Becoming African in America: Race and Nation in the Early Black Atlantic by James SidburyBecoming African in America: Race and Nation in the Early Black Atlantic by James Sidbury

Becoming African in America: Race and Nation in the Early Black Atlantic

byJames Sidbury

Paperback | April 10, 2009

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The first slaves imported to America did not see themselves as "African" but rather as members of ethnic groups such as the Temne, Igbo, or Yoruban. In Becoming African in America, James Sidbury reveals how an African identity emerged in the late eighteenth-century Atlantic world, tracing thedevelopment of "African" from a degrading term connoting savage people to a word that was a source of pride and unity for the diverse victims of the Atlantic slave trade. In this wide-ranging work, Sidbury first examines the work of black writers - such as Ignatius Sancho in England and Phillis Wheatley in America - who created a narrative of African identity that took its meaning from the diaspora, a narrative that began with enslavement and the experience of theMiddle Passage, allowing people of various ethnic backgrounds to become "African" by virtue of sharing the oppression of slavery. He looks at political activists who worked within the emerging antislavery moment in England and North America in the 1780s and 1790s; he describes the rise of theAfrican church movement in various cities - most notably, the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church as an independent denomination - and the efforts of wealthy sea captain Paul Cuffe to initiate a black-controlled emigration movement that would forge ties between Sierra Leone andblacks in North America; and he examines in detail the efforts of blacks to emigrate to Africa, founding Sierra Leone and Liberia. Elegantly written and astutely reasoned, Becoming African in America weaves together intellectual, social, cultural, religious, and political threads into an important contribution to African American history, one that fundamentally revises our picture of the rich and complicated roots of Africannationalist thought in the U.S. and the black Atlantic.
James Sidbury is a Professor of History at the University of Texas, Austin.
Title:Becoming African in America: Race and Nation in the Early Black AtlanticFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:April 10, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195382943

ISBN - 13:9780195382945

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Africa and Africans in the Poetry of Phillis Wheatley and the Letters of Ignatius Sancho2. Toward a Transformed Africa: The Second Generation of "African" Writers3. African Identity and the Movements for 'Return': African Institutions and Emigration in the 1780s and 90s4. Out of America: Sierra Leone's Settler Society and Its Meanings for "Africans" in America5. African Identity at the Beginning of the New Century: Politics, Religion, and Emigrationism6. African Churches and the Struggle for an African Nation: Paul Cuffe, The African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the American Colonization SocietyEpilogue: The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and Renewed Assertions of African Identity

Editorial Reviews

"The American Revolution gave the example of a new nation born of the promise of freedom. Enslaved and formerly enslaved persons sensed that God was now calling them forth to form a new African nation, spanning the Atlantic and parting the waters to re-enter and redeem Africa itself. Thecompelling narratives in Sidbury's book not only unfold vital chapters of the African American story, they also write a page of world history for all to read." --Rhys Isaac, author of the Transformation of Virginia and Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom