In this Book

Congo Love Song
summary
In his 1903 hit "Congo Love Song," James Weldon Johnson recounts a sweet if seemingly generic romance between two young Africans. While the song's title may appear consistent with that narrative, it also invokes the site of King Leopold II of Belgium's brutal colonial regime at a time when African Americans were playing a central role in a growing Congo reform movement. In an era when popular vaudeville music frequently trafficked in racist language and imagery, "Congo Love Song" emerges as one example of the many ways that African American activists, intellectuals, and artists called attention to colonialism in Africa.

In this book, Ira Dworkin examines black Americans' long cultural and political engagement with the Congo and its people. Through studies of George Washington Williams, Booker T. Washington, Pauline Hopkins, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, and other figures, he brings to light a long-standing relationship that challenges familiar presumptions about African American commitments to Africa. Dworkin offers compelling new ways to understand how African American involvement in the Congo has helped shape anticolonialism, black aesthetics, and modern black nationalism.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xvi
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  1. Abbreviations Used in the Text
  2. pp. xvii-xx
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  1. Introduction. James Weldon Johnson’s Transnational Vaudeville
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. Part I. The Nineteenth-Century Routes of Black Transnationalism
  2. pp. 17-18
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  1. Chapter 1. George Washington Williams’s Stern Duty of History
  2. pp. 19-48
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  1. Chapter 2. William Henry Sheppard’s Country of My Forefathers
  2. pp. 49-77
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  1. Chapter 3. Booker T. Washington’s African at Home
  2. pp. 78-106
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  1. Part II. The Twentieth-Century Cultures of the American Congo
  2. pp. 107-108
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  1. Chapter 4. Missionary Cultures: The American Presbyterian Congo Mission, Althea Brown Edmiston, and the Languages of the Congo
  2. pp. 109-138
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  1. Chapter 5. Literary Cultures: The Black Press, Pauline E. Hopkins, and the Rewriting of Africa
  2. pp. 139-162
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  1. Chapter 6. Visual Cultures: Hampton Institute, William Sheppard’s Kuba Collection, and African American Art
  2. pp. 163-200
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  1. Part III. The Congo in Modern African American Poetics and Politics
  2. pp. 201-202
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  1. Chapter 7. Near the Congo: Langston Hughes and the Geopolitics of Internationalist Poetry
  2. pp. 203-223
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  1. Chapter 8. Another Black Magazine with a Lumumba Poem: Patrice Lumumba and African American Poetry
  2. pp. 224-256
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  1. Chapter 9. The Chickens Coming Home to Roost: Malcolm X, the Congo, and Modern Black Nationalism
  2. pp. 257-287
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 288-294
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  1. Appendix. Malcolm X on the Congo, February 14, 1965, Detroit
  2. pp. 295-298
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 299-362
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 363-416
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  1. Credits
  2. pp. 417-418
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 419-440
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  1. Color Plates
  2. pp. a-h
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