Mahommah G. Baquaqua, 1854


Biography of Mahommah G. Baquaqua . . . written and revised from his own words, by Samuel Moore (Detroit, 1854), title page. (Copy in Library of Congress)


Engraved portrait taken from a daguerrotype that appears on title page of Baquaqua's autobiography shown here. Baquaqua was born in 1824 or 1830 in northern part of present-day Benin, duped into slavery when in his late teens or early twenties, and from the vicinity of Quidah (Dahomey) was shipped to Brazil in the mid-1840s. He ultimately became free by jumping ship in New York City in 1847, travelled with Baptists to Haiti, and returned to the U.S. in late 1849. Robin Law and Paul Lovejoy, eds., have prepared an annotated edition of the 1854 publication which includes additional materials written by Baquaqua (The Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua: His Passage from Slavery to Freedom in Africa and America (Princeton, Markus Wiener, 2001). Another portrait of what appears to be a younger Baquaqua is published as a lithograph in A.T. Foss and E. Mathews, Facts for Baptist Churches (Utica, 1850), facing title page (copy located in Library Company of Philadelphia).

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