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Door of No Return
Door of No Return

Partly autobiographical, but drawing primarily on historicalresearch and present-day interviews, Door of No Return courageously excavatesthe rich, complex but often silenced multicultural legacies of New England.


Nehassaiu deGannes is a trickster/shaman figure voicingexperiences of immigration, displacement, enslavement, and resistance from abrilliant multiplicity of perspectives. Drawing on her Caribbean heritage andCanadian upbringing, her visits to West Africa, and her arrival in RhodeIsland, Nehassaiu criss-crosses time and space to bring us stories from the 18thcentury and the Triangle Trade, as well as unexpected contemporary narratives.Here in one room are: Marie Angelique, enslaved in Montreal but very likelypurchased in Rhode Island, a young Columbian man defying 21st centuryexpectations, an Iraqi-American woman re-inventing herself post 9-11,indentured Wampanoag, and the slave dungeons of Cape Coast. Door of No Returndefies the segregation of American histories and invites us all to stand at thecrossroads.


“Nehassaiu deGannes is tremendous. At times, she’s fromJamaica, then Ghana, then Cape Verde, or Senegal. Or else she’s a NativeAmerican, or a hyphenated modern American: Puerto Rican, Laotian, French,Irish, Scotch or Arabic. She’s rich; she’s poor. She’s young; she’s old.

She’s woman; she’s man…. But the reason you watch or listen…is for an emotional connection, which deGannes amply provides.”

—Providence Journal

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