Alice Bellagamba, Sandra E. Greene, and Martin Klein, eds. 2013. The Bitter Legacy: African Slavery Past and Present. Princeton: Markus Weiner Publications. 211 pp.
Historians Alice Bellagamba, Sandra E. Greene and Martin Klein's edited volume makes a unique contribution to the study of the African slave trade in its highlighting the voices of men and women of slave ancestry and ownership within the continent of Africa. Their approach is a divergence from the prevailing emphasis on exploring the legacy of the slave trade and slavery in a trans-Atlantic context.
The editors' introduction not only contextualizes the individual contributors' chapters as part of the larger project, but it also offers revelations about the system of African slavery in pre-colonial Africa, post-trans-Atlantic slave trade abolition when as the editors remark, "Slave-raiding and slave-trading within Africa remained not only an important form of economic activity... it accelerated" (p. 94) as well as its legacies in colonial and post-colonial Africa into the contemporary moment. As such they elucidate a history that would most likely be outside the purview of the majority of scholars, most of who focus on the trans-Atlantic trade. There are several themes that run through the chapters. For example, as the editors make clear, the history of the slave trade and slavery is inextricably tied to memories of it. This dialectical relationship can be seen, for example, in Emmanuel Saboro's chapter on songs sung during harvest festivals amongst the Bulsa of the terror that a particular slave raider spread...
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