Two books announced for the Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora

Two new titles in the Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora: From freedom to freedom: Journeying back to heal the wounds of the Atlantic slave trade by Johnston Akuma-Kalu Njoku and Elem Kalabari of the Niger Delta: The transition from slave to produce trading under British Imperialism by Waibinte E. Wariboko.

Wariboko book coverElem Kalabari of the Niger Delta re-examines the multi-layered responses of Elem Kalabari to the agents of British firms, the consular officials of the British Crown, and the missionaries of the CMS Niger Mission that initiated, sustained and nourished British imperialism following the change from slave to produce trading during the nineteenth century in the Niger Delta. It challenges the popular notion that the eastern Delta trading states of Bonny, Nembe-Brass, Opobo, and Elem Kalabari had responded in identical patterns to the extraterritorial forces of British imperialism.

From Freedom to Freedom projects a symbolic journeying back to Africa as a way to help bring healing to the deep-seated wounds of slavery in two countries integral to slave trade, the United States and Nigeria. The book addresses the three emerging interests among scholars of the Atlantic African Diaspora: (1) the search for African ethnic origins of the descendants of the enslaved Africans in the United States (John Thornton, Michael Gomez, Gendolyn Hall, Douglas Chambers, Paul Lovejoy, etc.), (2) the increasing attention to African voices, inspired by the UNESCO hinterland slave routes initiative (Lovejoy, Carolyn Brown, Akosua A. Perbi, Chima Korieh, etc.) and (3) reconnecting regions and peoples long separated by the transatlantic slave trade (Michal Sobel, Ugo Nwokeji and David Eltis, Michael Gomez, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.).

Njoju book coverThe book explores selected folklore motifs and historical narratives about material objects, sites and monuments, as well as the exploits of local slave raiders, escorts, and traders in the oral traditions in Igboland as valid evidence. One of the most remarkable findings is the fact that right from the moments of their capture, the Igbo victims of the Atlantic slave trade always had their eyes on freedom. The information about incidences of slave runaways in Igboland complements the Underground Railroad accounts in the United States.

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