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Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

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The summer of 1974 would be the last time we visited Montgomery, Alabama, for anything other than a brief four-day trip, and Poppa, sensing this, introduced us to our past. But Hartman, who “dreamed of living in Ghana” since college, is also interested in the country’s more recent centrality in the Pan-African movement since its independence in 1957, when the first president, Kwame Nkrumah, opened up the country to members of the African diaspora, creating a Ghana whose slogan was “Africa for Africans at home and abroad.

Daily conversations with Stella painted a dire picture of Accra, which was quite different from the city I had come to know during a four-week visit the previous summer. None of which prevented her from describing Accra as a "dream come true, for here is a city in a country that is black up and down. Hartman impeccably weaves together the history of the African Slave Trade with the precision of an academic, and the personal narrative of her journey with the lyricism of a novelist. They claimed to love Ghana but stayed at the Golden Tulip, one of Accra's five-star hotels, when they visited. John resented the privileged black visitors almost as much as did the Ghanaians, perhaps more, because he knew them better.Lose Your Mother is a radiant book that takes readers through much which feels beyond imaginative confrontation. Hartman at times comes across as a person unwilling to consider her own privilege and that the Ghanaians (and other Africans) that she meets might have their own painful pasts and current problems.

Incidental death occurs when life has no normative value, when no humans are involved, when the population is, in effect, seen as already dead. They were hollow ideals to most people, who had never committed the names to memory and who plotted their course through the city with a map patterned out of contempt for the officialdom of the state, nostalgia for the bad old days of colonialism, and the desire to name the world in their own terms. Ellen had accompanied her master and his family on a trip to Alabama, where he went to sell a parcel of horses.Investigating and writing about such matters should not have the intention of settling them or making them comfortable, but of course Hartman seeks solace, seeks a future for Black Americans in which this past has ended. My customs belonged to another country: my too-fast gait best suited to navigating the streets of Manhattan, my unfashionable German walking shoes, my unruly tufts twisted into two French braids, fuzzy and unfurling in the humid air. I've been to the British Museum, the Public Records Office in Kew, the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and to the National Archives in Accra.

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