Oscar Allen launches reading book
February 2, 2007

Oscar Allen launches reading book

This week, a reading book authored by Oscar Allen was released. “We Want to Become Wise”, is no ordinary reading book, but a reading book on transatlantic slavery. Its publication is perfectly timed as it coincides with our activities to mark the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Allen, a noted community worker, historian, social commentator and church leader has, in his five-chapter book given us insights into the slavery experience which previously had not been accessible to those outside academia. The five chapters are “What the world was like before transatlantic slavery”, “Transatlantic slavery, revolution around the Atlantic; why they sailed the Atlantic”, “The Experience of Slavery”, “Freedom, a great force” and “Becoming Wise”.{{more}}

Although billed as a reading book “for classroom, home and community,” the book is clearly written with students in mind as there are exercises at the end of many of the sections to test the reader’s understanding and get the reader to reflect on and further explore the topic.

“We want to become wise” is however recommended reading for everyone. The 62-page booklet is richly illustrated with many drawings, photographs, tables etc., which, coupled with Allen’s skillful handling of the subject, bring home in an unambiguous way, the stark, sometimes shocking reality that was slavery and the slave trade.

Allen uses a novel way to designate time in the booklet. Events that happened in the past are designated with the abbreviation BP, meaning “Before the Present Time.” The year 2000 is taken as the beginning of the present era, therefore the year we achieved Independence for example, is designated the year 21BP. This takes a bit of getting used to, as while reading, one is tempted to keep subtracting to get the year in the Gregorian calendar we are accustomed to.

Despite this, “We Want to Become Wise” is recommended as an essential addition to every Vincentian’s personal library. Priced at just $15 a copy, this book is well within the reach of most and will soon be available at bookstores nationwide.