Zora Neale Hurston’s “Barracoon”

Listen 49:01

Guests: Deborah Plant, Autumn Womack, Johnnie Hobbes Jr.

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” by Zora Neale Hurston was considered too incendiary a work to publish when it was written in the 1930s. It was based on the interviews Hurston conducted with Oluale Kossula (or Cudjo Lewis) the last survivor of the last slave ship. Now after all this time, the book has been published for mass circulation. Today, Marty is joined by the book’s editor, DEBORAH PLANT, an African American literature scholar, and AUTUMN WOMACK, assistant professor of African American Studies and English at Princeton University to discuss the book’s history, Kossula’s story, and what we can learn from the words of America’s last known survivor of the transatlantic slave trade. Philadelphia-based actor JOHNNIE HOBBS, Jr. also reads poignant moments from the book.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal