“Green moves effortlessly back and forth over the literature of the Atlantic World and Middle Passage narratives. Scholars interested in social movements and slavery, as well as those in African Diaspora studies, English, history, and women’s and gender studies, will be interested in this highly interdisciplinary book.” —T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, author of Bricktop’s Paris: African American Women in Paris Between the Two World Wars
“Reimagining the Middle Passage coheres resistance, conversion, and the function of water around a series of ideologies—religious references, African (Kongo) cosmologies, collective memories, and family stories. It draws on a rich archive and a treasure trove of primary and secondary sources.” —Helena Woodard, University of Texas at Austin
In Reimagining the Middle Passage: Black Resistance in Literature, Television, and Song, Tara T. Green turns to twentieth- and recent twenty-first-century representations of the Middle Passage created by African-descended artists and writers. Examining how these writers and performers revised and reimagined the Middle Passage in their work, Green argues that they recognized it as a historical and geographical site of trauma as well as a symbol for a place of understanding and change. Their work represents the legacy African captives left for resisting “social death” (the idea that Black life does not matter), but it also highlights strong resistance to that social death (the idea that it does matter).
Tara T. Green is Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at University of North Carolina Greensboro.
Part 1: In the Middle Passage
Introduction Death and Rebirth in the Middle Passage
Chapter 1 Understanding the Middle Passage
Chapter 2 Alex Haley’s Roots of Resistance
Chapter 3 Middle Passage Legacies in Charles Johnson and HBO’s Treme
Chapter 4 Calling Marie Laveau
Part 2: Legacies of the Middle Passage
Chapter 5 Deadly Waters and Southern Blues
Chapter 6 Katrina Sings the Blues in Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones
Chapter 7 Telling of Return and Rebirth in Marshall’s Praisesong for the Widow
Conclusion Acts of Redemption through Forgiveness: Remembering Charleston in the Post–Middle Passage Era