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Barracoon
Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave | Zora Neale Hurston
119 posts | 97 read | 4 reading | 168 to read
A major literary event: a never-before-published work from the author of the American classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God which brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade—illegally smuggled from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States. In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, to interview ninety-five-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States. In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilde, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War. Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon brilliantly illuminates the tragedy of slavery and one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
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larrybercow
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Amazing and heartbreaking

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ladyneverwhere
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Pickpick

Loved everything about this book: Kossola's harrowing narrative, his storytelling, the explanations on how Hurston developed her relationship with him and the literary intrigue that followed investigation into her work decades later. I can't recommend it highly enough!

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Tamra
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Pickpick

Wow, what joys and sorrows in a single lifetime! Aren‘t we lucky this manuscript Of Hurston‘s was finally discovered?

Narrator was outstanding given how difficult the dialect must have been to master.

Saknicole Been on my #TBR for ages! I love her so much! 2mo
Graywacke Totally agree - on story and about the reader. 2mo
93 likes2 comments
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suzisteffen
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Pickpick

This was an infuriating (not with Kossula or with Hurston), moving, brilliant book. My heart just fell on the floor. This man lost everything, just everything - twice. I listened to it and the audio was excellent. I think some don‘t like the dialect, but Kossula was speaking a third or fourth language - and my goodness was it incredible. A very short but meaningful oral #history book. 5 ⭐️.

suzisteffen Africatown (I swear it‘s said “African Town” on the audio - even slowed it to three-quarter time to make sure) was founded in about 1865 post Civil War by survivors of kidnapping and enslavement - the last remaining people who had been on the Clotilde, the last ships to run enslaved people from West Africa to the US. 2mo
Weaponxgirl I loved the dialect on audio! I think I would have struggled with the flow in print which would have been on me not the book. This broke my heart , how he tells his story and contextualising it in the modern world. I‘m so glad zora told his story for him and refused to change the dialect. 2mo
suzisteffen @Weaponxgirl Good point about reading vs listening to it! It made me want to listen to Their Eyes Are Watching God and Mules and Men. 2mo
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Weaponxgirl @suzisteffen yes! I think I read their eyes were watching god too young and didn‘t really get it. It‘s one I really need to go back to and have been thinking about trying the audio version 2mo
suzisteffen @Weaponxgirl SAME. SAAAAAAAME. 2mo
Weaponxgirl @suzisteffen if you get round to reading it again give me a tag and if I‘m not completely bogged down I will try to join you. I also recently got a biography on Hurston so would get me to read both. I would love to dive into your bookshelves sometime! 2mo
suzisteffen @Weaponxgirl will do! I‘m a little planned out for nonfiction for a while, but I could def toss Their Eyes into the April fiction plan. 2mo
suzisteffen @Weaponxgirl my bookshelves are about to get a huge purge (we recently had to clear out all of my dad‘s books and like ... I AM SO SIMILAR, but do I really need all of the racist Bobbsey Twins books I had as a kid?!) 2mo
Weaponxgirl @suzisteffen there‘s no hurry on the fiction front. I‘ve been having trouble reading it recently even though I love it and have just been easing myself back into it. 2mo
Weaponxgirl @suzisteffen book purges are hard! I need to try and do one soon. I should get to my owned physical book tbr really. 2mo
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suzisteffen
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Halfway through and my heart is so broken for this man. 1859! The ship left Alabama and returned with a cargo of kidnapped people who would be enslaved in *1859*! Listening to this after reading Stamped from the Beginning is just another arrow to the heart of the self-regard of USians who love to tout our “positive” history. More oral histories from this time would‘ve been so useful - they‘re so necessary. (Pic from Vulture - link below)

KathyWheeler There was a big deal here last year because they thought they‘d found the ship he came here on — the Clotilde — but it turned out not to be that ship. 3mo
suzisteffen @KathyWheeler I just heard the part where Hurston says you can see it at the mouth of the river! But that was 80 years ago, so I guess it makes sense that it‘s harder to find now. I vaguely remember that news story! 3mo
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suzisteffen
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Barracoon is my March #history book, and I‘ll be starting it today just after finishing my science audiobook (I have a lot of commute time today). It‘s about a zillion times shorter than Stamped from the Beginning, so I may get in a second history book this month, maybe Code Girls or (SUPER excited about this one) When Brooklyn Was Queer. Anyway! Onward to Zora Neale Hurston!

