Blonde Roots

by Bernardine Evaristo

Hard-hitting and no nonsense story of slavery tipped on its head. Whites are slaves and blacks are masters. Witness the horror through the eyes of Doris, kidnapped from her home and family at a young age. Survival is an art form - but a dangerous one - and amongst the despair, there are moments of happiness but these are few and far between. Reading the words is easy, but emotionally, this is tough - expect an uncomfortable ride.


I often had to witness the kind of punishment meted out to runaways for whom death would have been the easy option.
Pepper, salt and lime juice rubbed into whip cuts meant getting off lightly.
Having your nose sliced off meant you didn't.
Massa Rotimi once nailed a repeat offender's ear to a tree, left her there for thirty minutes, then sawed it off, as if cutting through the gristle of beef.
He repeated the procedure with the remaining ear.
As for Massa Nonso, I'd seen him in action too, at a distance, hiding myself deep in the crowd so as not to be recognised.
One time he forced a runaway to lie down and another to shit in her mouth. Two men forced it open, and when the deed was done, clamped it shut.
No kidding.
I had seen men castrated and women lose a breast. I had seen limbs removed, skin scalded, cheeks branded.
Once a man was hogtied and roasted over a spit, alive.
Another was suspended under a spit of pork so that the scalding fat removed his skin.


Roots by Alex Haley
Slavery to Freedom: Britain's Slave Trade and Abolition by James Walvin and Angela Royston

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