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In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical legacy in the Atlantic World

In the Shadow of Slavery is masterful scholarship that debunks the simple-minded notion that enslaved Africans came to America without skills or knowledge. Authors Judith Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff draw on archaeological records, oral histories, and the accounts of slave ship captains to show how slaves' food plots became the incubators of African survival in the Americas. Along they way, we also learn about the foods slaves planted for their own nourishment. Many familiar foods―millet, sorghum, coffee, okra, watermelon, and the “Asian” long bean, for example―are native to Africa, while commercial products such as Coca Cola, Worcestershire Sauce, and Palmolive Soap rely on African plants that were brought to the Americas on slave ships as provisions, medicines, cordage, and bedding.


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