Many Europeans saw Africa’s colonization as an exhibition of European racial ascendancy. African Christians saw Africa’s subjugation as a demonstration of European technological superiority. If the latter was the case, then the path to Africa’s liberation ran through the development of a competitive African technology.
In Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic, Andrew E. Barnes chronicles African Christians’ turn to American-style industrial educationparticularly the model that had been developed by Booker T. Washington at Alabama’s Tuskegee Instituteas a vehicle for Christian regeneration in Africa. Over the period 1880–1920, African Christians, motivated by Ethiopianism and itsconviction that Africans should be saved by other Africans, proposed and founded schools based upon the Tuskegee model.
Barnes follows the tides of the Black Atlantic back to Africa when African Christians embraced the new education initiatives of African American Christians and Tuskegee as the most potent example of technological ingenuity. Building on previously unused African sources, the book traces the movements to establish industrial education institutes in cities along the West African coast and in South Africa, Cape Province, and Natal.As Tuskegee and African schools modeled in its image proved, peoples of African descent couldand diddevelop competitive technology.
Thoughthe attempts by African Christians to create industrial education schools ultimatelyfailed, Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic demonstrates the ultimate success of transatlantic black identity andChristian resurgence in Africaat the turn of the twentieth century. Barnes’ study documents how African Christians sought to maintain indigenous identity and agency in the face ofcolonial domination by the stateand even theEuropean Christian missions of the church.
About the Author
Andrew E. Barnes is Associate Professor of History at Arizona State University.
Table of Contents
1 The Spectacle Reversed 7
Shaping the African Response to Missionary Christianity and European Conquest
2 Making People 31
Becoming Educators and Entrepreneurs at Hampton and Tuskegee
3 The Advancement of the African 55
Redefining Ethiopianism and the Challenge of Adversarial Christianity
4 An Attentive Ear 81
Hearing the Call of Booker T. and the Pathway to Industrial Education in West Africa
5 On the Same Lines as Tuskegee 107
Contesting Tuskegee and Government Intervention in South Africa
6 Men Who Can Build Bridges 133
Retrieving Washington's Influence in the Work of Marcus Garvey and Thomas Jesse Jones
Works Cited 191
What People are Saying About This
With over three decades of serious scholarship on Christianity, Andrew Barnes demonstrates yet again that he is at the forefront of originality and innovative scholarship. He emphasizes, with remarkable skill and compassion, how Africans extended ideas of modernization and education, thereby transforming Christianity itself, in this impressive book on the connection between religion, change, and progress.
Barnes traces an overlooked but important episode in South and West African intellectual history during which Africans and African American leaders allied through the medium of Protestant Christianity to define and promote a program of educational reform designed to empower Africans in the modern world. He deftly advances our appreciation of how intellectual life in colonial Africa, too long constrained by notions of resistance and domination, is indeed rich with creative agendas for change which drew on Black Atlantic currents.
Andrew Barnes brings to life an important but largely forgotten world: the ‘Christian black Atlantic’ of the early twentieth century. Carefully interweaving African American history with the histories of Western and Southern Africa, he reveals the complex strategies by which African Christians addressed colonialism and white racism, inspired by Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee. An authoritative, illuminating, and absorbing book.