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Description - Brothers and Strangers by Ibrahim Sundiata

"Brothers and Strangers" is a vivid history of how, during the interwar years, the mythic Africa of the black American imagination ran into the realities of Africa the place. In the 1920s, Marcus Garvey - convinced that freedom from oppression was not possible for blacks in the Americas - led the last great African American emigrationist movement. His US-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 riven with contradictions. Racked by class and ethnic divisions, Liberia, like other nations in colonial Africa, was marred by labour abuse. Sundiata's account is based on extensive archival research, including work in the Liberian National Archives. As he explains, Garvey'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 labour conditions and, damningly, the United States, land of lynching and Jim Crow, accused Liberia of promoting "conditions analogous to slavery". Subsequently various plans were put forward for a League Mandate or an American administration to put down slavery and "modernize" the country. Threatened with a loss of its independence, the Liberian government turned to its "brothers beyond the sea" for support. A varied group of white and black anti-imperialists, among them W.E.B. DuBois, took up the country'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 locations as disparate as Sudan, Mauritania, and Cote d'Ivoire.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780822332473
ISBN-10: 0822332477
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 140mm x mm)
Pages: 456
Imprint: Duke University Press
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publish Date: 3-Feb-2004
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Ibrahim Sundiata

Ibrahim Sundiata is Spector Professor of History and African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University. He is the author, most recently, of From Slaving to Neoslavery: The Bight of Biafra and Fernando Po in the Era of Abolition, 1827-1930. Click here to visit Professor Sundiata's website.