Randy J. Sparks
Where the Negroes Are Masters
An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade
Harvard University Press 2014
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in African StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network January 1, 2015 Dan Kilbride
A kind of biography of the town of Annamaboe, a major slave trading port on Africa’s Gold Coast, Randy J. Sparks‘s book Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade (Harvard University Press, 2014) focuses on the African women and men who were the crucial middle figures in the African slave trade, the largest forced migration of people in human history. The millions of people caught up in the trade who ended up toiling on plantations in the New World (or who never made it) were victims, but the figures Sparks details were hardly that. Instead, they skillfully parlayed their superior numbers, knowledge of local conditions, and control of a crucial commodity — people — to establish themselves as major players in this bloody commerce.