Abina and the Important Men (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780190238742

Trevor R. Getz; Liz Clarke
240 ページ
182 x 255 mm

Winner of the James Harvey Robinson Prize from the American Historical Association, and widely acclaimed by educators and students, Abina and the Important Men, 2e is a compelling and powerfully illustrated "graphic history" based on an 1876 court transcript of a West African woman named Abina, who was wrongfully enslaved and took her case to court. The book is a microhistory that does much more than simply depict an event in the past; it uses the power of illustration to convey important themes in world history and to reveal the processes by which history is made. The story of Abina Mansah-a woman "without history" who was wrongfully enslaved, escaped to British-controlled territory, and then took her former master to court-takes place in the complex world of the Gold Coast at the onset of late nineteenth-century colonialism. Slavery becomes a contested ground, as cultural practices collide with an emerging wage economy and British officials turn a blind eye to the presence of underpaid domestic workers in the households of African merchants. The main scenes of the story take place in the courtroom, where Abina strives to convince a series of "important men"-a British judge, two Euro-African attorneys, a wealthy African country "gentleman," and a jury of local leaders-that her rights matter. "Am I free?" Abina inquires. Throughout both the court case and the flashbacks that dramatically depict her life in servitude, these men strive to "silence" Abina and to impose their own understandings and meanings upon her. The story seems to conclude with the short-term success of the "important men," as Abina loses her case. But it doesn't end there: Abina is eventually redeemed. Her testimony is uncovered in the dusty archives by Trevor Getz and, through Liz Clarke's illustrations, becomes a graphic history read by people around the world. In this way, the reader takes an active part in the story along with the illustrator, the author, and Abina herself. Following the graphic history in Part I, Parts II-V provide detailed historical context for the story, a reading guide that reconstructs and deconstructs the methods used to interpret the story, and strategies for using Abina in various classroom settings. This edition adds crucial value to Abina's story and the reader's experience. These include: - new, additional testimony uncovered in the National Archives of Ghana - a gender-rich section in Part V that explores the Abina's life and narrative as a woman, focusing on such important themes as the relationship between slavery and gender in pre-colonial Akan society, the role of marriage in Abina's experience and motives, colonial paternalism, and the meaning of cloth and beads in her story. - a forum on the question of whether Abina was a slave with contributions by three senior scholars working from different perspectives: Sandra Greene, Antoinette Burton, and Kwasi Konadu .


Maps and Figures xiii
Letter to the Reader xv
Acknowledgments xvii
A Note on Ghanaian Ideograms xix
Chapter 1: Abina Awakes 3
Chapter 2: The Breaking of the Beads 15
Chapter 3: The Truth 25
Chapter 4: Life at Quamina Eddoo's House 39
Chapter 5: He Did Nothing Good for Me 53
Chapter 6: Abina Silenced, Abina Redeemed 65
The Testimony of Abina Mansah ?
The Testimony of Eccoah Coom ?
The Testimony of Adjuah N'Yamiweh ?
The Testimony of Yowahwah ?
The Gold Coast, ca. 1876 99
The British Civilizing Mission 104
The Civilizing Mission in the Gold Coast 105
Slavery in the Gold Coast 106
The Atlantic Slave Trade and Abolition 107
Abina Mansah and the Important Men 109
Whose Story Is This? 116
Is This a "True" Story? 122
Is This "Authentic" History? 130
Gendering Abina 141
Was Abina a slave? 144
Sandra Greene, "Who was Abina Mansah?" 145
Kwasi Konadu, "Was Abina Mansah a 'Slave'?" 146
Antoinette Burton, "Sex and Slavery in the 1876 Case of Abina Mansah" 147
Reading Questions 149
Introductory Questions, for Students at All Levels 149
Questions for Students at the University or College Level 150
Additional Questions for Advanced Undergraduate and Graduate Students 152
Timeline 155
Further Resources 159
Abina Mansah 159
Slavery and Abolition on the Gold Coast 160
About Colonialism and the Gold Coast 161
General Histories of Africa 162
Imperialism and Colonialism 162
Gender and African History 163
Web Resources 164
Preliminary Sketches 165
Glossary 175


Trevor R. Getz is Professor of African and World History at San Francisco State University and the award-winning author or co-author of nine books and numerous articles. These include Empires and Colonies: A Global History (Oxford 2015), Slavery and Reform in West Africa (Ohio 2004), and African Histories: New Sources and New Techniques for Studying African Pasts (Pearson 2010). A recognized master-teacher, he holds the James Harvey Robinson Prize from the American Historical Association for the first edition of Abina and the Important Men (Oxford 2012). He is currently working on a primer for constructing African history courses and an edited volume on the history and legacy of slavery in Ghana.; Liz Clarke is an illustrator based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her artwork has appeared in magazines, games and books, including Mendoza the Jew by Ronald Schechter (Oxford University Press 2014) and Inhuman Traffick by Rafe Blaufarb (Oxford University Press 2015).