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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The antinomies of black identity formation in West Africa, 1820-1848
Author:Brewer, HerbertISNI
Periodical:African Historical Review (ISSN 1753-2531)
Geographic terms:Liberia
United States
African Americans
black consciousness
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17532523.2011.596618
Abstract:During the mid-nineteenth century, a group of United States-born property-holding free blacks struggled to establish themselves and fashion a new polity in Liberia on the coast of West Africa. In doing so, these Liberians embraced a pair of simultaneously complementary and opposing aspirations: first, the insertion, entrenchment and expansion of a successful black commercial bourgeoisie into the global Atlantic economy of the nineteenth century, an aspiration tied to and dependent upon the accumulation of capital and the creation of a State which would operate in the interests of this group and no other. Secondly, they aspired to the creation and institutionalization of a separate and distinct black nationality - a black identity - that covered the entire spectrum of people of African descent, that held out the prospect of solidarity for all black people in republican equality and citizenship, and that subsumed all other classes and categories of black people under the tent of the imagined black nation. In this way they contributed to the uneven, reciprocal and trans-Atlantic work of black identity formation during the middle of the nineteenth century. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]