LOSE YOUR MOTHER: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route
By: Saidiya Hartman
In Lose Your Mother, Saidiya Hartman traces the history of the Atlantic slave trade by recounting a journey she took along a slave route in Ghana. Following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast, she reckons with the blank slate of her own genealogy and vividly dramatizes the effects of slavery on three centuries of African and African American history.
The slave, Hartman observes, is a stranger-torn from family, home, and country. To lose your mother is to be severed from from your kin, to forget your past and to inhabit the world as an outsider. There are no known survivors of Hartman's lineage, no relatives in Ghana whom she came hoping to find. She is a stranger in search of strangers and this fact leads her to intimate engagements with the people she encounters along the way. The persons shattered and transformed by the slave trade come alive in prose that is fresh, insightful and deeply affecting. Lose Your Mother is "destined to be a landmark all its own" (Randall Kenan, author of A Visitation of Spirits).
Saidiya Hartman has taught at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently a professor at Columbia University.