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Book discussion: Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

Community Room
Wednesday, Feb 19, 6:00pm to 7:30pm

The culmination of three months’ worth of conversations between Hurston and Cudjo Lewis, née Oluale Kossola, the last living survivor of the transatlantic slave trade. In 1860, at the age of 19, Kossola was kidnapped and taken to the barracoons (barracks) Though the slave trade in the United States was officially outlawed in 1808, Kossola and about 110 others were captured and brought to Mobile, Alabama, on Captain William Foster’s ship Clotilda. Less than five years after landing in Alabama, emancipation arrived as the Confederate army surrendered in Virginia. Once he’d saved enough money to buy a land parcel, Kossola founded Africatown, Alabama, an isolated community of former slaves that sought to preserve their roots and culture. His story, as told by Hurston, illuminates the alienating and lonesome existence of freed slaves during Reconstruction.

Hawthorne Library