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Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History (2011)

by Trevor R. Getz, Liz Clarke (Illustrator)

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1364198,452 (3.67)7
This is an illustrated "graphic history" based on an 1876 court transcript of a West African woman named Abina, who was wrongfully enslaved and took her case to court. The main scenes of the story take place in the courtroom, where Abina strives to convince a series of "important men"-- a British judge, two Euro-African attorneys, a wealthy African country "gentleman," and a jury of local leaders --that her rights matter.… (more)
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I read this anticipating a graphic novel depicting the story of an African woman facing down "the Important Men" to get what she felt was her due. And I got that. But Abina and the Important Men is much more of a lesson on how to be a historian than it is a graphic portrayal of a historical event.

Getz does an admirable job---in my admittedly non-historian perspective---of showing how historians do their work: looking at primary sources of several varieties, piecing together the context for those sources, taking into consideration their own biases, painstakingly sketching in a deeper understanding of the past, and opening themselves to the critical assessments and alternate perspectives of their fellow historians. For that reason, I'd say that Abina is an excellent introduction for any hopeful future historians.

As a graphic novel, it's entertaining, but while Abina's story matters, it's only the beginning of a journey this book encourages its reader to undertake. ( )
  slimikin | Mar 27, 2022 |
A fascinating "graphic history" based on an 1876 court transcript of a West African woman who was enslaved, escaped to British-controlled territory, and took her case to court. The graphic history is followed by an insightful historical context of the story, a reading guide reconstructing and deconstructing the methods used to interpret the story, and strategies for using Abina in classroom settings of various levels. A great study for world history course.

( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
The graphic novelist uses courtroom transcripts to tell the story of a young woman's lawsuit to gain her freedom in 1876.
  Freilin | Nov 6, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Trevor R. Getzprimary authorall editionscalculated
Clarke, LizIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed

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For Kaela Getz, who--like Abina Mansah--won't be pushed around
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This is an illustrated "graphic history" based on an 1876 court transcript of a West African woman named Abina, who was wrongfully enslaved and took her case to court. The main scenes of the story take place in the courtroom, where Abina strives to convince a series of "important men"-- a British judge, two Euro-African attorneys, a wealthy African country "gentleman," and a jury of local leaders --that her rights matter.

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