African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Beyond the Silence and the Shame

By Anne Bailey
(Beacon Press, Paperback, 9780807055137, 304pp.)

Publication Date: January 2006

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Description
It's an awful story. It's an awful story. Why do you want to bring this up now?--Chief Awusa of Atorkor
For centuries, the story of the Atlantic slave trade has been filtered through the eyes and records of white Europeans. In this watershed book, historian 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 traders as well as victims of the trade.
Bailey argues that, like victims of trauma, many African societies now experience a fragmented view of their past that partially explains the blanket of silence and shame around the slave trade. Capturing scores of oral histories that were handed down through generations, Bailey finds that, although Africans were not equal partners with Europeans, even their partial involvement in the slave trade had devastating consequences on their history and identity. In this unprecedented and revelatory book, Bailey explores the delicate and fragmented nature of historical memory.



About the Author

Anne C. Bailey is assistant professor of history at Spelman College. Born in Jamaica, she is the author of two historical novels. Bailey has spent time in and among various communities in Ghana, collecting numerous oral histories. She lives with her son, Mickias Joseph, in Atlanta, Georgia.

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