Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract.
"Part graphic novel, part memoir, "Wake" is an imaginative tour de force that tells the story of women-led slave revolts and chronicles scholar Rebecca Hall's efforts to uncover the truth about these warriors who, until now, have been left out of the historical record. Women warriors planned and led slave revolts on ships during the Middle Passage. They fought their enslavers throughout the Americas. And then they were erased from history. "Wake" tells the story of Dr. Rebecca Hall, a historian, granddaughter of slaves, and woman haunted by the legacy of slavery. The accepted history of slave revolts has always told her that enslaved women took a back seat to men in fighting for freedom. But Rebecca decided to look deeper, and her journey takes her through old court records, slave ship captains' logs, crumbling correspondence, and even the forensic evidence from the bones of enslaved women from the "African burial ground" uncovered in Manhattan. She finds women warriors everywhere. Using in-depth archival research and a measured approach to historical imagination, Rebecca constructs the likely pasts of women rebels who fought for freedom during the Middle Passage, as well as the stories of women who led slave revolts in colonial New York. We also follow Rebecca's own story as the legacy of slavery shapes her life, both during the time as an attorney and later as a historian seeking the past that haunts her. The exploration of both a personal and national legacy, "Wake" is a powerful reminder that while the past is gone, we still live in its wake." – jacket summary., "An historical and imaginative tour-de-force, WAKE brings to light for the first time the existence of enslaved black women warriors, whose stories can be traced by carefully scrutinizing historical records; and where the historical record goes silent, WAKE reconstructs the likely past of two female rebels, Adono and Alele, on the slave ship The Unity. WAKE is a graphic novel that offers invaluable insight into the struggle to survive whole as a black woman in today's America; it is a historiography that illuminates both the challenges and the necessity of uncovering the true stories of slavery; and it is an overdue reckoning with slavery in New York City where two of these armed revolts took place. It is, also, a transformative and transporting work of imaginative fiction, bringing to three-dimensional life Adono and Alele and their pasts as women warriors. In so doing, WAKE illustrates the humanity of the enslaved, the reality of their lived experiences, and the complexity of the history that has been, till now, so thoroughly erased"– Provided by publisher