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African & American: West Africans in Post-Civil Rights America

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Examines what it means to be African and American through the stories of recent West African immigrants

African & American tells the story of the much overlooked experience of first and second generation West African immigrants and refugees in the United States during the last forty years. Interrogating the complex role of post-colonialism in the recent history of black America, Marilyn Halter and Violet Showers Johnson highlight the intricate patterns of emigrant work and family adaptation, the evolving global ties with Africa and Europe, and the translocal connections among the West African enclaves in the United States.

Drawing on a rich variety of sources, including original interviews, personal narratives, cultural and historical analysis, and documentary and demographic evidence, African & American explores issues of cultural identity formation and socioeconomic incorporation among this new West African diaspora. Bringing the experiences of those of recent African ancestry from the periphery to the center of current debates in the fields of immigration, ethnic, and African American studies, Halter and Johnson examine the impact this community has had on the changing meaning of “African Americanness” and address the provocative question of whether West African immigrants are, indeed, becoming the newest African Americans.

ISBN-13: 9780814760703

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: New York University Press

Publication Date: 08-29-2014

Pages: 352

Product Dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Series: Nation of Nations #24

Marilyn Halter is Professor of History and American Studies at Boston Universityand Research Associate at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs. She is the author of Between Race and Ethnicity: Cape Verdean American Immigrants, 1860-1965 and Shopping for Identity: The Marketing of Ethnicity. Violet Showers Johnson is Professor of History and Director of Africana Studies at Texas A&M University. She is the author of The Other Black Bostonians: West Indians in Boston, 1900-1950.

Table of Contents

Preface: Griots from Different Shores ix
Introduction: The Newest African Americans? 1
1. West Africa and West Africans: Imagined Communities in Africa and the Diaspora 35
2. Occupational Detour: New Paths to Making a Living 75
3. Capturing a Niche: The West African Enclave Economy 115
4. Transnational Ties/Translocal Connections:
Traversing Nations, Cities, and Cultures 141
5. More Than Black: Resistance and Rapprochement 179
6. Young, Gifted, and West African: Transnational Migrants
Growing Up in America 211
Conclusion: Further into the Twenty-First Century 255
Notes 259
Bibliography 295
Index 323
About the Authors 335