Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Nov 9, 2000 - Social Science - 384 pages
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The transatlantic slave trade brought individuals from diverse African regions and cultures to a common destiny in the American South. In this comprehensive study, Michael Gomez establishes tangible links between the African American community and its African origins and traces the process by which African populations exchanged their distinct ethnic identities for one
defined primarily by the conception of race. He examines transformations in the politics, social structures, and religions of slave populations through 1830, by which time the contours of a new African American identity had begun to emerge.


After discussing specific ethnic groups in Africa, Gomez follows their movement to North America, where they tended to be amassed in recognizable concentrations within individual colonies (and, later, states). For this reason, he argues, it is possible to identify particular ethnic cultural influences and ensuing social formations that heretofore have been considered unrecoverable. Using sources pertaining to the African continent
as well as runaway slave advertisements, ex-slave narratives, and folklore, Gomez reveals concrete and specific links between particular African populations and their North American progeny, thereby shedding new light on subsequent African American social formation.

 

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Contents

Veseys Challenge
1
Time and Space
17
Warriors Charms and Loas Senegambia and the Bight of Benin
38
Prayin on duh Bead Islam in Early America
59
Societies and Stools Sierra Leone and the Akan
88
I Seen Folks Disappeah The Igbo and West Central Africa
114
Talking Half African Middle Passage Seasoning and Language
154
Tads Query Ethnicity and Class in African America
186
Turning Down the Pot Christianity and the AfricanBased Community
244
The Least of These
291
Census Estimates for 1790 1800 1810 1820 and 1830
293
Notes
297
Selected Bibliography
349
Index
359
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Michael A. Gomez is a professor of history at New York University.

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