In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.
Based on interviews featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
Edited and with an introduction by Deborah G. Plant, and with a forward from the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award-winning author Alice Walker, the publication of Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon is a literary event for students, academics, and every reader.