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Contents List of Maps List of Graphs and Tables List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgments 1. Diaspora: Struggles and Connections 2. Connections to 1600 3. Survival, 1600-1800 4. Emancipation, 1800-1900 5. Citizenship, 1900-1960 6. Equality, 1960-2000 Epilogue: The Future of the African Diaspora Notes Index Maps 1.1. Regions of the African Diaspora 2.1. Africa, Showing Regions, Rivers, and Ecology 2.2. African Language Groups and Major Subgroups 2.3. The Old World Diaspora to 1600 2.4. The Eastern Atlantic, 1400-1550 2.5. The Americas, 1492-1600 3.1. Africa, 1600-1800 3.2. The Americas, 1600-1800 4.1. Slave Populations of Africa and the Diaspora, c. 1850 4.2. Slave Populations of Africa and the Diaspora, c. 1900 5.1. Religion in Africa and the Diaspora, 1960 6.1. Language of Government in Africa and the Diaspora 6.2. Major Cities of the Black World, 2000 Graphs and Tables 3.1. Volume of Slave Trade, Atlantic and Old World, 1500-1900 4.1. Free and Slave Populations, 1800-1900 Illustrations 1.1. Motherhood 1.2. Performer (c. 200 BCE) 2.1. The Church of St. George at Lalibela, Ethiopia 2.2. Ife Royal Couple 2.3. St. Maurice 2.4. Zanjis and Darab 2.5. Judith and Her Maidservant, by Andrea Mantegna 2.6. Black Christians of Peru, c. 1600 3.1. Kuba Royal Sword, c. eighteenth century 3.2. Caribbean Sugar Plantation, c. 1665 3.3. Drum, late seventeenth century 4.1. Emancipation 4.2. Fon God of War; Hongwe Reliquary Figure 4.3. Eunuch (Egypt) 5.1. Citizens of Atlanta 5.2. Saramanka Capes 5.3 Josephine Baker, c. 1926 5.4 Charlemagne Peralte, by Philomene Obin 5.5. Arowogun of Osi with Carvings 6.1. Urban Nigeria, by Jacob Lawrence 6.2. Survival album cover 6.3. Untitled, by Seydou Keita 6.4. Master Boubker Gania (1927-2000) 7.1. Oprah Winfrey and South African Youth 7.2. Researcher with Family of the Informant, Karnataka, India 7.3. J'aime la couleur, by Cheri Samba, 2003 Preface The history of Africans and people of African descent, a complex story in itself, lies at the center of the history of all humanity. The tale of modernity cannot fairly be told without full attention to the African continent and peoples of African descent. This book recounts the history of black people in the six centuries since 1400, as their world brought them global connections, enslavement, industrialization, and urbanization. Rather than being a history of specific regions or nations, this is a history of the interconnections of people throughout Africa, the Americas, most of Europe, and much of Asia. The Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean, rather than separating people into isolated groups, are seen in this volume as fluid pathways to and from the continents and islands where Africans have migrated and voyaged, voluntarily and under duress, for many centuries and up to the present day. Since this is a story of overlapping and connected lives, I have written it for an overlapping and connected set of audiences. Most basically, the book is for those who seek to inform themselves on the relationships among black communities and who have an interest in viewing the modern world with an appreciation for the experience and outlook of people throughout Africa and the African diaspora. Dividing potential readers according to their relationship to schooling, I will assert that, first, the book is written for undergraduate students encountering this material perhaps for the first time-students around the world who read in English. For these students, I hope the book will open new vistas about the breadth of connections in the historical past. If the quantity of detail in the book appears daunting at times, I hope it will remind readers of how much has actually occurred in the past and of how the student as historian must have the confidence to select those details that help him or her develop clear interpretations of the past. Second, the book is written for historical professionals at graduate and postgraduate levels, who may wish to focus in more detail on the interpretive arguments and nuances. For this audience, more familiar with the concepts I present, I also hope the book will show the advantages of exploring history on a scale this broad. Third, the book is intended for general readers from black and other communities who are interested in the development of the modern world as experienced by black people. The conflicts and transformations addressed in this book are those of the real world, and I hope readers of various backgrounds and professions will find the interest and the patience to explore this history of the African diaspora. And even while the history of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora is the principal focus here, the narrative has substantial implications for world history more broadly and for modernity. The same group of potential readers can be divided according to areas of primary interest. The first general topic is the history of black peoples. This volume presents a broad overview of that history wherever blacks have been and are now-in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the islands-and the connections of those communities to one another and to other communities. The second general topic is world history. The story of the African diaspora addresses one-sixth of humanity