On December 18, 1865, U.S. Secretary of State, William Seward announces the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. Slavery is officially prohibited throughout the country and Cudjo Lewis along with millions of other slaves become legally free. Unlike many though Lewis had only arrived in America in 1860, years after bringing more slaves from Africa was banned. His life though would become a powerful testement to the pervasiveness of buying and selling human lives in American History thanks to the work of Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston, an American folklorist and author, was a Harlem Renaissance literature luminary. In 1927, she traveled to meet Cudjo Lewis in the town he founded with fellow slaves, Plateau, Alabama. He was the last living survivor of the Middle Passage. Though the book was written shortly after Hurston’s extensive interviews with Lewis, it was rejected for publication and was not released to the public until 2018 because she insisted on staying true to Lewis’s vernacular language as essential to his story and his story included involvement of Africans in the Atlantic slave trade.

Book Title: Barracoon : the Story of the Last “Black Cargo”

Book Author: Hurston, Zora Neale

Dewey Decimal Call Number: 326 H P

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