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New report revealed last survivor of transatlantic slave trade

A research by a Newcastle University academic has revealed that Redoshi, popularly known as Sally Smith, an African-born, was the last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade.

According to Newcastle University Press Office, the thorough research was done by Dr Hannah Durkin, which pieces together the life of the last slave survivor.

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The research follows after the life of Redoshi from her kidnapping in West Africa and the following enslavement in Alabama to her freedom.

The academic work also showed the close association of Redoshi to the beginning of activism in US Civil Rights Movement.

It should be recalled that the last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade was previously known to be Oluale Kossala but Dr Durkin’s research showed that Redoshi died in 1937, two years after Kossola died in 1935.

It was reported that Dr Durkin first awareness of Redoshi was when in carrying out other research, references to the slave trade survivor were spotted.

Dr Durkin said: “These materials add hugely to our understanding of transatlantic slavery as a lived experience,” says Dr Durkin, Lecturer in Literature and Film in Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics.

“Now we know that its horrors endured in living memory until 1937, and they allow us to meaningfully consider slavery from a West African woman’s perspective for the first time.

“The only other documents we have of African women’s experiences of transatlantic slavery are fleeting allusions that were typically recorded by slave owners, so it is incredible to be able to tell Redoshi’s life story.

“Rarely do we get to hear the story of an individual woman, let alone see what she looked like, how she dressed and where she lived.”

The research by the academic that showed Redoshi as one of the 116 West African children and young people taken to the US was published in the journal titled Slavery and Abolition.

Redoshi was in slavery for about five years as she worked in both the house and fields. Her husband, who was known as William or Billy, was kidnapped with her and later died around 1910s or 1920s.

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She was bought by Washington Smith, who is also the owner of the Bogue Chitto plantation in Dallas County, Alabama and the founder of the Bank of Selma.

The survivor, however continued to live with her daughter after she gained freedom on the plantation where she served as a slave.

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