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BlueInk Review: “Sparrows of Senegambia” by Dr. Charles Sampson is Compelling, Thoroughly Engaging, and Well-Paced

The author, an emeritus professor of public affairs and Black studies, penned an emotionally stirring memoir in which he shares his reflections on race, history, and family.

San Diego, CA – WEBWIRE

BlueInk Review: The book is told in the context of historic events like the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Migration.

“Sparrows of Senegambia: A Memoir” by Dr. Charles Sampson is a first-rate, deeply personal memoir that will take readers, particularly African Americans, on a thought-provoking journey where emotions, thoughts, and feelings interact through the author’s splendid narrative.

The book connects his birthplace, life, work, educational experiences, and travels to different parts of the world, especially Africa. His visit to the island of Gorée, Senegal, in 2005 drove him to confront the history of slavery and other events in history that impacted him, both as an African-American and a descendant of slaves. From the 15th to the 19th century, the island of Gorée was the largest slave-trading center on the African coast.

Dr. Sampson reflected on his visit to Gorée at length, saying: “The history of my family can be traced to that island, first known as Senegambia and now called Gorée Island. . . Millions of West Africans were taken against their will. Africans from many different locations were brought to Gorée Island, sold into slavery, and held in the holding warehouse on the island until they were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean.

“As I stood where my ancestors had been shackled, my mind raced to recall the guide’s discussion of the conditions my ancestors had experienced. I conjured horrific smells and sounds. For a second time on that day, I was caught in a time warp. . . I became a time traveler. The experience brought sadness to my soul and tears to my eyes. I did not attempt to hide my tears.”

“Sparrows of Senegambia” received a starred review from BlueInk Review, which calls it a highly compelling and thoroughly engaging, well-paced story that “deserves a place on shelves next to other nonfiction books about the African-American experience, told more fully and factually in the post-George Floyd world.”

The book, says BlueInk Review, illuminates “how enslavers created equally effective systems to brainwash ‘the Negro’ to accept a permanently inferior role in society. Lesser education, high rates of incarceration, and voter suppression are still systems used today.”

The review also adds, “Sampson’s parents emphasized education as a path to economic and social advancement. All eight of their children were highly educated. While Sampson admits the promise of merit-based advancement and reality sometimes conflicted, his reflections on being a black man in a white dominant culture are mild. Without bitterness, he writes that he coped in part by rationalizing away negative feelings, focusing on career goals, and compartmentalizing past injustices.”

Delve into the thoughts and reflections of Dr. Charles Sampson in “Sparrows of Senegambia: A Memoir.” Order a copy by visiting Amazon, the ReadersMagnet bookstore, or the author’s website at

Sparrows of Senegambia: A Memoir
Author | Charles Sampson, PhD
Published date | 2022
Publisher | ReadersMagnet
Genre | Memoir

Author Bio

Charles Sampson is the seventh son of the late Plummer and Lurline Sampson. The Mississippi native grew up in a materially impoverished family in the “Free State of Jones County” during the waning days of Jim Crow, legalized segregation, and second-class citizenship immediately before the passage of LBJ’s Great Society legislation. He completed high school, undergraduate study, and a four-year stint as an officer in the USAF during the Vietnam War era before earning a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh ten years after high school graduation. He married his college sweetheart, Joy Pulley, and they raised a family; they both served as college administrator(s) and professor(s). Charles is a Fulbright awardee (visiting professor at Khon Kaen University in Thailand) and visiting professor at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He is an emeritus at the University of Missouri.

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