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American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era / Edition 1

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Overview

In 1957 Ghana became one of the first sub-Saharan African nations to gain independence from colonial rule. Over the next decade, hundreds of African Americans—including Martin Luther King Jr., George Padmore, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Pauli Murray, and Muhammed Ali—visited or settled in Ghana. Kevin K. Gaines explains what attracted these expatriates to Ghana and how their new community was shaped by the convergence of the Cold War, the rise of the U.S. civil rights movement, and the decolonization of Africa.

Posing a direct challenge to U.S. hegemony, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's president, promoted a vision of African liberation, continental unity, and West Indian federation. Although the number of African American expatriates in Ghana was small, in espousing a transnational American citizenship defined by solidarities with African peoples, these activists waged along with their allies in the United States a fundamental, if largely forgotten, struggle over the meaning and content of the formal American citizenship conferred on African Americans by civil rights reform legislation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This is an important book that opens up new dimensions in the Pan-African history of the relationships established between Africa and the African diaspora in the modern period.--American Historical Review

In American Africans in Ghana, Kevin Gaines offers a richly detailed portrait of the community that gathered in Ghana around Nkrumah. He skillfully connects the lives of the 'returnees' with the wider history of the civil rights era in the United States and the politics of the cold war.--The New York Review of Books

A superb, scholarly text on pan-Africanism. Gaines gives a detailed analysis of the interconnections between African American and Caribbean activists and the pioneers of African decolonization in Ghana. The author leaves no stone unturned. . . . Essential.--Choice

Gaines has written an excellent and important book.--The Nation

Inspiring. . . . A valuable addition to the debate about the history of Pan-Africanism in Africa.--Journal of African History

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kevin K. Gaines is director of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies and professor of history at the University of Michigan. He is author of the award-winning Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture during the Twentieth Century, also from The University of North Carolina Press.

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