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I wouldn't have given Ms Hirsch's epiphany a second thought had I not accidentally just last night crossed the path of another article published by one of those POP-UP wilderness websites, popularesistance.org. WHY THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE LAST SLAVE IN AMERICA HAS FINALLY COME TO LIGHT. I paused to consider her contribution to the rash of "recovered" memories which have surfaced in the public domain only, to my mind, because of the extraordinary figure Mr Trump cuts from these reveries of normative "glory". Ms Hirsch quotes Hurston's celebrated editor without any indication of irony:
"We stand as living monuments," wrote the historian Len Garrison, of the black British descendants of slavery and empire. "For those who are afraid of who they must be, are but slaves in a trance." For Garrison, the idea of the African diaspora as "living monuments" was to some extent figurative. But a new book makes it literal. Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave presents the remarkable [!] fact that there were people [!] alive [!] in America who had experienced abduction [!] from Africa - being examined, displayed, traded and enslaved - well into the 20th century.
Inexplicably this article digresses into a lamentation on Hurston's obscurity at the time of her death RATHER THAN an enquiry into the voluminous collections of the WPA, which "literally" employed Hurston among thousands others to systematically document US American "folklore" and US industrial policy for edification of the public domain heretofore unknown. One had only to present oneself to the LOC --public libraries or the occasional traveling exhibition-- to review hard copy. The irony is, the first prerequisite of excellence is to give a damn. Second, the first burst of conversions to digital format online --20-25 years ago-- has slowed to a trickle through the innerboob's partially waxed filters for "business needs." I have seen some collections taken offline, some barricaded by RFP, others like Donnan's research adopted by private universities.
What remains are bits of trivia eroding rumors of unknown origins and authority to speak The Revealed Truth. Which is a "Windrush" cycle epitomizes black history and the world's relation to it.
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