The Story of the Last Slave

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Zora Neale Hurston: Barracoon (2018, Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty, Limited)

208 pages

English language

Published Jan. 24, 2018 by Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty, Limited.

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5 stars (1 review)

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, 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 then 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. In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo's past--memories from …

5 editions

Review of 'Barracoon' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I love Zora Neale Hurston anyway

And finding Barracoon just confirmed that. This edition is more than the original manuscript, containing much informative front and back matter: The book itself is actually quite small. It's enough, though, to break your heart for Kossula and the 12 million + Africans who died grieving and longing for an Africa they would never see again, and enough to make you want to learn more. I'm off to see if I can find the film footage of him that she shot.


  • Slaves, united states
  • Slave trade
  • Slavery, united states, history
  • Alabama, history