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

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

by Kevin K. Gaines
     
 

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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 Muhammad Ali--visited or settled in Ghana. Kevin K. Gaines explains what attracted these Americans to… See more details below

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 Muhammad Ali--visited or settled in Ghana. Kevin K. Gaines explains what attracted these Americans 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.

Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's president, posed a direct challenge to U.S. hegemony by promoting 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 along with their allies in the United States waged a fundamental, if largely forgotten, struggle over the meaning and content of the cornerstone of American citizenship--the right to vote--conferred on African Americans by civil rights reform legislation.

When the West African nation of Ghana gained its independence from British colonial rule in 1957, people of African descent the world over celebrated the new nation as a beacon for their aspirations for freedom and self-determination. Over the next decade, hundreds of African Americans--including Martin Luther King Jr., George Padmore, W. E. B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Pauli Murray, C. L. R. James, and Muhammad 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Contributes to various subfields of African American history, including the modern Civil Rights Movement, African American-centered Pan-Africanist thought, African American intellectual history, Afro-diasporic consciousness, and the vital, enduring African American-African political connection.—Journal of African American History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807867822
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
12/30/2012
Series:
John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
1,272,293
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
The product of a decade of research on both sides of the Atlantic, this study is destined to be known as a classic of the new intellectual history of diaspora. Gaines unearths the complex and shifting roles of African American and Caribbean artists and activists in Nkrumah's Ghana during the early years of independence. With its breathtaking cast of characters—expatriates, exiles, pilgrims, transients—this book gives unprecedented insight into both the promise and the challenge of Pan-Africanism.—Brent Hayes Edwards, author of The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism

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