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African Diaspora in the United States and Canada at the Dawn of the 21st Century, The

John W. Frazier, Joe T. Darden, Norah F. Henry

Publication Year: 2010

Offers important new perspectives on the African Diaspora in North America. Drawing on the work of social scientists from geographic, historical, sociological, and political science perspectives, this volume offers new perspectives on the African Diaspora in the United States and Canada. It has been approximately four centuries since the first Africans set foot in North America, and although it is impossible for any text to capture the complete Black experience on the continent, the persistent legacy of Black inequality and the winds of dramatic change are inseparable parts of the current African Diaspora experience. In addition to comparing and contrasting the experiences and geographic patterns of the African Diaspora in the United States and Canada, the book also explores important distinctions between the experiences of African Americans and those of more recent African and Afro-Caribbean immigrants.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: Global Academic Publishing

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

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pp. v

We are grateful for the opportunity to edit this volume. Our deepest thanks are extended to our chapter authors, who represent both native-born and foreign-born people of the African Diasporas in the United States and Canada, as well as other ethnicities from various ethnic backgrounds from around the world. We thank the authors for their perseverance in writing and rewriting their manuscripts to meet the recommendations of the editors and reviewers. ...


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pp. vii-viii

Section 1: An Introduction

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Chapter 1: An Introduction to the African Diasporain the United States and Canada at the Dawn of the 21st Century

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pp. 1-10

Approximately four centuries ago the first African set foot in North America, yet it is impossible for any text to capture the complete Black experience on the continent. As the 21st century begins, the persistent legacy of Black inequality and the winds of dramatic change are inseparable parts of the current African Diaspora in the United States and Canada. It is an onerous task to embrace both dimensions in a single text, especially given the two distinct cultural histories and separate policies of two very different places. ...

Section 2: Perspectives on the African Diaspora in Canada

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Chapter 2: The African Diaspora in Canada

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pp. 13-34

The word “diaspora” is derived from the ancient Greek “diaspeiro,” which means “to sow or scatter from one end to the other” (Vertovec 2006, p. 5). According to Vertovec (2006), a diaspora is commonly defined as a self-identified ethnic group with a specific place of origin that has been globally dispersed through voluntary or forced migration. An important aspect in the study of the diaspora of any group is the extent to which the group has become integrated into mainstream society, as measured by certain socioeconomic indicators including educational attainment, income, occupational equality, unemployment, and homeownership and residential segregation. ...

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Chapter 3: The African Diaspora in Montréal and Halifax: A Comparative Overview of “the Entangled Burdens of Race, Class, and Space”

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pp. 35-48

Canada, like most immigrant-receiving nations of the West, is home to many visible minorities, some of whom have arrived only recently, while others, including the African Diaspora, have a long history in this country. In 2001, some 13 percent of the Canadian population belonged to a visible minority group. It is estimated that by 2017 roughly one in every five people in Canada could be a visible minority (Statistics Canada 2005). The African Diaspora is the third largest visible minority group in the country, surpassed only by Chinese and South Asians. ...

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Chapter 4: The African Diaspora: Historical and Contemporary Immigration and Employment Practices in Toronto

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pp. 49-60

Toronto, Canada’s most ethnically and racially diverse CMA, has served as a magnet for people of African descent. Statistics Canada (2006) recorded 310,500 Blacks living in the Toronto CMA in 2001, 7 percent of the total population, and the highest proportion among Canada’s CMAs.1 As of 2001, 178,250 (57 percent) of Toronto’s Blacks were immigrants, and 73 percent of these foreign-born Blacks were from the Caribbean. ...

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Chapter 5: Housing Experiences of New African Immigrants and Refugees in Toronto

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pp. 61-80

One of the defining characteristics of recent immigration to Canada has been its cultural and racial heterogeneity. Not only have the source countries of immigrants to Canada and its largest city, Toronto, changed from predominantly West European to a greater proportion of immigrants from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America, but also recent immigrants tend to come from a wider spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds (Bourne and Rose 2001; Murdie and Teixeira 2003). ...

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Chapter 6: Race, Place, and Social Mobility of Jamaicans in Toronto

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pp. 81-90

Multiculturalism reflects a range of racial, ethnic, and national groups. The city of Toronto, known for multiculturalism, houses a Jamaican population that has made a significant mark on the city’s cultural landscape. Large scale Jamaican migration to Toronto began in the mid-20th century, primarily with Jamaican women migrating as domestic workers. Changes in Canadian immigration policies in 1962 that lifted the restrictions on immigrants from non-European countries facilitated Jamaican immigration to Toronto, peaking in the 1970s...

Section 3: Perspectives on the U.S. African Diaspora

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Chapter 7: A Perspective of the African Diaspora in the United States

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pp. 93-105

The dispersion of population resulting from international migration frequently occurs unheeded. African migrations are an example. However, when the Schomburg Center launched a website on African-American migration,1 several newspaper articles commented on recent African migration. For example, a February 21st New York Times article had a headline reading: “More Africans enter U.S. than in days of slavery,” and noting that...

Theme 1: Persistence of Inequalities

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Chapter 8: Austin: A City Divided

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pp. 109-122

Segregation means “to set apart from others or from the main mass or group; to isolate” (Webster 1983). Because segregation frequently stems from callousness, it may be a difficult subject to discuss. To acknowledge it today is an admission that despite over 150 years of laws and court decisions, behaviors and attitudes have not changed universally. ...

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Chapter 9: The African Diaspora in a Changing Metropolitan Region: The Case of Atlanta, Georgia

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pp. 123-133

Metropolitan Atlanta has experienced constant growth through the 1900s. With population growing at an annual rate of 2.9 percent since 1950, in the 1960s Atlanta established its regional dominance. During the 1970s and 1980s the city of Atlanta proper, became increasingly Black, and experienced a steady decrease in its share of the metropolitan population. Metropolitan Atlanta continued to experience breakneck growth from the 1990s through 2004 (Frey 2006), with African American in-migrants comprising much of the new resident group. ...

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Chapter 10: Geographic Racial Equality in America’s Most Segregated Metropolitan Area—Detroit

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pp. 135-145

Although racial inequality is the predominant pattern in metropolitan Detroit, geographic racial equality also exists, though it is often ignored. Geographic racial equality is defined as those places (i.e., municipalities) that have been incorporated and have low levels of racial residential segregation (below 50 percent) and where Blacks have reached parity with Whites in education, income, and occupational status. ...

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Chapter 11: Place, Race and Displacement Following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

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pp. 147-159

Derived from the Latin platea (street) and Greek plateia/platys (broad), place refers to “a particular area or locality; region . . . the part of space occupied by a person or thing; situation.” (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1370). Geographically, place is the site where life is rooted and sustained. Place retains meaningful organization to the people who reside there and provides links to other places. ...

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Chapter 12: Black New York City Out-Migrants, 1995–2000: Opportunity and Destination Choice

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pp. 161-182

As noted in chapter 1, immigration and race policies and practices play considerable roles in the locations and characteristics of domestic and immigrant groups. Black movements have changed American landscapes, but native-born Blacks and foreign born migrants may have different destination choices, because they have different experiences. ...

Theme 2: Perspectives on Recent Black Immigrants

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Chapter 13: Deconstructing the Black Populations of New York City and Miami-Dade County

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pp. 185-211

The Black populations of the United States as a whole, New York City (NYC) and Miami-Dade County (Miami) are particularly interesting groups to compare and contrast with one another because of intriguing similarities and differences. In some ways, New York City and Miami may be seen as harbingers for the changes likely to occur over the next decades in the composition of the Black population across the United States. ...

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Chapter 14: Jamaicans in Broward County, Florida

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pp. 213-242

The last half century has witnessed nearly three million arrivals from nations around the world into New York City, making it a continuous immigrant gateway. Immigration law (Kraly and Miyares 2001; Foner 2001) and powerful ethnic networks (Massey 1999) have been credited for the recent and continuing surge. Caribbean flows have been particularly strong to New York City. ...

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Chapter 15: Africans in Washington, DC: Ethiopian Ethnic Institutions and Immigrant Adjustment

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pp. 243-256

Historically, for immigrants to the United States, ethnic institutions and organizations provided spaces where customs and traditions were practiced and preserved, and also provided support structures that aided in adjustment to a new setting with unfamiliar cultural mores. Religious ethnic institutions such as churches, mosques and synagogues, secular organizations such as ethnic clubs, professional associations, and ethnic media, as well as enterprises like ethnic stores...

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Chapter 16: Somalis in Maine

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pp. 257-270

Somalis are a part of the recent African Diaspora to North America. Studying the migration of Somalis from the dry, tropical “Horn of Africa” to moist, cold Maine is an exceptional opportunity to elucidate an array of fundamental cultural geography concepts as they apply to significant contemporary events. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the cultural geography of Somali migration from Somalia to cities and towns in the United States...

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Chapter 17: Liberians and African Americans: Settlement and Ethnic Separation in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area

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pp. 271-285

Nuanced landscapes and staple foods provide significant insight into the socio-cultural history of a people. In this chapter the focus is on how Liberians, as recent African immigrants, change established urban landscapes to reflect their cultural heritage, and how Liberians and other recent African immigrants convert existing residential communities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN to residences that are culturally comfortable and welcoming for them. ...

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Chapter 18: Globalization and Ghanaian Immigrant Trajectories to Cincinnati: Who Benefits?

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pp. 287-305

Anyone following the immigration debate in the United States may get the impression that it is a Latino issue only (see Taylor 2005; Wilson 1999), yet over the past thirty years there has been a growing movement of Sub-Saharan Africans to the United States, mostly voluntarily but in some cases as forced immigrants (Takyi and Boate 2007). ...

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Chapter 19: Ethnic Small-Business Relocations: A Case Study in the Bronx, NY, 2007

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pp. 307-325

New York City, a continuous immigrant gateway since the 1700s, today has a significant and growing immigrant population of foreign-born Latinos, Asians, and people of the African Diaspora. Among New York City’s boroughs, the Bronx represents a microcosm of the New York City migration system and provides an excellent source for case studies. ...

Section 4: Summary and Conclusions

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Chapter 20: The African Diaspora in the United States and Canada at the Dawn of the 21st Century: Themes and Concluding Perspectives

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pp. 329-337

The purpose of this final chapter is to revisit some of the key organizational themes and concepts of the text to underscore their relevance and to provide some additional perspectives about the African Diaspora in the U.S. and Canada at the dawn of the twenty-first century. We began with the premise that the origin and recent expansion of this Diaspora have been influenced by global forces. Historically, the international slave trade shaped the forced movements from Africa to the Western Hemisphere. ...

Works Cited

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pp. 339-369

About the Authors

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pp. 371-373

E-ISBN-13: 9781438436852
E-ISBN-10: 1438436858
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438436845
Print-ISBN-10: 143843684X

Page Count: 383
Illustrations: 3 color photographs, 32 b/w photographs, 51 maps, 54 tables, 12 figures
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Series Title: Global Academic Publishing

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Race identity.
  • Blacks -- Race identity -- Canada
  • African Americans -- Social conditions.
  • Blacks -- Canada -- Social conditions
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • Canada -- Race relations.
  • African diaspora.
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