by Anne C. Bailey
The story of the Atlantic slave trade has largely been filtered through the records of white Europeans, but in this watershed book, Anne C. Bailey focuses on memories of the trade from the African perspective. African chiefs and other elders in an area of southeastern Ghana once famously called “the Old Slave Coast” share stories that reveal that Africans were both traders and victims of the trade. Though Africans were not equal partners with Europeans, their involvement had devastating consequences on their history and sense of identity.
Like trauma victims, many African societies experience a fragmented view of their past that partially explains the silence and shame around the slave trade. Capturing astonishing oral histories that were handed down through generations of storytellers, Bailey breaks this deafening silence and explores the delicate nature of historical memory in this rare, unprecedented book.
“Bailey offers a noteworthy, carefully researched contribution to the study of the African slave trade . . . [and] brings unheard historical voices to the fore.” —Publishers Weekly
“A remarkable effort to present the slave trade from a perspective very different from what we are used to—not that of slavery’s liberal opponents or even of the slaves themselves but of the Africans from whose midst the slaves were taken . . . Bailey is scrupulously objective in making her way through the resulting political minefield . . . People like Anne Bailey make us uncomfortable, which is all to the good.” —Daniel Lazare, The Nation
“A true work of retrieval and restoration . . . A remarkablegift.” —Ato Quayson, director, African Studies Centre, University of Cambridge, UK
Paperback: 304 pages