42 pages 1 hour read

Trevor R. Getz, Illustr. Liz Clarke

Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History

Nonfiction | Graphic Novel/Book | YA | Published in 2011

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Important Quotes

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“Deemed less likely to run away or seek their liberation in British courts, children—especially girls—are seen as desirable slaves.”

(Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 6)

This single sentence illustrates history at the time, with its conflicting notions of British freedom and the gendered nature of slavery in the Gold Coast. It’s important to note the use of the word “girls” here, not women. Boys and adults are more likely to be able to advocate for themselves, so young girls were sought out to be enslaved.

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“I thought everyone here was free.”

(Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 9)

Abina uses her voice to advocate for herself and challenge the veracity of British law. She’s including herself in the term “everyone,” because even though many discount children, especially young girls, she is someone, and she lets her opposers know it.

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“Abina…There’s nothing we can do. Quamina Eddoo is an important man, and the British do not like alienating important men.”

(Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 12)

This quote speaks to the theme of Justice in a World Built for Others. Theoretically, the British outlawed slavery in the Gold Coast, but there are exceptions made for important men. The adjective “important” isn’t about intrinsic worth, but these men’s assigned worth as a tool to their colony. If Quamina Eddoo’s operation is challenged and his enslaved peoples are freed, this sets a precedent that could cost such men their workforce.