Abina and the Important Men: A graphic History Essay Example

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 635
  • Published: 07 November 2020
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Getz and Liz Clarke. Abina and the Important Men included four parts. The four parts included the graphic history, transcript, historical context, and engaging Abina. The author and illustrator explain Abina’s story. This book review will go over what the graphic history was. Secondly, we will go over the transcript in Abina trail case. Thirdly, defining the civilization mission. Lastly, reviewing how gender influences Abina’s trail. 

Abina and the important men in part one “the graphic history” is about a court case that took place in 1876 in the town of cape coast in the British gold coast colony of west Africa. Abina Mansah versus her master Quamina Eddo. Abina Mansah took her master to court for being enslaved. Abina Mansah explains her experience being enslaved by her master. Unfortunately, Mr. Melton found Quamina Eddoo not guilty on all charges. 

In part two, The Transcript, there were parts in the trail that Abina Mansah misunderstands, is unable to answer, or contradicts the questions asked by Melton, Davis, and Brew.  The moments where Abina misunderstands, is unable to answer, or contradicts the questions asked is when explaining what a slave was and if she knew the difference between a slave and a free person. Abina explains that she was a slave because she did jobs without being paid for them. Abina heard that “when a man worked in any way, he was paid, but I worked, and I was not paid.

So, I thought I was really purchased” (page 93). Brew argues that being fed and clothed were the items she was paid with in return for the jobs that she did. Abina contradicted herself when asked about the kind of work she had to do. Abina explained that some of the jobs she had to do were demanded by Eccoah and other jobs she did on her own free will. These moments were important to hearing Abina perspective because there were so many different ideas on what slavery was.

Abina knew she was sold because of the breaking of her beads it meant that she was no longer a part of that family group that she was being sold to a different family. Abina assumed that the court would understand the meaning of the beads. Some believed that if you were a slave that you were initially bought or traded and that slaves were beaten by their owners.  Another identification of being a slave is being beaten by your owner, which Abina was not beaten badly but was corrected if she did something wrong. 

Civilizing mission was intended to convince the lower classes to support Britain’s values. “This “civilization” included Christian evangelism, a belief in free trade and free labor rather than slavery, and support for democratic ideals” (page 123). Britain believed that they were more civilized than others. One way we see the civilization mission is the in-Gold Coast. The British established new rules in the Gold Coast. The new rules included “British style housing, straight roads, the new decision-making bodies, and the rules about what behavior was acceptable in the city” (page 124). 

To “gender” Abina’s story, Laura Mitchell states three aspects that gender played a role in. “First, gender was related to the condition of enslavement in the Gold Coast. Second, gender was present in the colonial courtroom through British attitudes of paternalism. Third, gender was at the heart of Abina’s motives in bringing her case to court, as she sought to navigate a route from shame to respectability through the institution of marriage” (page 165).  In the Gold Coast female slaves were more common. 

Lastly, by turning Abina’s testimony into a graphic history, it helped me picture out the scene and gave me an idea of what the trail, clothes, and people looked like. I believe that by making this into a graphic history it helps visual learners understand the concept of this book. The author and illustrator voiced Abina’s story. Even though we were not there when the court trial took place, I believe that the author and illustrator didn’t disregard Abina’s story. Instead they shared all sides of the court trial.