by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)
According to Newsone.com, the published work of literary giant Zora Neale Hurston (Of Mules and Men, Their Eyes Were Watching God) will expand in 2018 with the posthumous release of a new non-fiction book in May, Melville House reported.
The book—titled Barracoon—is an anthropological work on Cudjo Lewis; the last known person to survive the transatlantic slave trade between Africa and the United States. Nearly 90 years ago, Hurston traveled to Plateau, Alabama, and listened to Lewis—who was in his early 90s—recount his heart-wrenching experiences. Hurston went back and forth to Plateau over the course of four years. During her visits, Lewis shared memories about his upbringing in Africa, dark details about being captured, and his voyage to America on the Clotilde ship.
Lewis also spoke to Hurston about the perils of being an enslaved man in America and how his life changed following the Civil War. After gaining his freedom, Lewis and other former enslaved peoples cultivated a community in Alabama which was later landmarked and recognized as the Africatown Historic District. According to Bustle, Lewis was also featured in a short film created by Hurston in 1928; making him the only former bondsman born in Africa to be featured on a movie reel.
Harper Collins described the book as a piece that “brilliantly illuminates the tragedy of slavery and one life forever defined by it” and “an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.”
To pre-order Barracoon, click below: