African Diaspora


The study of cultures in the is relatively young. Slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade brought numerous Africans, under forced and brutal conditions, to the New World. Of particular interest to many recent historians and Africanists is the extent to which Africans were able to transfer, retain, modify or transform their cultures under the conditions of their new environments. Three main schools of thought have emerged in scholarly discussion and research on this topic. Some argue that there are no significant connections between Africans and African American communities in the Americas. Others argue that Africans retained significant aspects of their cultures. Similar to this ...

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and Surinam supports the second and third arguments much more than the first. The third argument, that of cultural transformation, is the argument I find to be most valid. John Thornton's analysis of this issue is extremely helpful. He addresses the "no connections" arguments in chapters 6, 7 and 8. He outlines the claims made by scholars Franklin Frazier, Stanley Elkins, Sidney Mintz and Richard Price. Frazier and Mintz believe that the extreme trauma and disruption experienced by Africans during the process of enslavement and the middle passage minimized the possibility that they maintained aspects of their cultures in the new world. They argue that this process "had the effect of traumatizing and marginalizing them, so that they would became cultural receptacles rather than donors" (152). Mintz and Price have argued the slave trade had the effect of "permanently breaking numerous social bonds that had tied Africans together..." (153). Another element of the "no ...

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were interacting with Europeans and other Africans of different ethnic groups, adapting to the realities of their new environments and transforming elements of both old and new into their own African-American culture. (Bright & Broderick 10). Evidence exists that shows Africans were allowed enough associational time to form viable communities, that they maintained strong family structures and that they exercised a large degree of control in the raising their own children. An example for the argument of significant retention of Africanisms could be that of the Maroon communities in Surinam. In the film I Shall Molder Before I am Taken, we saw examples of African descendants separated from ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 12/22/2008 09:55:01 PM
Category: World History
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1633
Pages: 6

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