Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo."

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo." 3 CDs. Harper Audio. May 2018. 3:49 hrs. ISBN 9781538519295. $22.99. digital download. BIOG
OrangeReviewStarVersatile, seasoned narrator Robin Miles is as comfortable narrating literary historic context as she is effortlessly adopting the vernacular patois of an octogenarian former slave. Published almost 90 years after its completion, Hurston's (Their Eyes Were Watching God) presentation of Oluale Kossula, the last survivor of the final U.S. slave ship Clotilda, appears now with an illuminating introduction by scholar Deborah G. Plant. Kossula was enslaved in 1860 at 19 for five years and renamed Cudjo Lewis; her experiences after emancipation continued to be difficult and tragic. Hurston's interviews became a delicate process requiring multiple visits from New York to Alabama over four years, punctuated by shared peaches, watermelons, ham, and blue crab. With patient tenacity, Hurston immortalizes Kossula's words into cultural, anthropological, historical, and political testimony; Miles ensures readers will faithfully and accurately hear every word. That said, missing on audio is Alice Walker's foreword, which is included in print; Walker is credited with posthumously elevating Hurston from obscurity.
VERDICT Libraries will want to enhance availability of this best seller by providing easy access to Miles's superb performance. ["A brief book that tells a significant story; for fans of Hurston and African American and world history": LJ 5/1/18 review of the Amistad: HarperCollins hc.]
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