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The African Diaspora

The African Diaspora: A History Through Culture

Patrick Manning
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 424
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  • Book Info
    The African Diaspora
    Book Description:

    Patrick Manning refuses to divide the African diaspora into the experiences of separate regions and nations. Instead, he follows the multiple routes that brought Africans and people of African descent into contact with one another and with Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In weaving these stories together, Manning shows how the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean fueled dynamic interactions among black communities and cultures and how these patterns resembled those of a number of connected diasporas concurrently taking shaping across the globe.

    Manning begins in 1400 and traces five central themes: the connections that enabled Africans to mutually identify and hold together as a global community; discourses on race; changes in economic circumstance; the character of family life; and the evolution of popular culture. His approach reveals links among seemingly disparate worlds. In the mid-nineteenth century, for example, slavery came under attack in North America, South America, southern Africa, West Africa, the Ottoman Empire, and India, with former slaves rising to positions of political prominence. Yet at the beginning of the twentieth century, the near-elimination of slavery brought new forms of discrimination that removed almost all blacks from government for half a century.

    Manning underscores the profound influence that the African diaspora had on world history, demonstrating the inextricable link between black migration and the rise of modernity, especially in regards to the processes of industrialization and urbanization. A remarkably inclusive and far-reaching work, The African Diaspora proves that the advent of modernity cannot be imaginatively or comprehensively engaged without taking the African peoples and the African continent as a whole into account.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51355-5
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Graphs and Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  8. 1 Diaspora: Struggles and Connections
    (pp. 1-34)

    People of sub-Saharan Africa have migrated, in wave after wave, to other regions of the world. The initial movements—beginning seventy thousand years ago—involved settlement of the Old World tropics; this was followed by occupation of Eurasia, Oceania, and the Americas. In the last few millennia, as societies and civilizations grew up throughout the world, Africans have continued to migrate and settle overseas. For the black people of sub-Saharan Africa, this “sunburst” of settlement beyond their homeland has brought particularly close linkages to Egypt, other parts of North Africa, and Arabia. Further settlements across the waters of the Indian...

  9. 2 Connections to 1600
    (pp. 35-91)

    Musa, the mansa (emperor) of Mali, left his capital of Niani in 1324 (the year 724 of the Islamic calendar) in the company of a great entourage. He set out for the northern boundaries of his realm and then across the Sahara in a two-month crossing. Once across the desert, Musa, his entourage, and the other pilgrims from the savanna country joined with the pilgrims from the Maghrib, or “West” of North Africa. All were headed for Mecca to complete their duties of pilgrimage, the hajj to the most sacred places of their Islamic faith. The emperor’s own name of Musa (Moses)...

  10. 3 Survival, 1600–1800
    (pp. 92-155)

    Pernambuco, the tropical captaincy of Brazil’s northeast coast, became a crucial battleground of the seventeenth-century world. The region’s engenhos, or sugar plantations, which had begun to prosper in the 1580s, relied mainly on slave laborers brought to Recife from Luanda in Angola. Almost immediately, African laborers slipped away from the engenhos to set up an independent existence. Some escapees stayed close to the engenhos to have access to food and maintain ties to friends. Others moved further away, especially to the southwest and into the interior. There, some eighty kilometers from Recife, they formed settlements that collectively came to be...

  11. 4 Emancipation, 1800–1900
    (pp. 156-208)

    The nineteenth century in West Africa opened with two major enterprises aimed at improving the human condition. In the central savanna lands where the Niger flows southeast, the Muslim cleric Usuman dan Fodio followed his years of preaching and debating with a call to action. He declared a jihad—a holy war to establish a “rightly guided” regime and to spread the Islamic faith as far as possible. Shehu Usuman, a leader of the Qadiriyya religious order and of the Fulfulde-speaking Fulani, had concluded that the Hausa leaders of the cities and states of this populous grassland region between forest...

  12. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  13. 5 Citizenship, 1900–1960
    (pp. 209-282)

    In July 1900, the first Pan-African Conference convened at Westminster Town Hall in London. The thirty-seven delegates, male and female, came from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States under the leadership of Henry Sylvester Williams, a lawyer from Trinidad who resided in London. While the Congress was cautious in its declarations, the delegates nonetheless presented themselves as political leaders advocating for advanced rights and improved conditions for Africans and people of African descent on four continents. W. E. B. Du Bois gave a paper at the London conference, later published in his volume of essays, Souls of Black...

  14. 6 Equality, 1960–2000
    (pp. 283-334)

    Distant relatives became reacquainted in 1966 at Dakar, the lively capital city of Senegal and major port on the western tip of the African continent. With over forty African and Caribbean countries suddenly independent and self-governing, the idea of a global celebration of African culture proved irresistible. Here, near the geographical center of the black world, such a celebration unfolded in June 1966: the Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC). Among those in attendance were Katherine Dunham and Langston Hughes of the United States, Aimé Césaire of Martinique, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, Cheikh Anta Diop of Senegal,...

  15. EPILOGUE: The Future of the African Diaspora
    (pp. 335-354)

    Three principal narratives have unfolded within these pages: the rise and fall of slavery, the social struggles of black communities, and the cultural representations of life and life’s hardships produced in those communities. These braided stories convey the African diaspora’s growth and change, especially during the past six centuries. Here, I pose and attempt to answer some very important interpretive questions prompted by this chronicle, three about the past and four about the future, as a way of stepping back for a broader closing perspective and to encourage further study and discussion.

    The historian can rarely, if ever, answer such...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 355-374)
  17. Index
    (pp. 379-394)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 395-396)