport. Hartman’s main focus in “Lose Your Mother” is shaking up our abstract, and therefore forgettable, appreciation for a tragedy wrought on countless nameless, faceless Africans.Her reflections on history and memory unfold as an intimate encounter with places—a holding cell, a slave market, a walled town built to repel slave raiders—and with people: an Akan prince who granted the Portuguese permission to build the first permanent trading fort in West Africa; an adolescent boy who was kidnapped while playing; a fourteen-year-old girl who was murdered aboard a slave ship. Atop the dune I could see Christiansborg Castle and the little fishing village that sat on the other side of it. There was no going back to a time or place before slavery, and going beyond it no doubt would entail nothing less momentous than yet another revolution.

A personalized approach to history that pushes me to read more and will have me pondering for some time. In the sixties it was still possible to believe that the past could be left behind because it appeared as though the future, finally, had arrived; whereas in my age the impress of racism and colonialism seemed nearly indestructible.Hartman delineates a clear divide between how African-Americans view their ties to slavery and the African continent, and the perspective of the Ghanaians she meets, who largely see visiting African-Americans as a source of tourism revenue and do not readily discuss slavery, which they see as a source of shame - to those of slave ancestry in particular. Hartman feels out of place because the history of the slave trade depends upon the lenses – African-American versus African. The uncanny feeling that the new days were too much like the old ones plagued only dissidents, intellectuals, and the poor.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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