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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Part 1, Chapters 1-3

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “The Graphic History”

Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary: “Abina Awakes”

In the early to mid-1870s, British colonists invade West Africa’s Gold Coast and depose the kings of the Asante Confederation to control their valuable resources and slave trade. In 1876, when the story begins, England has transitioned into abolishing slavery, but they continue to import children, particularly young girls, to work and are willing to ignore unpaid labor—especially labor related to harvesting their new gold: palm oil.

Abina Mansah was enslaved as a child during a war and taken to work for wealthy Quamina Eddoo in Salt Pond, a town in the greater Gold Coast. Abina decides to run away and makes it to Cape Coast, a port city. She seeks help, and a local woman tells her that she needs to find the magistrate, Judge William Melton, to get papers to establish her freedom. To do this, she needs to get a job and a place to stay. The British, who have a large castle in the town, oversee the work of struggling classes. Per the woman’s guidance, Abina goes to attorney James Davis and shares her story. He is sympathetic to her and notes the law against slavery, but tells her that it’s impossible to enforce everywhere.