Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Nov 5, 2009 - Social Science - 248 pages
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Enslaved peoples were brought to the Americas from many places in Africa, but a large majority came from relatively few ethnic groups. Drawing on a wide range of materials in four languages as well as on her lifetime study of slave groups in the New World, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall explores the persistence of African ethnic identities among the enslaved over four hundred years of the Atlantic slave trade.

Hall traces the linguistic, economic, and cultural ties shared by large numbers of enslaved Africans, showing that despite the fragmentation of the diaspora many ethnic groups retained enough cohesion to communicate and to transmit elements of their shared culture. Hall concludes that recognition of the survival and persistence of African ethnic identities can fundamentally reshape how people think about the emergence of identities among enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Americas, about the ways shared identity gave rise to resistance movements, and about the elements of common African ethnic traditions that influenced regional creole cultures throughout the Americas.


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Page xiii - In the midst of this advance and uplift this slave trade and slavery spread more human misery, inculcated more disrespect for and neglect of humanity, a greater callousness to suffering, and more petty, cruel, human hatred than can well be calculated.

About the author (2009)

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall is senior research fellow at Tulane University, professor emerita of history at Rutgers University, and International Advisory Board Member of the Harriet Tubman Resource Center on the African Diaspora at York University, Toronto. She is author of several books as well as a CD and website database on Afro-Louisiana history and genealogy.

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