Shadows of the Slave Past
Memory, Heritage, and Slavery
Routledge – 2014 – 250 pages
This book is a transnational and comparative study examining the processes that led to the memorialization of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in the second half of the twentieth century. Araujo explores numerous kinds of initiatives such as monuments, memorials, and museums as well as heritage sites. By connecting different projects developed in various countries and urban centers in Europe, Africa, and the Americas during the last two decades, the author retraces the various stages of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery including the enslavement in Africa, the process of confinement in slave depots, the Middle Passage, the arrival in the Americas, the daily life of forced labor, until the fight for emancipation and the abolition of slavery. Relying on a multitude of examples from the United States, Brazil, and the Caribbean, the book discusses how different groups and social actors have competed to occupy the public arena by associating the slave past with other human atrocities, especially the Holocaust. Araujo explores how the populations of African descent, white elites, and national governments, very often carrying particular political agendas, appropriated the slave past by fighting to make it visible or conceal it in the public space of former slave societies.
Introduction 1. Tales of Enslavement 2. Sites of Deportation 3. Places of Disembarkment 4. Invisible Sites of Slave Labor 5. Great Emancipators 6. Iconic Rebels. Conclusion.
Ana Lucia Araujo is a historian and Professor of History at Howard University. She is the author or editor of six books, including Public Memory of Slavery: Victims and Perpetrators in the South Atlantic and Politics of Memory: Making Slavery Visible in the Public Space.