On Cudjo’s Pipe: Smoking Dialogs in Diasporic Space

Author(s): Neil Norman

Year: 2015


As a survivor of the last slaver to make the Atlantic crossing and a community leader in the Jim Crow-era American South of Mobile Alabama, Cudjo Lewis stands as an iconic diasporic figure.  We know of Cudjo’s life on both sides of the Atlantic from extensive interviews by Zora Neale Hurston, local historians, and reporters from the New York Times.  These reports describe a sullen patriarchal figure who spent the last years of his life morning the death of his children and the impossibility of returning to his home in modern-day Ghana.  This paper uses artifacts recovered from in and around Cudjo’s home in Africatown Alabama as well as items excavated from sites along the West African coast to revisit the materiality of Cudjo’s later years.  It argues that aesthetic registers of West African smoking rituals and elite bodily comportment offer more robust interpretations of Cudjo’s last years.

Cite this Record

On Cudjo’s Pipe: Smoking Dialogs in Diasporic Space. Neil Norman. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433903)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 419