Abina and the Important Men

1489 Words Mar 25th, 2014 6 Pages
Abina and the Important Men
Abina and the Important Men: a Graphical History was written by Trevor R. Getz and Liz Clarke. The story of Abina Mansah is somewhat an inspiring graphical history based on an 1876 court transcript. Abina, a woman of West Africa, was wrongfully enslaved and as a consequence, she took her former master, Quamina Eddoo, to court. The overall setting took place on the Gold Coast during the 19th century. The main scenes take place in the court room, which is filled with many “important men.” The men included a British judge, two Euro African attorneys, countrymen, and an entire jury of wealthy, high class local town leaders. This book is broken down into several parts; the graphical history, transcript, historical
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(Chapter 1, page 10)
Davis agreed to present Abina’s case to a magistrate, but the only problem was that Quamina Eddoo was an important man who grew palm oil. Davis reminded Abina that even though all were free, Eddoo was an important man and the British didn’t like to alienate important men. Following, the magistrate, William Melton, agreed to hear the case and sent at Quamina Eddoo on the charge of slavery. The trial started and Abina was questioned as to why she believed she was a slave. Abina responded saying, “They held me down, and cut my beads, and I was told that I was to be their amperley-their slave.” (Chapter 2, page 24) Throughout the court case and Abina’s flashback to the court, the men of the court strived to somehow imposed their own meanings and understandings of slavery upon Abina and silence her.
As mentioned earlier, Abina wanted to punish her master, Eddoo for wrongly enslaving her. Abina wasn’t as educated as the important men hearing her case, but she truly believed she was a slave. She expressed herself in her own language which wasn’t clearly understood by the important men of the court. Because she lacked education causing her to contradict, become confused or inaccurately answer the questions, Eddoo’s lawyer and the men began to create a difference between being a slave and acting upon free will like a slave. The magistrate, Mr. Melton, asked Abina if during her

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