January 19, 2006

A letter from Pam Noles

Just got a letter that I wanted to share. With her permission, here it is:
I could have sworn that when I first came to the site earlier this week, due to the heads-up on Gaiman's blog, clicking around there was a note somewhere in one of the comments from you wondering about books discussing the Islamic slave trade. Maybe I imagined it. I can't find it now. Thus the email.

IF you were actually looking for information about this, there are a few books, but not all of them are very good. The one I highly recc is Slavery in the History of Muslim Black Africa, by Humphrey J. Fisher, New York University Press. The edition I have came out in 2001. Because my copy is kind of beat up, I can't make out the ISBN. It is an excellent book, with tons and TONS of excerpts from journals of the time. Some of the information is touched upon in The Slave Trade, by Hugh Thomas, ISBN 0684810638. My edition came out in 1997. I don't know if it's still in print, though. But he just touches upon it, because that book covers a lot of territory.

I guess the biggest thing to be aware of about the African/Muslim role in the Atlantic slave trade is the role of a man named Tippu Tip. He was the agent for the Sultan of Zanzibar, he of the blood red flag, but information about him is spotty. Or rather, comprehensive information about him is not readily available in English. Lots of out of print stuff that has me bashing my head against the wall wishing I had far more money than I do. I did find two letters he wrote in an archive in Scotland. A librarian there sent me copies. I *squealed* when they arrive. Anyways, sharing in case that's useful.

Did you know about the Confederate soldiers who fled north to Canada, just like slaves? They set up communities there and everything, as they did here in California, just outside of San Diego. I discovered this when I was researching information about John H. Morgan/the Raiders for another project and came across one of those narrative pamphlets a university had scanned and archived on the Internet(s). They used to send the Pinkertons after them! I haven't had time to dig into this deeply, but I can find the links here on the hard drive and send if you are interested.

I have read much of your prose. I had *no idea* you did this comic. I was around and reading indy comics back then, so I don't know how it didn't come up on my radar. Much luck in getting it to paper stage so I can buy it.

Happiness,
Pam Noles

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READ! My latest work, 'Stagecoach Mary', appears in the Gunned Down comics anthology. (Terra Major.)
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YAY! My novella 'Whipping Boy' snagged an an Honorable Mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Eighteenth Annual Collection. (St. Martin's Press) The story first appeared in Dark Matter: Reading the Bones in 2004. (Warner Aspect) That anthology recently won the 2005 World Fantasy Award for best anthology.
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DENIAL! I SWEAR I didn't write this just to Upset People: shame
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BLOG! And We Shall March
Useful info! Thanks!

You're right that there was a comment about the slave trade, but I'm not sure if it was on this blog or one of my others. (Yes, too many blogs, but I don't expect everyone to be interested in everything I'm interested in.) I keep trying to think of a more efficient way to track comments, but given the way Blogger works and the wonderfully freeform nature of the web, I'm inclined to roll with what we've got for now.

And I'd love to know more about the folks who went to Canada.
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