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Leftcoastzen
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Pickpick

As Hurston says in the intro.”All these words from the seller,but not one word from the sold.”Hurston makes you feel like you are there with Cudjo Lewis,a survivor of the Clotilda the last slave ship known to make it to America.Highly recommended . #24B4Monday Next up Oreo by Fran Ross a satire about African Americans and Jews first published in 1974. #BlackHistoryMonth

Andrew65 A shameful period in history. 3mo
laytonwoman3rd Both on my TBR list. Thanks for these comments. 3mo
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Leftcoastzen
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Evening edition #24B4Monday Finally getting to the Black History Month theme .This has been on my TBR since the release date.Got caught up in an episode of Finding Your Roots on PBS .Back to reading with IPA.

Andrew65 Great book choice 👏 3mo
Emilymdxn I just read this this month too! Phenomenal book 3mo
Leftcoastzen @Emilymdxn it was amazing 3mo
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Well-ReadNeck
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Pickpick

#BlackHistoryMonth #Audiobook

So important to retain stories of slavery. I especially liked that it retained the voice and choices of the teller. I‘m glad that I listened in audiobook that kept dialect and smoothly spoke African words and songs.

Gayan This is next up for me as soon as I finish The Underground Railroad. 3mo
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Hornsby78
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Pickpick

This was a sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes riotously funny, but always educational read for #BlackHistoryMonth. I am thankful that the author ensured the subject's voice was captured by quoting him in his own Nigerian accent and used the language of his tribe when he would sing. Five stars out of five. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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KatieDid927
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Pickpick

A really compelling and quick read about an important part of our country‘s history.

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Jas16
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Took advantage of a rainless day and joined the #litsywalkers today by taking an #audiowalk to donate a bag of books to the Friends of the Public library bookstore. Only left with the three pictured books for me. Finished listening to the tagged book. I enjoyed it but it was so much shorter than I expected. It ends abruptly and the last portion is the appendix. Glad I had another audio downloaded and ready to go.

Kaye 🌟 3mo
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iamtoddseal
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Pickpick

This presents further depth to a narrative a lot of us think we already know. This isn‘t slavery as told by Douglass or Equiano, but rather a look at where Kossola came from and where he went. It sheds some new (at least for me) light on life before, during, and after the slave trade, rounding out the pain as more than simply physical, more than just in one moment. The losses Kossola suffered add to an already horrible history that makes you ache.

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Hornsby78
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I started listening to this one tonight on the way home from work. Mobile Bay, the place where the last ship of enslaved Africans docked and were sold in 1860, is 2 hours from where I live. The descendants of the ship's enslaved people gather together every year in remembrance and celebration of their ancestors' lives, love, and grit. #BlackHistoryMonth

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Lindy
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Pickpick

Cudjo Lewis, the last surviving man from the last (illegal) slave cargo ship, was interviewed numerous times by Zora Neale Hurston. She asked him about his home in Africa, & his life in America, & then stepped back & let him tell it his own way. I found it deeply moving. The #audiobook performed by Robin Miles is a great way to approach this heartbreaking story, because Hurston has transcribed Lewis‘ voice entirely in dialect.

Christine This audiobook is next up on my list! So glad you endorse. 3mo
Lindy @Christine Enjoy! 3mo
TrishB Brought this a couple of weeks ago. Yet to read. 3mo
Lindy @TrishB 👍 3mo
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Lindy
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Cudjo meetee de people at de gate and tells dem, “You see de rattlesnake in de woods?” Dey say, “Yeah.” I say “If you bother wid him, he bite you. If you know de snake killee you, why you bother wid him? Same way wid my boys, you unnerstand me. If you leave my boys alone, dey not bother nobody!

