The author of the book, “No More, No More: Slavery and Cultural Resistance in Havana and New Orleans”, is Walker E. Daniel. The book narrates about the slavery subjected to the African-Americans in the cities of Havana and New Orleans during the 19th century. The main story is about the strong cultural resistance that the Africans adapted to resist oppression in Havana and New Orleans. They formed and upheld their own way of life, repelling the autocratic authority of the time. It is one of the works of literature that has contributed to the history of slavery that the blacks endured in a difficult spell characterized by high order prejudice.
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This book is a captivating book to read. It employs the use of African genre to protract a powerful message that sustained the Africans movement. The author narrates about the celebrations in Havana where Africans developed new activities and beliefs that identified them to the world. They did that in concerted efforts to stand tall against the brutal treatment. The author employs a wide range of approaches to reveal the history of slavery in the 19th century, a time when only basic traditional sources of passing on information existed.
The book expresses the various forms of cultural resistance. The innumerable forms of slave cultural expression are a tale of an African context. An example of the power of cultural expression in the fight against prejudice is a narration of how the African-Americans used festivities to counter the oppressive nature of public space usage by the authorities. The slaves in Havana and New Orleans also adapted to using language of African cultural expression to denounce the oppression leveled against them.
The mighty of cultural manifestation also helped to forge harmony among the slaves. The distinctive meaning attached to festivals in an African set up acted as a propulsion of the spirit of denouncing slavery. Visual language during celebrations was also an indispensable aspect of cultural expression that kept their determination.
There are other scenes in the book which reveal the diverse power of African-American music and expressive culture. The author draws comparisons of the El Daa De Reyes celebrations to weekly slave festivities that took place in New Orleans at the Congo square. This illustrates on how cultural expression was central for use as a tool for struggle. El Daa celebrations, also dubbed the “Day of the Kings”, were part of an appreciation for the twelfth day in the aftermath of Christmas festival. It was a day that free people adjoined in thoroughfares with the oppressed in Havana. The celebration was in the form of a fashionable style. However, in New Orleans, at the Congo square, which was functioning as a leisure park for the enslaved, the slave society diluted the significance of the free people celebrations by holding African rituals, songs and dance parallel to the event.
The prejudice factor in the use of public spaces triggered an outcry between the free people and the slaves’ class. The oppressed resorted to resistance through strong cultural expression, leading open protests to downgrade public celebrations that took the stage in such spaces.
When traditional drumming, song, and dance dominated New Orleans’s Congo square, it illustrated a stunning excerpt on the power of Africa-American music and expressive culture. The enslaved gathered in this park in an incredible show of spirit to resist oppression. Dances, songs, and rituals were a form of perpetuating the message for slave people. The songs and dances that the slaves of Havana and New Orleans performed replicated the African way of life. Slaves developed a strong identity and commonality. The slaves interacted slowly through expressive culture, social and spiritual values, despite not belonging to any leading African tribe. They developed a bond to react to their circumstances in America. The bond led to the formation of a nucleus that established a social movement for fighting oppression.
In most aspects of the book, “No More, No More: Cultural resistance and Slavery in New Orleans and Havana”, the theme of the influence of the diverse power of African American Music and Expressive Culture in Havana and New Orleans during the period of slavery is particularly evident. The slaves drew their unit and resistance spirit from African culture. It contributed to the bonding of the enslaved. Through interaction in cultural expressions, they forged a common society that articulated for their predicament. African culture and music empowered them and kept the essence of the resistance movement. Walker’s illusion of the strong identity to culture adopted by Africans in Havana and New Orleans is another example of the nature of the strength of expressive culture. The Africans persisted with their distinct culture amid the oppression by the free.
Daniel Walker’s book is an example of top literature works on slavery that have ever been written in the world. The author derives the book from creditable research through a strategy of careful analysis and review of subordinate literature. He poses a new reckoning of how cultural expression was a cardinal tool in voicing concerns by those who were facing oppression. His choice of Havana and New Orleans as the case studies for comparative study on urban slavery is unblemished. The cities were at the focal point of economies that relied on slavery.
The drawbacks of Walker’s book are his assumptions. He assumed that there was uniformity of culture and folk traditions between Havana and New Orleans slave populations. This could have been a diminutive estimate as the two cities grew far apart and the slave population exhibited different traits. There was little first-hand data available on Congo square, which could have given Walker a biased deduction. The book’s propositions hold stout in the case of Havana, unlike in New Orleans.
All in all, it is an excellent reading especially for scholars with interest in urban oppression, the African Diaspora community, racial prejudice and the slave history of Havana and New Orleans. Walker’s methodology of listing various assumptions to draw a comparison between slaves in Havana and those in New Orleans casts some reservations in his conclusion. It could have been wiser of him to concentrate on clear aspects rather than on establishing a comparison. He ought to have avoided making unrealistic assumptions. Moreover, the book deserves credit as one of the best literature works on African urban slavery in America and will be useful to scholars of interest on such a theme.
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