Coastal and Riverine Marronage in West Africa: Enslaved Labor, Maritime Desertion, and the Making of Free Communities in the Waterscapes of Colonial Sierra Leone

Myles Ali
History and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
UC Merced

Drawing on UCHRI’s theme of Refuge and its Refusals, this project foregrounds the lives of maritime runaway slaves who deserted their masters on interior and coastal waterways to reclaim their freedom in the Sierra Leone Colony during the late nineteenth century. These materials will offer a needed multifaceted look into the physical, commercial, legal, and human geographies of slavery and freedom that formed Sierra Leone’s waterscapes. This project will add new perspectives and vivid human detail to the histories of slavery, freedom, and community formation within colonial Africa, the Black Atlantic, and the global maritime African Diaspora to produce a journal article that explores slavery, commercial circuits, maritime slave flight, and the forging of free communities within the British colony of Sierra Leone.