This article explores the social and political context embedded in Atlantic child slave biography, such as claims about family, parentage, and orphanhood in narratives of child enslavement. I examine the claims of orphanhood and the fictive kinship relations marshaled by James B. Covey, the interpreter during the trials of <i>La Amistad</i>, during his Atlantic passages as examples of the <i>struggle against</i> alienation to âremakeâ his political and social being. More than adult slaves, children deployed kinship language and idioms as part of a larger struggle to forge and preserve relationships with benefactors. Although kinship claims are an experience common across slave populations, a focus on the difficulties of writing a biography of <i>child claims</i> draws attention to the extreme vulnerability of child slaves and their pressing need for patron/client relationships.
Biography – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: May 27, 2014