History and Historiography

One of the Last Slave Ship Survivors Describes His Ordeal in a 1930s Interview

This was an interesting work from Zora Neale Hurston that was discovered only a couple of years ago.

By Becky Little, History.Com

More than 60 years after the abolition of slavery, anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston made an incredible connection: She located one of the last survivors of the last slave ship to bring captive Africans to the United States.

Hurston, a known figure of the Harlem Renaissance who would later write the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, conducted interviews with Oluale Kossola (renamed Cudjo Lewis), but struggled to publish them as a book in the early 1930s. In fact, they were only released to the public in a book called Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” that came out in May of 2018.

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