over the past six centuries. The analysis here of the dynamics of interaction across the large part of the world in which black people have lived identifies a set of patterns that may have been representative in many ways of the world as a whole. The third general topic is modernity. While some debates about the miraculous birth and the special nature of the modern world are couched in obscure academic language, this topic is important to all who wish to understand the African diaspora. Modernity is the condition of life today and in the recent past-a condition filled with triumphs, complexities, and disasters in industry, science, government, and communication, bringing progress, oppression, and inequality. Modernity is a condition that is deeply felt and almost universally experienced. Too often, however, it is defined narrowly and then explained in such a fashion as to exclude black people from it. Modernity is the overall ethos of the modern world, in economic, social, cultural, and other realms; it is an exhilarating but difficult situation. The experience of modernity is unmistakable, and it is conveyed in songs and literature in every language. The explanation of modernity, however, is open to question. Some explanations treat modernity as a break from the past, achieved by a few: this approach emphasizes the unique insights and accomplishments of genius and privilege and divides the world into the traditional and the modern. Other explanations emphasize the continuity of recent times with the more distant past and argue that the modern world was constructed through the efforts and interactions of many; such explanations divide the world into the masses and the elite and treat the elite as the beneficiaries but not necessarily the creators of modernity. I propose an interactive view of modernity, to reveal the important place of black people in construction of the modern world. My view contrasts with the leading sociological interpretations of modernity and the leading historical interpretations of the modern world, which consign Africa and the African diaspora to the footnotes.1 These interpretations virtually leave Africans, the African diaspora, slavery, race, and emancipation out of their interpretations-not simply because of respect for traditional interpretation or disregard for black history but as a result of flaws in their historical logic. They give too much attention to societies, nations, kingdoms, empires, and urban centers, and not enough attention to diasporas, networks, mixes, hinterlands, and exchanges on the roads between centers. Despite the dynamics of the world of today, the static worship of central places still reigns supreme in the academic conceptualization of society. Only when connective approaches to the past are given analytical parity with central places and ruling classes will we have a history of the past and an understanding of our present that acknowledges the acts of all our ancestors in creating our world. In short, to appreciate the history of the modern world, we need to treat diasporas with the same importance as nations. Many skilled writers on the black world decline to celebrate modernity, focusing critically on the negative aspects of global transformation as reflected in enslavement, racial discrimination, and cultural deprivation.2 Their concerns are appropriate, as these are the stories that are usually marginalized in the leading interpretations of modernity. Yet the same stories, seen from another angle, reveal black achievements in education, cultural production, and political leadership. The experience of black people is central to understanding the achievements and missteps that continue to shape modernity. But understanding modernity means addressing the choice of whether the modern world is considered to be uniquely complex-cut off from the traditional past and from those who live today in a world of the past-or whether it is seen as another stage in our evolving history. In these pages, life under the condition of modernity is seen as widely shared and sharply different from the times before, yet it is tied to those earlier times by a million strands of continuity, evolutionary change, strife, and destruction. The advent of modernity-which involved triumphs and arguably unbearable costs-cannot be accurately understood or imaginatively and comprehensively engaged without a responsible narration of the role played in its making by African peoples and the African continent as a whole. The key element of the book's organization involves treating Africa and the African diaspora as a whole. Rather than break the world of black people into localized regions and study each one individually, this volume encompasses large areas of the black world and emphasizes connections and interactions among them. The chapters are organized chronologically rather than regionally, and each chapter contrives to address most areas of the black world. More precisely, the analysis treats the African continent- its many regions and the details of its life-as equal in importance to the diaspora of Africans overseas. As will be argued in the chapters to come, the dynamics, conflicts, and discoveries of the African continent have been on a par with those of the Americas and the Old World diaspora. The interpretation sustains five themes throughout the book. The