EchoLogical This one broke my heart. I can't imagine what it was like living with all that loss after enduring all that he did. 4mo
Lindy @EchoLogical 💔Yes, and Hurston did a great job letting his voice remain front and centre. 4mo
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Lindy
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Frida is a smart kitty, curling up on the heat register on this cold day. I‘m cleaning the kitchen, and starting a new audiobook that‘s perfect for Black History Month: a recently-released early work from Zora Neale Hurston.

laurenslibrary 😻😻😻 4mo
BookishMarginalia What a gorgeous kitty! 4mo
AlaMich Yes, the heating vent in the bathroom is prime real estate in my house, especially during the polar vortex!! 4mo
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Lindy @laurenslibrary @BookishMarginalia 😊She purrs every time she is picked up. Cuddliest cat I‘ve ever known. 4mo
Lindy @AlaMich The polar vortex has made its way to Edmonton, sadly for us. 4mo
AlaMich @Lindy You have my sympathy!! 4mo
kspenmoll She is lovely! That coat! 4mo
Lindy @kspenmoll 😊Thanks. I would pass along your compliments, but she already seems to have perfect self esteem. 4mo
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Emilymdxn
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Pickpick

An amazing book though not at all what I was expecting. I thought this would be more ‘historical‘ and have a lot of wider political context, but instead it was an intensely focused dive into a very specific man‘s emotions, opinions, memories, relationships. The writer really stepped back and let him tell his own story. I‘m so thankful that an amazing writer spoke to him and put his story into the world, it‘s an incredible thing to read.

Joyfulmimi Agree with your review. Well put 4mo
ReadosaurusText It really wasn‘t what I expected either, but it has still been a book I‘ve thought about often since I read it last fall! 3mo
Emilymdxn @Joyfulmimi thank you! 3mo
Emilymdxn @ReadosaurusText it was my first ever book by her (I‘ve had TEWWG on my shelves forever but not read it yet) and I thought it was a wonderful surprising introduction! Definitely want to read more now 3mo
ReadosaurusText @Emilymdxn TEWWG is so powerful! It is interesting how her ethnography and fiction are such different styles but also intertwined! 3mo
57 likes5 comments
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Emilymdxn
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1. Barracoon and Sunjata
2. Near to the wild heart by Clarice Lispector - will almost certainly be one of my best books of 2019!
3. “To love another is something like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.”

#weekendreads @rachelsbrittain

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Emilymdxn
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My first audiobook choice to mark #blackhistorymonth - I‘ve been wanting to read this ever since I heard of it and I‘m very pleased to be making time to read it. I‘m sure it‘ll be a tough read but using this month to face uncomfortable truths is something I want to do.

TrishB Have this on my kindle, yet to read so will look forward to your review. 4mo
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Gayan
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February Reads #blackhistorymonth

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Emilymdxn
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I originally wanted to read only books by black writers in #blackhistorymonth after I realised from the list posted by @Weaponxgirl how woefully under-read I was, but then I realised I‘m halfway through books by 2 non black people and I have to read 1 more for book club in February. So logistics will make that hard.

So instead I‘m gonna read AT LEAST 10 books by black writers, and no white people other than the ones mentioned above and #tob2019

Weaponxgirl I‘ve been inspired by @TheNextBook and her #readblackwomen for next month 😊 4mo
Weaponxgirl Barracoon was really good on audiobook, really helped with getting into the flow of the dialect and I really need to reread their eyes were watching god. I love this list ❤️ 4mo
RealLifeReading I love Octavia Butler's work 💜 4mo
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Emilymdxn @Weaponxgirl amazing I‘ll check it out and find some more options! I‘m really excited to listen to Barracoon on audio 4mo
Emilymdxn @RealLifeReading I just read Kindred and thought it was amazing so I definitely want to read more! 4mo
Emilymdxn @TheNextBook thank you for the recommendation!! I‘ll stack it but I might not be able to buy new books for a while ☹️ 4mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego That sounds like a plan. 4mo
lele1432 The Fire Next Time is an amazing piece of literature. ❤️ 4mo
55 likes9 comments
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ferskner
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Pickpick

Oh my gosh, what a heartbreaking story, and how lucky we are to have this first-hand account of an African man forced into slavery.

