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Wake  By  cover art

Wake

By: Rebecca Hall,Tyler English-Beckwith - adapter
Narrated by: DeWanda Wise,Chanté Adams,Jerrie Johnson,Folake Olowofoyeku,Bahni Turpin,Rhian Rees,Karen Malina White,Román Zaragoza,Alex Ubokudom,John Stewart,Blake Cooper Griffin,Tim DeKay,Katherine McNamara,Matthew Wolf,full cast
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Publisher's summary

Audiobook of the Year, Nominee — 2023 Audie Awards

Selected as a best book of 2021 by NPR, The Washington Post, Forbes, and Ms. Magazine, Wake is an imaginative tour-de-force that tells the powerful story of women-led slave revolts, and chronicles scholar Rebecca Hall’s efforts to uncover the truth about these women warriors who, until now, have been left out of the historical record. Originally published as part graphic novel and part memoir, Wake has now been adapted into a dramatized audio original by critically acclaimed playwright and television writer Tyler English-Beckwith and features the voice talents of DeWanda Wise (Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, Jurassic World: Dominion, The Harder They Fall), Chanté Adams, (A League of Their Own, Roxanne Roxanne, A Journal for Jordan) and an all-star full cast.

Women warriors planned and led slave revolts on slave ships during the Middle Passage. They fought their enslavers throughout the Americas, and then they were erased from history. Wake tells the story of Dr. Rebecca Hall, a historian, granddaughter of slaves, and a woman haunted by the legacy of slavery. The accepted history of slave revolts has always said that enslaved women were not involved, but Rebecca decides to look deeper. Her journey takes her through old court records, slave ship captains' logs, crumbling correspondence, and even the forensic evidence from the bones of enslaved women from the “negro burying ground” uncovered in Manhattan. She finds women warriors everywhere.

The ‘story behind the story,’ this audio play delves into Dr. Hall’s stint as both a law school professor then a high school teacher: poignant classroom scenes give voice to young minds grappling with the complexities of history, living in the wake of the trauma of slavery, and awakening to a new appreciation for the power of resistance. Historical vignettes from the graphic novel are deftly interwoven and underpin the entire narrative, transporting the listener from past to present through music and sound thematics by Jace Clayton (a.k.a. DJ /rupture).

Full cast includes DeWanda Wise, Chanté Adams, Jerrie Johnson, Folake Olowofoyeku, Bahni Turpin, Rhian Rees, Karen Malina White, Román Zaragoza, Alex Ubokudom, John Stewart, Blake Cooper Griffin, Tim DeKay, Kate Steele, Matthew Wolf, André Sogliuzzo, and Katherine McNamara. Credits by Saundra McClain.

2022 PEN Open Book Award Finalist

2022 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Debut Author Finalist

June 2021 reading selection for Steph Curry’s “Literati Book Club: Underrated"

©2021 Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez (P)2021 Podium Audio
  • Original Recording Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

“Powerful…Wake is operating in the wake of slavery, and in a state of being awake to the past; a process Hall frames as both devastating and grounding." (The New York Times Book Review)

"With its remarkable blend of passion and fact, action and reflection, Wake sets a new standard for illustrating history.” (NPR) 

“A must-read graphic history of women-led slave revolts…Hall and Martínez uncover hidden stories, vital truths and deep, unhealed, intergenerational pain.” (The Guardian

“Not only a riveting tale of Black women’s leadership of slave revolts but an equally dramatic story of the engaged scholarship that enabled its discovery.” (Angela Y. Davis, political activist, scholar and author of Women, Race & Class

Featured Article: Celebrate and Honor Juneteenth with These Important Listens

On June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 to announce the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to the residents of the state of Texas—finally freeing all remaining enslaved people, nearly two and a half years after President Lincoln’s original proclamation. Juneteenth is an opportunity for the African American community to honor their history, achievements, and important contributions to America. Here are outstanding Juneteenth audiobooks in recognition of our newest federal holiday.

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What listeners say about Wake

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Not what I expected

I was expecting actual stories of slave revolts. This was more of a story about the author.

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39 people found this helpful

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Essential reading.

This is an all star exceptional book clearly making the case of the lack of educating truth about the racist history but the current educational challenges in teaching it..

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10 people found this helpful

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Wow!!!

I had no idea what to expect. Really couldn't figure out how they'd make an audio book from a graphic novel. They did an amazing job and told a story everyone should read.
Congratulations to Dr. Hall and everyone involved in the production!

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6 people found this helpful

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An awesome work of artist

This audiobook has touched my heart and my soul as never before. It caused me to look at life differently but in a better way. Thank you to rvryone who had a hand in the production. Special applause for Rebecca Hall.

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5 people found this helpful

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A must have book the history of Black women during slavery and now

This book was shred with me recently and I had to listen ! Dr. Hall tells the story of brave women who fought against slavery and her own fight to tell this story and hers ! This was a great way to reach the public and any age would enjoy this audible ! Outstanding research and book . Thank you for sharing your story ! It helps me to write my own !

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AWSOME‼️‼️‼️

Wake is and was an awesomely (unfortunately factual) grounded history that left me wanting more (again, unfortunate), as this world with america/white (un)supremacy as a marketing feature, has an infinitesimal examples from which to utilize. But utilize you should, will and hopefully, shall!. I am in anxious wait for our ancestors lives to be recognized, no matter how large or small of a part they lived. A white or other willfully ignorant person must be able to hear, see and feel the lives of some of whom are dismissed, ignored, and lamented to the past as non-existent and unimportant. The world MUST have the opportunity to OVERSTAND the HEROIC abilities from which DC & MARVEL comics as well as REALITY perceives their ideas and actions from yesterday, today and tomorrow are through us and our ANCESTORS struggles and survivals. I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT Waking Hour! Thank you!

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4 people found this helpful

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  • Em
  • 09-07-22

Wow.

I am sitting here with happy tears in my eyes. If you feel fed up with the world we live in, the repetition of injustice in the face of fighting and fighting and fighting, please — read this. Especially if you are Black, or if you fight for Black people, for the Black cause of liberation, once and for all, from the never ending onslaught of hate, injustice, depreciation at the hands of Europeans, European Americans, and others.

If you feel like you are swimming against the stream, and nothing makes sense — it’s true, it doesn’t make sense that we have to fight this hard, still. It doesn’t. But it’s happening, and this is proof that nothing goes amiss. This is proof that the fight is far from over, that you are making a difference. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this book

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