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Inside The Graphic Novel ‘Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts’

A new graphic novel and memoir titled Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Dr. Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez uncovers the true story of what occurred as women fought back during slavery. 

With extensive research and stunning black-and-white illustrations, Wake recounts Hall’s journey of discovering the truth about these women warriors who, until now, have been erased from the historical record. Through archives and a bit of historical imagination, Hall formulates the probable pasts of two women rebels, Adono and Alele, who fought for freedom during the Middle Passage, along with the stories of women who led slave revolts in Colonial New York. 

Hall, a historian and attorney, meticulously worked her way through 300-year-old documents in order to most accurately narrate this previously untold story. During her search for truth, Hall said that she had to “read the documents against the grain,” finding the smallest fragments of evidence about these enslaved women that were not destroyed. Even so, these daring women-led slave revolts only form half of Wake. The other half is Hall’s own story as a historian, and how the legacy of slavery still frames life in the 21st century. Furthermore, it brings awareness to the conspiracy of silence by the government that has obliterated these women warriors out of existence. This layered component of Hall’s life as a historian and having the process of her sifting through documents illustrated is part of what makes Wake deeply inventive. 

Illustrated by Hugo Martinez, the graphic novel’s style is intricate and expressive. Below, view pages from Wake, courtesy of Amazon. Click here to purchase your own copy today.

Ayanna Nicole

Hi! I’m Ayanna, a 27-year-old writer and artist. Although I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with two degrees in art and psychology, I’ve had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. By following my dreams and utilizing my creativity, I designed Jaro Magazine with the ultimate intention of bringing more positive stories in the black community to the forefront, while also highlighting our versatile and vibrant culture through Jaro’s four modes: film, books, art, and music. I’m into spirituality, nature walks, music festivals, poetry, traveling without a destination in mind, painting, and discussing everything out of the ordinary with other curious minds.

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