first theme, encompassing the others, is the connections that held together the African diaspora as a global community of mutual identification. The remaining, more specific themes are the discourse on race, the changes in economic life, the patterns of family life, and the evolution of popular culture. These five themes, explored through sequential chapters, are braided together to show the changing character of the social struggles that dominated each successive period of history throughout the African diaspora from 1400 to 2000. The cover illustration, Romare Bearden's She-ba (1970), anticipates several of the themes of this book. Bearden's collage, a decidedly modern work in its form, resonates with the heritage of the ages. The queen's dignity-her link to the welfare of her community-offers a vision of leadership viewed favorably on the African continent and in the New World diaspora. The image also evokes notions of family, culture, continuity, and visions of the future. Further, since the biblical Sheba is often linked not only to the Nile Valley but to Saba in South Arabia, this New World image makes a link to the Old World diaspora as well as the African continent. In this and other illustrations in the book, I have sought to present works and images created by black people. In certain cases, especially in chapter 2, I have selected views of diaspora blacks created by people outside their community. Otherwise, I have given priority to images conveying interpretive statements from black people about their world. I believe that some remarkable patterns of the past emerge from studying history at this scale. It may seem surprising-to readers used to studying history at the local level-to hear an argument that the histories of North America, South America, southern Africa, West Africa, the Ottoman Empire, and India could be substantially similar. Yet, in the mid-nineteenth century, slavery was under attack in all of these areas and, along with this renunciation of slavery, former slaves were rising to positions of responsibility in government. In addition, at the opening of the twentieth century, while slavery was abolished or nearly so, new forms of discrimination-again, in all of these regions of the world-had removed almost all black people from those positions of responsibility in government. This is just one of the many striking historical parallels throughout the black world that await discovery. In assembling this story of the global interactions and changes in the experience of black people, I have been guided by some big questions about the past and the future. First, the past: Why did world slavery grow to such an extent in the modern era? What have been the social contributions of black communities? How did black communities create their cultural advances? There are answers to these queries, but they cannot be compressed into a multiple-choice test. The chapters ahead take up the search for answers in many ways. At the same time, looking ahead is equally important in motivating our study of history. So here are some big questions about the future that have influenced the organization of this book: Will social equality ever be possible? Should reparations be granted for past injustice? Will racism end? What is the future of black identity? These questions, like those about the past, lie just beneath the surface of the narrative and analysis in the chapters to come. In the epilogue, I return to them and offer my responses. This book focuses on the drama, the transformation, the agony, and the renewal in the lives of Africans at home and abroad. Further, the book demonstrates that the African diaspora-a vast dispersal of black people across the African continent, the Americas, the European and Asian continents, and the islands of the great seas-adds up to a large and representative part of the human population, and its activities add up to a large part of human history. This story of African experiences confirms the interconnections that have linked human populations across the world. Tracing those experiences across time reveals that the issues of today-modernity, democracy, equality, progress-have been fought over in different ways over time. These past struggles were not simply archaic battles, however. On the contrary, they established patterns that continue to influence many aspects of life in the present world. Notes Preface 1. The version of sociologist Stuart Hall, while attentive to people of color, assumes that modernity began in Europe and slowly expanded, nation by nation. Historian C. A. Bayly, in his interpretation of the modern world, offers his only substantial discussion of the African diaspora late in his story: entitled "Slavery's Indian Summer," it rapidly recapitulates the history of slavery worldwide and wonders about the persistence of slavery at the end of the nineteenth century. (The cover illustration of Bayly's volume is a 1797 portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley, a Haitian political leader, but the text offers concise examples rather than sustained argument on the place of blacks in the birth of the modern world.) Immanuel Wallerstein's three-volume analysis of "the modern world-system" from 1500 to the 1840s notes some details and debates on slave trade, slave labor, and the Haitian revolution but does not elevate these