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If Not This Dream

If Not This Dream is an 1134-page fast-paced novel, presented in three books. In The Hausas Madawwari chieftain Zaki sacrifices his eldest son to save the rest of his villagers from 1807 Oyo slave raiders in Northeast Nigeria. The Oyos are led by Atticus Clarke, an English slaver, making his first middle passage with his new ship, Na'imah. Zaki promises his people that he will return one day in flesh or in spirit. His dream will be passed down five generations in his family. The twenty Hausas are taken from their little village in northeast Nigeria to the seaport at Lagos. The slaves spend weeks inside Na'imah's belly, chained hands and feet in the tall ship, on their passage to Charleston, South Carolina. Na'imah stops at Havana, Cuba, where Clarke purchases sixty-seven additional slaves and crams them into Na'imah's hold. In Charleston, Na'imah is met by William Biggs, a cotton and tobacco farmer who has ordered twenty Hausa Africans to work on his plantation. He pays $5000 for Zaki and $1500 each for his nineteen villagers. He also buys twenty-five additional slaves at $400 a head. Biggs invests $43,500 for fifty slaves to work his plantation. Through the years Biggs maintains a pure bloodline of Hausas. He breeds Zaki to handpicked non-Hausas in exchange for allowing the big Hausa to begin his own family with a female from his African village. Biggs trains Zaki to slowly manage the rest of the slaves as they work the cotton and tobacco fields. Nabilah, an overweight house slave, manages the day-to-day maintenance of the Biggs mansion. Biggs also puts her in charge of pairing male and female slaves and keeping records of their bloodlines. Book one chronicles the parallel lives of both the Biggs and Zaki families from 1807 to the present day."
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