In the summer of 1860, more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 men, women, and children from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States as slaves. Timothy Meaher, an established Mobile businessman, sent the slave ship, the Clotilda , to Africa, on a bet that he could "bring a shipful of niggers right into Mobile Bay under the officers' noses." He won the bet. This book reconstructs the lives of the people in West Africa, recounts their capture and passage in the slave pen in Ouidah, and describes their experience of slavery alongside American-born enslaved men and women. After emancipation, the group reunited from various plantations, bought land, and founded their own settlement, known as African Town. They ruled it according to customary African laws, spoke their own regional language and, when giving interviews, insisted that writers use their African names so that their families would know that they were still alive. The last survivor of the Clotilda died in 1935, but African Town is still home to a community of Clotilda descendants. The publication of Dreams of Africa in Alabama marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. Winner of the Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association (2007)
Informative and entertaining essays on the accents, dialects, and speech patterns particular to Alabama Thomas E. Nunnally’s fascinating volume presents essays by linguists who examine with affection and curiosity the speech varieties occurring both past and present across Alabama. Taken together, the accounts in this volume offer an engaging view of the major features that characterize Alabama’s unique brand of southern English. Written in an accessible manner for general readers and scholars alike, Speaking of Alabama includes such subjects as the special linguistic features of the Southern drawl, the “phonetic divide” between north and south Alabama, “code-switching” by African American speakers in Alabama, pejorative attitudes by Alabama speakers toward their own native speech, the influence of foreign languages on Alabama speech to the vibrant history and continuing influence of non-English languages in the state, as well as ongoing changes in Alabama’s dialects. Adding to these studies is a foreword by Walt Wolfram and an afterword by Michael B. Montgomery, both renowned experts in southern English, which place both the methodologies and the findings of the volume into their larger contexts and point researchers to needed work ahead in Alabama, the South, and beyond. The volume also contains a number of useful appendices, including a guide to the sounds of Southern English, a glossary of linguistic terms, and online sources for further study. Language, as presented in this collection, is never abstract but always examined in the context of its speakers’ day-to-day lives, the driving force for their communication needs and choices. Whether specialist or general reader, Alabamian or non-Alabamian, all readers will come away from these accounts with a deepened understanding of how language functions between individuals, within communities, and across regions, and will gain a new respect for the driving forces behind language variation and language change.
Illuminates how African Muslims drew on Islam while enslaved, and how their faith ultimately played a role in the African Disapora Servants of Allah presents a history of African Muslims, following them from West Africa to the Americas. Although many assume that what Muslim faith they brought with them to the Americas was quickly absorbed into the new Christian milieu, as Sylviane A. Diouf demonstrates in this meticulously-researched, groundbreaking volume, Islam flourished during slavery on a large scale. She details how, even while enslaved, many Muslims managed to follow most of the precepts of their religion. Literate, urban, and well-traveled, they drew on their organization, solidarity and the strength of their beliefs to play a major part in the most well-known slave uprisings. But for all their accomplishments and contributions to the history and cultures of the African Diaspora, the Muslims have been largely ignored. Servants of Allah—a Choice 1999 Outstanding Academic Title—illuminates the role of Islam in the lives of both individual practitioners and communities, and shows that though the religion did not survive in the Americas in its orthodox form, its mark can be found in certain religions, traditions, and artistic creations of people of African descent. This 15th anniversary edition has been updated to include new materials and analysis, a review of developments in the field, prospects for new research, and new illustrations.
All along the Mississippi--on country plantation landings, urban levees and quays, and the decks of steamboats--nineteenth-century African Americans worked and fought for their liberty amid the slave trade and the growth of the cotton South. Offering a counternarrative to Twain's well-known tale from the perspective of the pilothouse, Thomas C. Buchanan paints a more complete picture of the Mississippi, documenting the rich variety of experiences among slaves and free blacks who lived and worked on the lower decks and along the river during slavery, through the Civil War, and into emancipation. Buchanan explores the creative efforts of steamboat workers to link riverside African American communities in the North and South. The networks African Americans created allowed them to keep in touch with family members, help slaves escape, transfer stolen goods, and provide forms of income that were important to the survival of their communities. The author also details the struggles that took place within the steamboat work culture. Although the realities of white supremacy were still potent on the river, Buchanan shows how slaves, free blacks, and postemancipation freedpeople fought for better wages and treatment. By exploring the complex relationship between slavery and freedom, Buchanan sheds new light on the ways African Americans resisted slavery and developed a vibrant culture and economy up and down America's greatest river.
Program of the Annual Meeting
Author: Organization of American Historians. Meeting
Over more than two centuries men, women, and children escaped from slavery to make the Southern wilderness their home. They hid in the mountains of Virginia and the low swamps of South Carolina; they stayed in the neighborhood or paddled their way to secluded places; they buried themselves underground or built comfortable settlements. Known as maroons, they lived on their own or set up communities in swamps or other areas where they were not likely to be discovered. Although well-known, feared, celebrated or demonized at the time, the maroons whose stories are the subject of this book have been forgotten, overlooked by academic research that has focused on the Caribbean and Latin America. Who the American maroons were, what led them to choose this way of life over alternatives, what forms of marronage they created, what their individual and collective lives were like, how they organized themselves to survive, and how their particular story fits into the larger narrative of slave resistance are questions that this book seeks to answer. To survive, the American maroons reinvented themselves, defied slave society, enforced their own definition of freedom and dared create their own alternative to what the country had delineated as being black men and women’s proper place. Audacious, self-confident, autonomous, sometimes self-sufficient, always self-governing; their very existence was a repudiation of the basic tenets of slavery.