Brothers and Strangers

Brothers and Strangers

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Unprecedented in scope and detail, Brothers and Strangers is a vivid history of how the mythic Africa of the black American imagination ran into the realities of Africa the place. In the 1920s, Marcus Garveya€”convinced that freedom from oppression was not possible for blacks in the Americasa€”led the last great African American emigrationist movement. His U.S.-based Universal Negro Improvement Association worked with the Liberian government to create a homeland for African Americans. Ibrahim Sundiata explores the paradox at the core of this project: Liberia, the chosen destination, was itself racked by class and ethnic divisions anda€”like other nations in colonial Africaa€”marred by labor abuse. In an account based on extensive archival research, including work in the Liberian National Archives, Sundiata explains how Garveya€™s plan collapsed when faced with opposition from the Liberian elite, opposition that belied his vision of a unified Black World. In 1930 the League of Nations investigated labor conditions and, damningly, the United States, land of lynching and Jim Crow, accused Liberia of promoting a€œconditions analogous to slavery.a€ Subsequently various plans were put forward for a League Mandate or an American administration to put down slavery and a€œmodernizea€ the country. Threatened with a loss of its independence, the Liberian government turned to its a€œbrothers beyond the seaa€ for support. A varied group of white and black anti-imperialists, among them W. E. B. Du Bois, took up the countrya€™s cause. In revealing the struggle of conscience that bedeviled many in the black world in the past, Sundiata casts light on a human rights predicament which, he points out, continues in twenty-first-century African nations as disparate as Sudan, Mauritania, and the Ivory Coast.A decree of July 15, 1918, authorized a two-year reengagement of workers who had completed their contracts.8 But early ... which allowed him to repair guns for the Grebo (he had married a Grebo woman in 1902) and make a healthy profit.

Title:Brothers and Strangers
Author: Ibrahim Sundiata
Publisher:Duke University Press - 2004-01-13

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