I'd highly recommend the audiobook, since the dialect I think would be difficult to read (if my experience with Their Eyes Were Watching God holds true for this).

#pop19 #bookpublishedposthumously #litsyatoz @BookishMarginalia

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Joyfulmimi
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Pickpick

This book was depressing, difficult to read, but true and real. Cudjo‘s reports of incidents and his thoughts and feelings are no different than other slave narratives that I have read. Sadly enough, some of these things are still occurring in different ways. What else can I say? Why did all this happen? This is a question for which there is no answer. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Joyfulmimi
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“I‘m not sure there was ever a harder read than this”-Alice Walker, “Foreword”

(My heart is already heavy with lots of feelings for my ancestors.)

TrishB Just brought this on my kindle 👍🏻 4mo
37 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Yellowpigeon
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And I thought cats made it difficult to read

readordierachel Ha! 💕 4mo
tpixie Lol 😂👶🏻📚 3mo
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Gezemice
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Pickpick

Zora Neal Hurston conducted a set of interviews in 1931 with Cudjo Lewis, the last survivor of the last African slave ship. She preserves Cudjo‘s speech in a phonetic transcription, but inserts her own compassion. The narration by Robin Miles excellently conveys the accent. I particularly enjoyed the African parts, and was moved by Cudjo‘s love for his wife and children, and his sorrow for losing them. An important and moving work. ⬇️

Gezemice I gave the book four stars, because this edition contains an unfitting and lengthy intro, but the core of the work, written by Hurston, deserves five stars. Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2651814891 5mo
Graywacke This was one of my favorite books from last year. 5mo
Gezemice @Graywacke I enjoy Hurston. Amazing this set around for over 80 years! 5mo
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Tamra Anxious for my library hold to come due on this one! 5mo
Gezemice @Tamra I have listened to the audio, also from the library. Enjoy! 5mo
Tamra @Gezemice so glad to hear bc that is what I‘m waiting for! 5mo
Graywacke @Gezemice yes, crazy that. 5mo
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staci.reads
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Pickpick

In Alice Walker's foreward to this book, she states, "We are being shown the wound." Hurston documents her interviews with Cudjo Lewis, the last known survivor of the last known slave ship, which brought him to the US in 1860, 50 years after slave trade was outlawed. Told directly in Cudjo's dialect, Hurston as narrator is barely present, choosing instead to let the old man tell his own story: a story of tragedy and loneliness. #ReadInTheNewYear

Joyfulmimi Is PTSD inherent in our culture, I wonder. 4mo
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m.kart
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Just started this book! Big fan of Hurston, so I‘m excited to dig in.

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dbburks
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I'm excited to start this book. I lived in Mobile,AL for five years and was always interested in the story of the Clotilde and the settlement of Africatown. And it's by Zora Neale Hurston no less!

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AnansiGirl
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Completed the heart rendering story of Oluale Kossola (Cudjo Lewis) and his journey from slavery to his role in the founding of Africatown for #24B4Monday.

Andrew65 Sounds a great read. Good luck with the end of the Readathon. 😊 6mo
Tamra Anxious to read this one. 6mo
AnansiGirl @Tamra it‘s a good book to read about somebody who lived through that dark history, but it‘s a slim book and I yearn to read more of this man‘s storytelling. (edited) 6mo
AnansiGirl @Andrew65 it‘s been a while since I‘ve had a weekend all to myself to do nothing but read. I think Monday‘s going to be a book hangover kind of day! 😂 6mo
23 likes4 comments
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ReviewsMayVary
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Found this bag of new books in the closet while cleaning up. I wonder who i was hiding them from. 🤔📚

RavenLovelyReads 😂😂 6mo
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bookwrm526
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Pickpick

That was incredibly powerful, and I thought the audiobook narrator did a wonderful job with the dialect. It was very evocative of place and circumstance - I only wish there had been more!! This was my book published posthumously for @bookriot #readharder

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parttimedomestic
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#currentlyreading I‘ve been reading this one pretty slowly, as the subject matter is truly heartbreaking, & the notes are so thorough. I‘ve got to get it back to the library by Thursday though!
It‘s been a rough week here with the dog being hurt, so I haven‘t been in the mood for reading. He‘s not sleeping well & even though he‘s injured still wants to run around the neighborhood. I‘m hoping to get some audio in this weekend while I fix fences!

