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By the rivers of water : a nineteenth-century Atlantic odyssey

Author: Erskine Clarke
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2013.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Presents a portrait of an early nineteenth-century missionary couple who worked to overturn slavery in Liberia, where conflicts between settlers and natives forced them to return to a war-stricken U.S. and make a tragic decision.
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: J Leighton Wilson; Jane Bayard Wilson
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Erskine Clarke
ISBN: 9780465002726 0465002722
OCLC Number: 826294076
Description: xxii, 450 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Contents: Part I, Starting places. A slave's world --
Many mansions --
A Black River home --
A place seen from afar. Part II, Journey to a West African cape. Testing the waters --
Fair hope among the Grebo --
Beneath an African sky --
Sorrows and conflicts --
The bitter cost of freedom --
Exploring strange worlds --
The conversion of William Davis (Mworeh Mah) --
Rose-tinted glasses --
"The liberty of choosing for themselves." Part III, Life among the Mpongwe. Toko and the waterwitch --
A sophisticated, hospitable, and heathen people --
Rainforest lessons --
The French : "the most dishonest and shameless people" --
Home visit --
"He worships with sincere devotion the customs of his ancestors." Part IV, Homeward journey. An unsought and unexpected appointment --
A patriot's choice --
Civil war --
Home ground --
Distant voices.
Responsibility: Erskine Clarke.

Abstract:

Presents a portrait of an early nineteenth-century missionary couple who worked to overturn slavery in Liberia, where conflicts between settlers and natives forced them to return to a war-stricken U.S. and make a tragic decision.

"In early November 1834, an aristocratic young couple from Savannah and South Carolina sailed from New York and began a strange seventeen year odyssey in West Africa. Leighton and Jane Wilson sailed along what was for them an exotic coastline, visited cities and villages, and sometimes ventured up great rivers and followed ancient paths. Along the way they encountered not only many diverse landscapes, peoples, and cultures, but also many individuals on their own odysseys--including Paul Sansay, a former slave from Savannah; Mworeh Mah, a brilliant Grebo leader, and his beautiful daughter, Mary Clealand, at Cape Palmas; and King Glass and the wise and humorous Toko in Gabon. Leighton and Jane Wilson had freed their inherited slaves, and were to become the most influential American missionaries in West Africa during the first half of the nineteenth century. While Jane established schools, Leighton fought the international slave trade and the imperialism of colonization. He translated portions of the Bible into Grebo and Mpongwe and thereby helped to lay the foundation for the emergence of an indigenous African Christianity. The Wilsons returned to New York because of ill health, but their odyssey was not over. Living in the booming American metropolis, the Wilsons welcomed into their handsome home visitors from around the world as they worked for the rapidly expanding Protestant mission movement. As the Civil War approached, however, they heard the siren voice of their Southern homeland calling from deep within their memories. They sought to resist its seductions, but the call became more insistent and, finally, irresistible. In spite of their years of fighting slavery, they gave themselves to a history and a people committed to maintaining slavery and its deep oppression--both an act of deep love for a place and people, and the desertion of a moral vision. A sweeping transatlantic story of good intentions and bitter consequences, By the Rivers of Water reveals two distant worlds linked by deep faiths." -- Publisher's description.

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America "If Seamus Heaney digs with his pen, Erskine Clarke casts his like an expert fly fisherman. In this book, By the Rivers of Water, chapters end with sharp forebodings of what lurks around the Read more...

 
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