Most of the books we’ve read for Centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Voices focus on the American experience. In April, we’ll travel over the sea to change our perceptions about the history of Africans in Europe. Olivette Otele, a Professor of History of Slavery and Memory of Enslavement in the UK offers us a book detailing a long history of African involvement in European countries.
Writing for the New York Journal of Books, Eric Martone describes Otele’s African Europeans: an untold history with these words:
“Although her narrative sheds light on a painful history of violence and exclusion, it also illuminates the extraordinary achievements and contributions African Europeans have made within European society. She investigates the complex, interconnected histories of people of African and European descent. To accomplish this, Otele uses the lives of several memorable men and women who came from Africa to shape European history as a means to reflect on the changing relationship between Africa and Europe. She also adeptly analyzes the subtleties of identity formation, and argues that racist European views about Africans solidified as a result of the Atlantic slave trade and subsequent colonial occupation of Africa.”
The book is available from Amazon in ebook, print and audio versions. Join the discussion on Saturday, April 9th, at 3:30 p.m. Contact Robin Gray for the Zoom link, and other information the book group.
In May and June we’ll discuss The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story. We’re going to take two months to read and thoroughly digest this 600 page volume. The book drew criticism, not just from conservatives, but also from some distinguished professors of history dedicated to expanding an understanding of race and racism in America. An early criticism and a rebuttal can be found at “Criticisms of the 1619 Project”, by Diane Ravitch (https://dianeravitch.net/2021/06/06/criticisms-of-the-1619-project/).
You won’t know what to think about this major work unless you take time to read it yourself. Won’t you join the discussion, too?