Lcsmcat I‘m sorry about your 🐶 and hope he feels better soon. 7mo
jb72 Hope your dog feels better soon! 7mo
erzascarletbookgasm Hope he gets better soon. 💙 7mo
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Louise Healing wishes to your pooch! ❤️🐾 7mo
parttimedomestic @Lcsmcat @jb72 @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you! He‘s pretty tough, which may be making it harder on him to recover, but he‘ll bounce back! 🧡 7mo
parttimedomestic @Louise Thank you! 🧡 7mo
39 likes6 comments
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RebL
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Fascinating. Informative. Accessible. The front & end matter deepen the reading.

KathyWheeler The photo on the cover came from the archives at my university. 7mo
RebL @KathyWheeler So cool! I used to work in a historical archives special collections. I loved cataloging the photos. I was no good at it though. I‘m going to check the design notes for the book now. Thanks for the heads up. 7mo
Tamra Very anxious to read! 7mo
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SW-T
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Pickpick

Beautifully told story of Oluale Kossola (aka Cudjo Lewis) as told to Zora Neale Hurston. Kossola/Lewis was brought to the United States as a slave fifty years after the slave trade was outlawed. Very touching piece of oral history caught by Hurston in a series of interviews with Kossola/Lewis.

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Graywacke
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Pickpick

Hurston was unable to publish when she wrote it 1931. The truth was uncomfortable - that he was captured by black Africans during a gruesome massacre. There are a lot of uncomfortable truths here. Cudjo Lewis had a fascinating and tough life. Hurston captures his story in his words as a man in his 80‘s, and Robin Miles reads it beautifully. The two combined bring his story alive. Highly recommended to audiobook peeps (only 4 hours).

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Graywacke
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Finally got this from the library. Fascinated. Wonderfully read by Robin Miles.

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EchoLogical
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I've been terrible at updating my Litsy account with my most current reads but here they are. Pretty good books.

Barracoon: Really eye-opening, made me think of all the indignities suffered before arriving in America and after being freed ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book of Essie: Unique spin on an old problem ⭐⭐⭐
War Storm: Thrilling conclusion to the Red Queen quartet, stays true to its predecessors⭐⭐⭐⭐

LoverofLit I just finished Red Queen and am on hold for the second. I think I'm gonna really enjoy this series! 8mo
EchoLogical @LoverofLit I liked it a lot with the exception of the second book, Glass Sword. 8mo
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Emilymdxn
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Incredible article in the TLS about the new (well newly published) book by Zora Neale Hurston, with cool material about how she did all the research behind it. I knew roughly what the novel was about but not the story of how she wrote and researched it which is way more interesting than i was expecting. Makes me determined to get round to reading the book

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Leeniebean71
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Pickpick

Excellent non fiction read that I finished in just a few days. Cudjo Lewis tells his own story as we all listen. It‘s a must read if you want a first hand account of an irrefutable history that‘s shaped the America we have today.

Regi_C This is on my tbr list! 9mo
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RainyMondays
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I am FINALLY getting around to reading my copy, Guys!

CarolynM Welcome to Litsy 🌼 9mo
Jess7 Welcome! 📖📚🤗 9mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!! 9mo
Wife Welcome to Litsy!🌹 9mo
12 likes4 comments
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Leeniebean71
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Next up! Two amazing authors, one excited reader 😆 #balancedreadingdiet #21dayread

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Cafelicien
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Good short read. I enjoyed it. I even read a short passage to my six year old niece and she enjoyed the dialect.

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BookInMyHands
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Pickpick

In 1927 writer and cultural anthropologist Hurston interviewed Cudjo Lewis (Kossola), and wrote his story, based on a series of interviews, in his own words and dialect. Nigerian born Lewis was a survivor of the last slave ship brought to the U.S.

Lewis recounts his childhood in Africa, how his village was slaughtered and he was taken to a slave ship, and a brief narrative of his family life in America after the Civil War.

#crossculturalstories

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