Tuesday, May 01, 2018
In 1931, Zora Neale Hurston sought to publish the story of Cudjo Lewis, the final slave-ship survivor. Instead it languished in a vault. Until now.
Barracoon is testament to her patient fieldwork. The book is based on three months of periodic interviews with a man named Cudjo Lewis — or Kossula, his original name — the last survivor of the last slave ship to land on American shores. Plying him with peaches and Virginia hams, watermelon and Bee Brand insect powder, Hurston drew out his story.