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A woman who believed to be the last living African-born survivor of the transatlantic slave trade has been identified and had her story documented by a UK researcher.
A woman's life called Redoshi, who was kidnapped as a girl in West Africa and slaves in Alabama, was recently depicted in a research contribution by Hannah Durkin, a lecturer at Newcastle University, who encountered the woman's story during other studies.
"What makes Redoshi & # 39; s story unique to our greater understanding of the slave trade is that her is the most complete story we have (one) a female Middle Passage survivor," Durkin wrote in a mail to the United States TODAY.
"So far, historians have been able to uncover almost no personal accounts for Middle Passage registered by women, and the few accounts that exist are all incredibly short."
Durkin believes that Redoshi was born about 1848 in what is today the land of the benin In 1860, Redoshi, who was 12 at the time, was among 116 young people and children abducted and taken to the United States at Clotilda, the last slave ship to arrive in the country.
Redoshi was on the ship. forced to become a child's brother, a discovery that Durkin called "horrible" and said "really highlights the abuses she endured."
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Washington Smith, who owned a plantation in Dallas County, Alabama, and also was a founder of the Bank of Selma, bought Redoshi who got Finally, the name Sally Smith, Durkins research found.
Redoshi became slaves for five years on the plantation and worked in both house and field. After emancipation she continued to live on the plantation with her daughter, Durkin found.
Her husband, an African born man known as William or Billy, died in the late 1910s or 1920s.
Redoshi lived until 1937, according to Durkin. It is two years later than the man previously believed to be the last living survivor of the slave trade – Oluale Kossola, also known as Cudjo Lewis, who was also brought to the US on Clotilda.
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In his study, Durkin confused Redoshi's life through a variety of sources. They include a film she appeared in, a 1932 interview with Montgomery Advertiser (now part of the US TODAY Network) and a memoir of civilian activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, a leader in Selma for Montgomery marches, who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr.
Durkin said seeing pictures of Redoshi was "a great surprise." It is believed to be the only known recording of a female survivor in the Middle Passage that has been identified.
"We can actually see how she looked and then really started to get a sense of who she was," wrote Durkin to the United States today.
In Boynton Robinson's memoir, Durkin also learned about Redoshi's fate as a child's brother while at Clotilda, and the civil rights activist told of many horrors confronted by Redoshi. The memoir also told of the strong contrast between Redoshi's life in West Africa and the United States, Durkin said.
However, Durkin noted a huge sense of pride and resistance she found in Redoshi throughout her research.
"She worked hard to preserve her language and spiritual beliefs despite the fact that no one has anyone to share them. Despite the violent attacks she endured, and her decades of separation from her homeland, she managed to hold on to aspects of its West African identity, "Durkin added. 19659005] Durkin's research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Slavery and Abolition, but she acknowledged its limitations.
"Unfortunately, the surviving movie and text edits of Redoshi's life
are fragmentary, often contradictory, and therefore often claim more questions than they answer," Durkin writes in the article.
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But the work stands as a starting point for understanding the lives of women who survived slavery and were forced to adapt to life in the United States, she said.
"Unfortunately, we have not yet begun to count on the injustices of transatlantic slavery and its scholarships," Durkin wrote to the United States today.
"The story of Redoshi & # 39; is a reminder that transatlantic slavery is part of our recent history. And hopefully, it finally allows us to regain or at least reflect on the history of Redoshi and the countless women as her. "
Follow USA TODAYs Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
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