into a major theme. Michel Beaud's history of capitalism, in multiple editions, leaves out Africans and people of African descent except for cursory references to slave labor. Stuart Hall et al., eds., Modernity: An Introduction to Modern Societies (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1996); C. A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), 402-410; Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System, 3 vols. (New York: Academic Press, 1974, 1980, 1989); and Michel Beaud, A History of Capitalism, 1500- 2000, trans. Tom Dickman and Anny Lefebvre (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001). For other interpretations of the modern world, confirming the pattern of scant attention paid to the place of black people, see David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989); Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1990); Anthony Giddens, Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1991); and Robert B. Marks, The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Century, 2nd ed. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007). 2. James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (New York: Dial Press, 1963); Cheikh-Anta Diop, Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural Basis for a Federated State, trans. Harold Salemson (Westport, Conn.: L. Hill, 1978); Aime Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism, trans. Joan Pinkham (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972); C. L. R. James, A History of Negro Revolt (New York: Haskell House, 1969); Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, rev. ed. (Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1981); Ali A. Mazrui, The Africans: A Triple Heritage (London: BBC Publications, 1986); V. Y. Mudimbe, The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988); Anthony Appiah, In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). See also Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 BC to 2000 AD, rev. ed. (Chicago: Third World Press, 1976). For a recent historical overview focusing on the United States, see Nell Irvin Painter, Creating Black Americans: African-American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Acknowledgments My first acknowledgment is to the people of Africa and the African diaspora, alive and among the ancestors, who created the experience of which I offer this chronicle. Taking up the task of recounting their past, with attention to honor and to truth, brought me excitement and anxiety. Writing it has brought me to look into the lives of black people throughout the world, and it has pulled together many aspects of my own academic life. I was encouraged ahead, despite the complexity of this task, by the thought that a broad overview of the African diaspora and its successive transformations will reaffirm some previously recognized patterns and will convey some new and global dimensions of issues that are commonly discussed mainly in national terms. I have sought to express my interpretation in explicit terms. I am comforted by the knowledge that others are now writing at this breadth, to ensure that there will be debates on the interpretation of the African diaspora, rather than an authorized story. I offer my thanks to Bruce Borland for leading me through the exercise of proposing the book. Several readers of the manuscript helped me to close off some of its paths and open others. The list begins with special appreciation to Robin Kilson for the repeated and sometimes hilarious sessions of debate, critical reading, and bibliographical hints, with which she helped me to revise substantial sections of the manuscript, especially the epilogue. Of my other colleagues in African-American Studies at Northeastern University, I have benefited from the insights of Jordan Gebre-Medhin, Robert L. Hall, Ronald Bailey, Kwamina Panford, and William F. S. Miles. Kim D. Butler and Mamadou Diouf read the manuscript with great insight and gave me the encouragement to make substantial modifications in organization and in argument. Colleagues in four other departments provided spirited responses to drafts of individual chapters: the department of history at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad (with special thanks to department chair Brinsley Samaroo and to Bridget Brereton and Claudius Fergus); the department of history and archaeology of the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica (with special thanks to department chair Swithin Wilmot and to Glen Richards); the department of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University (with special thanks to Emmanuel Akyeampong, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, and Henry Louis Gates); and the department of history at the University of Pittsburgh (with thanks to Alejandro de la Fuente, George Reid Andrews, Seymour Drescher, and Marcus Rediker). Kim Alan Pederson edited and commented on the manuscript with a level of skill and insight I have come to depend on. In addition, I offer my deep appreciation to Susan Manning, my companion in life, whose warmth and generosity have provided the appropriate mix of calmness and excitement, critique and reassurance.
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
African diaspora -- History.
Africa -- Civilization.
Blacks -- History.