African American News and Genealogy

This site was developed to provide you with news that relates to African American Genealogy, History and News. Please feel free to forward this link to others. I hope you enjoy this site and good luck with your research! Cheers, Kenyatta D. Berry Managing Director

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mississippi in Africa: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia Today

PRAISE FOR MISSISSIPPI IN AFRICA "Huffman is a patient, confident storyteller who lingers over the details until they come to life." - The Boston Globe "Mississippi in Africa emerges from its deceptively simple outer garb as a powerful, unsettling and deeply engaging examination of America's past and its position in the contemporary world." - The Los Angeles Times "An amazing tale...the book is a page-turner, illuminating a history little discussed in the United States and deserving of our attention." - Newsday (New York) MISSISSIPPI IN AFRICA: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia Today by Alan Huffman When Mississippi journalist and bestselling author Alan Huffman received a piano that had survived a slave uprising and fire at the Prospect Hill Plantation, his curiosity about what really happened all those years ago led him to uncover a captivating story that continues to resonate in the present. MISSISSIPPI IN AFRICA: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia Today, now in paperback from Gotham Books, explores an extraordinary and almost forgotten event of 19th century Antebellum South that has played a significant role in shaping the dire circumstances of modern-day West Africa. Prospect Hill Plantation founder Isaac Ross died in 1836 and stipulated in his will that the plantation should be liquidated and the proceeds used to pay for his slaves' passage to the newly established African colony of Liberia. Though Ross' will was contested by many of his shocked heirs and quickly became the subject of a long court battle, by 1849 it was finally honored and approximately 200 of his former slaves emigrated, taking on new roles as Americo-Liberians. In Liberia, these new settlers not only faced unrelenting hardship, but also caused it for the natives, who quickly became their enemies. The settlers created a new settlement in the image of Southern U.S. culture, building grand mansions in the same Greek revival style, wearing formal clothing and speaking in a stilted language. They saw the native Africans through the eyes of the masters they had just fled and were shortly taking full advantage of them. The settlers subjugated the underclass of native tribes, forcing them to work on their plantations and in their houses. Over the years, the conflict between the Americo-Liberians- the emigrated freed slaves as well as their descendents-and the natives would intensify greatly rages in Liberia today. To pursue the details of this buried episode, Huffman deciphers century-and-a-half-old records and interviews descendents of both the slaves and their owners in both Mississippi and Liberia. Untangling many rumors, Huffman vividly portrays the real story behind the slaves of Prospect Hill and the history of the colonization effort in Liberia. He recaptures the essence of our nation's legacy of slavery and, while doing so, sheds light on the volatile situation in Liberia today. With over 150,000 deaths and close to a million people forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries during the past decade, all attributed to the Liberian civil war, MISSISSIPPI IN AFRICA makes an undeniable assertion that "the conflicts of the old American South not only still matter, they are matters of life and death." ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Huffman is the author of the photoessay book Ten Point: Deer Camp in Mississippi Delta, and has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Smithsonian, Outside, The Oxford American, The Clarion Ledger, and National Wildlife. He lives in Bolton, Mississippi. Gotham Books is member of Penguin Group (USA) , one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Penguin Press, Philomel, Riverhead Books, and Viking, among others. Penguin group is owned by Pearson plc, the international media group.


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