American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era [NOOK Book]

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

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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 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
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.
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