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The Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua: His Passage from Slavery to Freedom in Africa and America

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This remains one of the few biographies of a slave born in Africa who left a detailed account of his life and struggle for freedom in America.Baquaqua was enslaved in northern Benin in the early 1840s, taken south through Togo to Ouidah, the port of Dahomey, shipped to Pernambuco in Brazil, and sold to a merchant from Rio, who sold him to a ship captain, who took him to Ne This remains one of the few biographies of a slave born in Africa who left a detailed account of his life and struggle for freedom in America.Baquaqua was enslaved in northern Benin in the early 1840s, taken south through Togo to Ouidah, the port of Dahomey, shipped to Pernambuco in Brazil, and sold to a merchant from Rio, who sold him to a ship captain, who took him to New York City. There a little-known group, the New York Vigilance Society, convinced him to jump ship.He escaped to Boston and traveled to Haiti, the only free Black state in the Americas, where he joined the American Free Baptist Mission. After converting to Christianity and learning English, he returned to the U.S. and attended college, traveling extensively on the abolitionist lecture circuit; his biography, written in Canada, was published in 1854 but has been virtually ignored since then.In recent times some scholars have questioned the accuracy of biographies of slaves allegedly born in Africa. The editors of this volume have verified many of the details of Baquaqua's story by traveling to Djougou and Brazil retracing Baquaqua's path and collecting documents from African as well as North and South American sources.Contemporary illustrations of the sites described by Baquaqua, along with his letters and other relevant documents, are included.


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This remains one of the few biographies of a slave born in Africa who left a detailed account of his life and struggle for freedom in America.Baquaqua was enslaved in northern Benin in the early 1840s, taken south through Togo to Ouidah, the port of Dahomey, shipped to Pernambuco in Brazil, and sold to a merchant from Rio, who sold him to a ship captain, who took him to Ne This remains one of the few biographies of a slave born in Africa who left a detailed account of his life and struggle for freedom in America.Baquaqua was enslaved in northern Benin in the early 1840s, taken south through Togo to Ouidah, the port of Dahomey, shipped to Pernambuco in Brazil, and sold to a merchant from Rio, who sold him to a ship captain, who took him to New York City. There a little-known group, the New York Vigilance Society, convinced him to jump ship.He escaped to Boston and traveled to Haiti, the only free Black state in the Americas, where he joined the American Free Baptist Mission. After converting to Christianity and learning English, he returned to the U.S. and attended college, traveling extensively on the abolitionist lecture circuit; his biography, written in Canada, was published in 1854 but has been virtually ignored since then.In recent times some scholars have questioned the accuracy of biographies of slaves allegedly born in Africa. The editors of this volume have verified many of the details of Baquaqua's story by traveling to Djougou and Brazil retracing Baquaqua's path and collecting documents from African as well as North and South American sources.Contemporary illustrations of the sites described by Baquaqua, along with his letters and other relevant documents, are included.

30 review for The Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua: His Passage from Slavery to Freedom in Africa and America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bruno Greggio

    História fundamental, contada da perspectiva de alguém que, convertido em mercadoria pelo sistema escravagista, sofreu suas piores violências. Fundamental para brasileiros, sobretudo, pelo confronto entre as formas de tratamento e opções de vida para os africanos escravizados após a proibição do tráfico pela Inglaterra e antes da Lei Euzébio de Queirós (1850). É bom salientar que, na narrativa, é perceptível, a todo o momento, a mão do editor Samuel Moore. Apesar de ser o autor, Baquaqua não é o História fundamental, contada da perspectiva de alguém que, convertido em mercadoria pelo sistema escravagista, sofreu suas piores violências. Fundamental para brasileiros, sobretudo, pelo confronto entre as formas de tratamento e opções de vida para os africanos escravizados após a proibição do tráfico pela Inglaterra e antes da Lei Euzébio de Queirós (1850). É bom salientar que, na narrativa, é perceptível, a todo o momento, a mão do editor Samuel Moore. Apesar de ser o autor, Baquaqua não é o único narrador destas memórias. Para quem procura por uma edição crítica, porém, esta edição não é uma boa opção. Além de apresentar alguns trechos com sintaxe truncada, há ilustrações pixalizadas e mapas de autoria e confiabilidade incertas. Para esses leitores, que pretendam estudar a obra em português, talvez seja recomendável aguardar a edição, anunciada há mais de um ano, de Bruno Véras e Nielson Bezerra, do Projeto Baquaqua . Do contrário, há as edições em inglês mesmo.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Sanches

    Coming across this book was a very happy accident. It is unbelievable that never once in school I was told about the existence of it. Having a first-person perspective of the horrors of Brazilian slavery is an unmatchable experience, one that definitely my fellow countrymen would benefit of.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chau

  5. 5 out of 5

    Guilherme Tostes

  6. 4 out of 5

    Antonio Feitoza Gomes

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

  9. 5 out of 5

    Victor

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joel Trono-Doerksen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julia Joy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Atabei

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alvaro Martins

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexandre Sena

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ana Julia Ghirello

  17. 5 out of 5

    Beatriz Amorim

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sohum

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ross Low

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  21. 4 out of 5

    Guilherme Jappe

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Marinho Phillips

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eduardo França

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cátia Maringolo

  25. 5 out of 5

    Thiago Coutinho-Silva

  26. 4 out of 5

    Manuel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Rubene dos Santos

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erico Cazarré

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marianne Wason

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