Mississippi in Africa
The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia
Best Books of 2004, San Francisco Chronicle
Narrated by Andrew L. Barnes
Approximately 13 hours
Book published by University Press of Mississippi
When wealthy Mississippi cotton planter Isaac Ross died in 1836, his will decreed that his plantation, Prospect Hill, should be liquidated and the proceeds from the sale be used to pay for his slaves' passage to the newly established colony of Liberia in West Africa. Ross's heirs contested the will for more than a decade, prompting a deadly revolt in which a group of slaves burned Ross's mansion to the ground. But the will was ultimately upheld. The slaves then emigrated to their new home, where they battled the local tribes and built vast plantations with Greek Revival-style mansions in a region the Americo-Africans renamed "Mississippi in Africa." In the late twentieth century, the seeds of resentment sown over a century of cultural conflict between the colonists and tribal people exploded, begetting two decades of civil war that ended in 2003. Tracking down Prospect Hill's living descendants, deciphering a history ruled by rumor, and delivering the complete chronicle in riveting prose, journalist Alan Huffman has rescued a lost chapter of American history whose aftermath is far from over.
Alan Huffman is the author of Sultana: Surviving the Civil War, Prison, and the Worst Maritime Disaster in American History. He has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Smithsonian, Oxford American,and National Wildlife.
“A superior historical and journalistic investigation, tracing the lives and legacies of freed slaves in America and Africa ... Thought-provoking and expertly told.”
“A great story. In the journey from Mississippi to Liberia, Huffman has uncovered a fascinating tale that's spent too long in obscurity.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Alan Huffman is a brilliant storyteller who pulls off a difficult story with breathtaking skill, taking us from the antebellum South to war-torn Liberia. An absolute pleasure to read.”
—Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm
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