Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), by Saidiya Hartman

Here are links related to the author:  interview with Tavis Smiley; another review; and another review; an essay from the book.

Decades ago when I graduated with my undergraduate, I was only 12 hours from having a double major in Pan-African Studies.  It was my goal at the time to obtain a doctorate degree in Pan-African Studies or African America Studies.  I wanted to become (among many things) a scholar on the Middle Passage.  Being short-sighted on the pushes and pulls of life, my life didn’t unfold as I had planned.  However, books that address this industry of attempting to commodify human beings, particularly African people, for purposes of profit are always on my radar.  Lose Your Mother has been on my Amazon wish list for a nearly 2 years.  I picked it up from my library last week.

Hartman fuses her scholarly research on documenting one of the slave routes with her personal reconciliation and discovery for what it means to be an African America woman.  I’m a third of the way through the book and its like working through fresh grief…her’s and mine.  There are times I’ve found myself wanting to minimize her grief and comfort her broken heart at the realizations of the current impact (dispossession, alienation and anger) of an old wound that scabs over and sometimes festers (ain’t that right Langston Hughes?!) like a sore and then runs. 

The other train of thought is wondering what her views are on the current movement of “hope” we working on now.  I’m certain that 40-50 years from now a young scholar will write as perceptively as she on how this generation’s romanticism or naievete or short-sightedness or whatever-ness fail short of healing the pains of alienation, dispossession, and malaise among common folks. 

Lose Your Mother is a strong companion to Middle Passages by James T. Campbell.  Will write more later.


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Filed under Author Links, history, Library book, sociology, The Middle Passage

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