Cover

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Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface: Griots from Different Shores

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pp. ix-xii

In West Africa, the griot is a staple in the preservation and presentation of the history of the region and the people. Griots, also known as wandering musicians, move extensively within their communities and beyond. In the process they expand their outlook and collect numerous diverse experiences that shape their craft. Although, fundamentally, griots’ expertise...

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Introduction: The Newest African Americans?

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pp. 1-34

In her memoir, My Heart Will Cross This Ocean, Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, the unarmed immigrant from Guinea who in 1999 was killed by four New York City police officers, discusses her response to how her son was described in the media:

None of this hurt me as much as...

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1. West Africa and West Africans: Imagined Communities in Africa and the Diaspora

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pp. 35-74

West Africa has laid its hand on the immigrants, refugees, naturalized Americans, and undocumented aliens of this study. Even their children, who migrated at an early age or were born in the United States, are not wholly free from it. As the premigration milieu, it was responsible for much of their formative experiences and continues to influence settlement...

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2. Occupational Detour: New Paths to Making a Living

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pp. 75-114

Three and a half centuries before Tajudeen Ajadi’s observation, when men, women, and children from West Africa were forcibly moved across the Atlantic to what later became the United States, they came not in planes but in the holds of slave vessels, where it was absolutely impossible, actually insane, to entertain dreams of success. Yet as...

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3. Capturing a Niche: The West African Enclave Economy

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pp. 115-140

As has been the case for many new immigrant groups before them, rather than joining the secondary labor force, just like the aspiring cab drivers who have become owners of medallions, some West Africans have gone into business for themselves as their strategy for making it in America. Some may have been entrepreneurs in their home countries...

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4. Transnational Ties/Translocal Connections: Traversing Nations, Cities, and Cultures

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pp. 141-178

Migration stories have always been about multiple locations. From the Puritans who carved out new communities influenced by their experiences in Europe to Italian men who went back and forth as “birds of passage” to more contemporary newcomers from the Dominican Republic who all but split their time in half between the two countries, American...

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5. More Than Black: Resistance and Rapprochement

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pp. 179-210

West Africans, like other black immigrants, have adapted and assimilated in three main domains—within the reconfigured African ethnicities, within the milieu of African Americans, and within mainstream America. Unlike their predecessors of the period of the initial making of the Atlantic World, the experiences of the newcomers have not been...

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6. Young, Gifted, and West African: Transnational Migrants Growing Up in America

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pp. 211-254

Ghanaian American Kofi Apraku, who came to the United States in his teens, recalled his first impressions:

I had been told that the United States is the ultimate land of opportunity, that the limit to one’s achievement is set only by one’s own imagination, and that a determined person can literally reach for the stars. . . . Didn’t America literally reach for the stars when it landed a man...

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Conclusion: Further into the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 255-258

We opened this book by posing the pivotal question of whether post–civil rights era immigrants from continental Africa are, indeed, becoming the newest African Americans. While Alpha Jalloh would likely agree that they are, others have been more skeptical. Consider linguistics and race relations scholar John McWhorter’s thoughts on this...

Notes

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pp. 259-294

Bibliography

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pp. 295-322

Index

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pp. 323-334

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About the Authors

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pp. 335-335

Marilyn Halter is Professor of History and American Studies at Boston University, where she is also a Research Associate at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs. Her books include Between Race and Ethnicity: Cape Verdean American Immigrants, 1860–1965 and...