Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 [NOOK Book]

Overview

Penguin announces a prestigious new series under presiding editor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Many works of history deal with the journeys of blacks in bondage from Africa to the United States along the ?middle passage,? but there is also a rich and little examined history of African Americans traveling in the opposite direction. In Middle Passages, award-winning historian James T. Campbell vividly recounts more than two centuries of African ...
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Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005

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Overview

Penguin announces a prestigious new series under presiding editor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Many works of history deal with the journeys of blacks in bondage from Africa to the United States along the ?middle passage,? but there is also a rich and little examined history of African Americans traveling in the opposite direction. In Middle Passages, award-winning historian James T. Campbell vividly recounts more than two centuries of African American journeys to Africa, including the experiences of such extraordinary figures as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Richard Wright, Malcolm X, and Maya Angelou. A truly groundbreaking work, Middle Passages offers a unique perspective on African Americans? ever-evolving relationship with their ancestral homeland, as well as their complex, often painful relationship with the United States.


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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
Campbell is a master storyteller who engages the reader in the human drama of American blacks confronting cultural realities that do not always square with the myths of an imagined native land.... Campbell provides an artful reconstruction of the often bittersweet experience of return and reunion.
Library Journal
Reversing middle passage from Africans' forced transatlantic voyages as slaves to African Americans' voluntary journeys back to Africa, the prize-winning Campbell (American civilization, Africana studies & history, Brown Univ.; Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa) explores spiritual, political, psychological, and emotional dimensions of 220 years of blacks' reconnections with their ancestral homeland. Campbell shows how internal personal and group identities imprinted these itineraries even as the journeys demanded jettisoning preconceptions for black Americans in order to reimagine themselves and their kindred African blacks. His 12 chapters focus on the push and pull of the "Dark Continent" on leading African Americans, past and present, whose reflections illuminate answers to two intertwined questions central to African American history: What is Africa to me? What is America to me? Sweeping in scope, rich in detail, and pointed with insights, Campbell's tour de force offers much to ponder about the African American past and present. Essential for collections on African American history, literature, and culture, the Atlantic world, the black diaspora, Pan Africanism, or what might be called black globalization. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05.]-Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Campbell (History/Brown Univ.) assembles a fine look at various homecomings to a continent that was not often welcoming, for many of the stolen sons and daughters of Africa returned to find that they were now truly "American."Some, like Richard Pryor, joked about it, while others, such as Eddie Harris and Maya Angelou, found the situation disturbing. The first great travelers presented here are fascinating characters nearly lost to history: the Muslim nobleman Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, ransomed from slavery in Maryland by sympathetic Londoners in 1733 and returned to Gambia (where, ironically, he became a slaver); the musician Newport Gardner, author of "the first compositions published by a black person in American history," who finally returned to Africa from Rhode Island as an old man, having tried for years to make the crossing. Campbell sets forth that leaders such as Thomas Jefferson encouraged such homecomings, inasmuch as they meant that blacks would leave America; he even made inquiries about whether the British government would accept black Americans in the new colony of Sierra Leone. Many African-Americans did travel to West Africa in resettlement schemes, and many died en route, while "many of those that survived immediately began searching for ways to return to the United States." So it was with author Richard Wright, who traveled to Ghana to witness independence and was terribly alienated by the corruption he found, and Era Bell Thompson, whose Egyptian experiences led her to "thank God for the Stars and Stripes." Yet others, such as W.E.B. DuBois, found that they liked being among the privileged elite. In the end, Campbell observes, there are as many kinds of homecomings asthere are travelers. A well-conceived and solidly written perspective on the African diaspora.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440649417
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 338,125
  • File size: 618 KB

Meet the Author

James T. Campbell (B.A. Yale University, 1980; Ph.D. Stanford University, 1989) is an associate professor of American civilization, Africana studies and history at Brown University. His research focuses on African American history and on the wider history of the black Atlantic. He is the author of Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa (Oxford University Press, 1995), which in 1996 was awarded the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Prize and the Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Nonfiction.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : what is Africa to me?
Prologue : Ayuba's journey 1
1 Windward coast 15
2 Representing the race 57
3 Emigration or extermination 99
4 Mundele Ndom 136
5 So long, so far away 188
6 The spell of Africa 226
7 Native son, American daughter 268
8 Black star 315
9 Counting the bodies 365
Epilogue : the language we cry in 405
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Remarkable read.

    This book is incredible. Campbell's storytelling style of recounting the passages of African Americans to Africa is riveting and keeps my eyes glued to every page. A must read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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