The Autobiography of an African Princess

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-11-19
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Born to an African king in colonial Sierra Leone at the beginning of the twentieth century, Princess Fatima Massaquoi lived an extraordinary life that encapsulated the contradictions, upheavals, and unprecedented opportunities of her time. This critical edition of her memoirs makes her story available to readers for the first time. Beginning with her lovingly recounted memories of growing up in Liberia, it follows her to Hamburg, Germany, where she pursued an education and forged friendships, but also experienced the racism, terror, and nationalistic fervor that accompanied the Nazis' rise to power. In the face of these mounting dangers, Massaquoi traveled to the United States, where she furthered her studies, embracing her newfound freedom even as she observed deteriorating conditions in the segregated American South in the early years of the civil rights movement. Spanning continents and cultures, this narrative introduces us to a truly remarkable woman while offering a fascinating window into the complex history of the twentieth century.

Author Biography

Vivian Seton is the daughter and only child of Fatima Massaquoi. She received her Abitur from the Freie Waldorf Schule in Germany, an LL.B from the University of Liberia, and an MSc from Georgetown's School of Languages and Linguistics. She has taught French and German at Montgomery College, Catholic University, and the University of Liberia. In the 1970s and 1980s she worked as a producer, writer, and broadcaster in Liberia. Seton has worked for the Voice of America and the German Broadcasting System and publishes Lady magazine.

Konrad Tuchscherer is a specialist in the history of written traditions in Africa, including the Vai script of Liberia, and his work has appeared in major journals and featured in reports by the BBC and NPR. He is the past recipient of Marshall and Fulbright awards. Tuchscherer contributed to the Smithsonian's groundbreaking exhibition on African scripts and wrote a chapter in the resulting book, Inscribing Meaning (2007). He is Associate Professor of History and Director of Africana Studies at St. John's University in New York, USA.

Arthur Abraham is one of the foremost historians of Sierra Leone who has researched/taught at universities in Europe, Africa and the United States. He has a lot of publications to his credit and is the leading authority on the Mende. He has served as a consultant for governments, film-makers and developers. His most famous work is Mende Government and Politics under Colonial Rule: A Historical Study of Political Change in Sierra Leone, 1890-1937 (1978). Currently Professor of History and Eminent Scholar at Virginia State University, USA, he is also the chairman of the Department of History and Philosophy.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Hans Massaquoi
1. My Birthplace, Ethnicity and Parents
2. My Birth and Customs about Childbirth in the Gallinas Country
3. Life and Customs in the Bali (Bari) country of Sierra Leone.
4. Life and Customs in the Vai Country of Liberia
5. On Beauty and Aspects of Vai Social Organization
6. Life in Monrovia
7. School Begins at Julie C. Emery Hall
8. More on Life at the Mission School
9. I Bid Farewell to Liberia
10. I Arrive in Germany
11. I Meet a Nazi … and More on the Work of the Consulate-General
12. Hard Times, 'isms' and School
13. Christmas and School Trips in Germany
14. The 'Invincibles' and My Departure for Switzerland
15. L'Ecole Superieure et Secondaire (Switzerland) and Rough Times on My Return to Germany
16. Departure for America
17. Welcome for a 'Savage' at Lane College and Death of Father
18. The Fisk University Saga
19. Goodbye Friends – You Shall Be Hearing from Me

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