Quotes: On Being a Slave

“My people, you unnerstand me, dey ain’ got no ivory by de door. When it ivory from de elephant stand by de door, den dat a king, a ruler, you unnerstand me. My father neither his father don’t rule nobody.””

This is a quote from Kossula, aka Cudjo Lewis, born around 1841, and sold into slavery. Kossula sailed as a captive on the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to the US from Africa, arriving in 1859. He sailed from the then kingdom of Dahomey, now Benin.

The book is Barracoon, The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” by Zora Neale Hurston, who visited Kossula in and around 1927 in Plateau, Alabama.