African Voices of the Atlantic Slave trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame
Published by Beacon Press
AFRICAN VOICES OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE:
Beyond the Silence and the Shame
"The first history of the Atlantic slave trade culled from the memories of those Africans left
behind...it will forever alter our understanding of the Middle Passage."
--Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
The story of the Atlantic slave trade has largely been filtered through the eyes of white
Europeans but in this watershed book, Bailey focuses on memories of the trade from the
African perspective. African chiefs and other elders in an area of Southeastern Ghana-
once famously called 'the Old Slave Coast'-share stories which reveal that Africans were
both traders, as well as victims of the trade. Though Africans were not equal partners with
Europeans, their partial involvement had devastating consequences on their history and
sense of identity.
Like people who have undergone trauma many African societies now experience a
fragmented view of their past which partially explains the blanket of silence and shame
around the slave trade. Capturing astonishing oral histories-like the 1856 incident
involving the kidnapping of famous drummers and traders by Europeans and Americans-
Bailey breaks the deafening silence around slavery and explores the delicate and
fragmented nature of historical memory in this rare, unprecedented book.
"In a path-breaking work, Anne C. Bailey utilizes the power of oral traditions to
reconstruct the history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The book powerfully illuminates the
importance of the concrete cultural survival of African traditions within the Atlantic slave
trade and slavery."
--Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine Segal Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania &
Chairperson of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
Anne C. Bailey is assistant professor of African History at Spelman College. The author of
two historical novels for children, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Written by Gayatri Patnaik, Senior Editor, BEACON PRESS