Alabama in Africa

Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South

Andrew Zimmerman
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 416
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hrmw
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  • Book Info
    Alabama in Africa
    Book Description:

    In 1901, the Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington, sent an expedition to the German colony of Togo in West Africa, with the purpose of transforming the region into a cotton economy similar to that of the post-Reconstruction American South.Alabama in Africaexplores the politics of labor, sexuality, and race behind this endeavor, and the economic, political, and intellectual links connecting Germany, Africa, and the southern United States. The cross-fertilization of histories and practices led to the emergence of a global South, reproduced social inequities on both sides of the Atlantic, and pushed the American South and the German Empire to the forefront of modern colonialism.

    Zimmerman shows how the people of Togo, rather than serving as a blank slate for American and German ideologies, helped shape their region's place in the global South. He looks at the forms of resistance pioneered by African American freedpeople, Polish migrant laborers, African cotton cultivators, and other groups exploited by, but never passive victims of, the growing colonial political economy. Zimmerman reconstructs the social science of the global South formulated by such thinkers as Max Weber and W.E.B. Du Bois, and reveals how their theories continue to define contemporary race, class, and culture.

    Tracking the intertwined histories of Europe, Africa, and the Americas at the turn of the century,Alabama in Africashows how the politics and economics of the segregated American South significantly reshaped other areas of the world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3497-6
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Lists of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-19)

    German colonial authorities turned to Booker T. Washington because they hoped that the prominent African American educator would bring to Africa the industrial education that he often suggested trained blacks in the New South to become diligent and compliant laborers contributing to a modern, postslavery economy. Germany, like other European powers, desired similarly subordinate and productive black labor in its own African colonies. The Tuskegee personnel who worked in Togo succeeded in transforming African cotton growing because they brought with them techniques and assumptions about agriculture, labor, race, and education from the American South. They found such ready partners in...

  6. Chapter 1 COTTON, THE “NEGRO QUESTION,” AND INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION IN THE NEW SOUTH
    (pp. 20-65)

    The New South that Tuskegee Institute would help reproduce in West Africa was a temporary outcome of a long-standing conflict between workers and employers over the meaning of the freedom of labor. Workers, black and white, enslaved and emancipated, sought a kind of economic freedom given one of its now-classic formulations by Garrison Frazier, an African American Baptist minister interviewed in Savannah, Georgia, by General William T. Sherman and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton in January 1865. “Slavery,” explained Frazier, “is receiving by irresistible power the work of another man, and not by his consent. The freedom, as I...

  7. Chapter 2 SOZIALPOLITIK AND THE NEW SOUTH IN GERMANY
    (pp. 66-111)

    German writers across the political spectrum recognized the global political significance of the American Civil War, of the abolition of slavery in the United States, and of the New South. Like the American South, the German East produced agricultural staples—grain and, later, sugarbeets—on large estates employing unfree labor, serfs, until the nineteenth century, when these agricultural enterprises were forced to deal with the legal emancipation of their workers. Like their American counterparts, German landowners, policy makers, and workers struggled over contradictory meanings of free labor. At the root of these conflicts was the question of whether free labor...

  8. Chapter 3 ALABAMA IN AFRICA: TUSKEGEE AND THE COLONIAL DECIVILIZING MISSION IN TOGO
    (pp. 112-172)

    In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the region of West Africa that became the German colony of Togo enjoyed new economic opportunities as the Atlantic slave trade declined. Many West Africans established diverse household economies incorporating manufacturing and agriculture and carried on a profitable trade with European and Hausa merchants. The colonial states founded at the end of the century redirected these new African economies into channels that aggrandized state power and colonial capital. One of the principal means of subordinating Africans, both politically and economically, to European elites, involved forcing them to produce raw materials, like industrial-grade...

  9. Chapter 4 FROM A GERMAN ALABAMA IN AFRICA TO A SEGREGATIONIST INTERNATIONAL: THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS AND THE GLOBAL SOUTH
    (pp. 173-204)

    The colonial extension of the New South that Tuskegee Institute and German colonial officials initiated in Togo quickly became a central element of a liberal imperialism that has shaped global politics ever since. German Togo gained a reputation as a model colony, orMusterkolonie, among colonial powers, a reputation that it continued to enjoy even after Germans ceded control to French and English colonial states.¹ In the decade before the First World War, liberal enthusiasts for progressive colonialism in Africa applauded both Tuskegee Institute and German colonial policy, not simply for their early successes in producing industrial-grade cotton in Africa,...

  10. Chapter 5 FROM INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION FOR THE NEW SOUTH TO A SOCIOLOGY OF THE GLOBAL SOUTH
    (pp. 205-236)

    Booker T. Washington and the colonial authorities who brought Tuskegee to Togo relied on German and American social scientists to advise and to justify their political and economic projects. These political and economic projects, just as importantly, generated new social scientific knowledge. Tuskegee Institute did not only draw support from American sociology, but also played an important role in the development of sociology on both sides of the Atlantic. German social thought exercised a great influence on the United States through the large number of prominent American sociologists who studied in Germany and the great international prestige of German social...

  11. Conclusion Prussian Paths of Capitalist Development: The Tuskegee Expedition to Togo Between Transnational and Comparative History
    (pp. 237-250)

    In the period between the American Civil War and the First World War, people in many regions of the world, including the American South, the German East, and West Africa, cast off the political and economic unfreedom of slavery and serfdom. In response, elites, both new and old, invented ways to divert this newly won freedom into channels of state power and capital accumulation. The global South was an arbitrary creation of transnational actors committed to disseminating a racial division of labor modeled at least in part on the American New South. By imposing models of “development” devised for American...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 251-346)
  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 347-390)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 391-400)