Common Is Creating A Series Based On Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon’

December 1, 2018  |  

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Music is on the backburner for now as rapper Common delves deeper into his television career.

Common’s Freedom Road Productions company and Lionsgate TV have collaborated to bring a Zora Neale Hurston book to our televisions. Barracoon, a manuscript that had been unpublished and sitting in Howard University’s library for over 50 years until May 2018, will be turned into a limited series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Barracoon is based on an interview Hurston did with a former slave who was the last known survivor of The Middle Passage, Cudjo Lewis, born Oluale Kossola. During their talk, Lewis spoke about his experience as a slave and how Reconstruction and the Civil War affected his life after slavery.

Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston

Source: Zora Neale Hurston / Getty

Hurston tried to publish Barracoon in 1931 but no one would publish it due to its controversial nature, Vulture reports. In the foreword of the book written by Alice Walker she wrote: “Who would want to know, via a blow-by-blow account, how African chiefs deliberately set out to capture Africans from neighboring tribes, to provoke wars of conquest in order to capture for the slave trade. This is, make no mistake, a harrowing read.”

Publisher Viking Press had offered to publish the book under the condition that she re-wrote the book in language instead of dialect. She refused to do so, and the work became buried in a vault in Hurston’s archives at Howard until it was re-discovered by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust.

There’s no word on who will be starring in the series as of yet.

If you would like to purchase Barracoon, click here.

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