Historian Caree Banton Publishes New Book on Race and Identity in Atlantic WorldHistorians in the News
tags: books, book reviews, Race, Atlantic
A new book explores migration to the West African Republic of Liberia and its effects on ideas of Blackness and pan-African identity. Published by Cambridge University Press, More Auspicious Shores: Barbadian Migration to Liberia, Blackness, and the Making of an African Republic chronicles the migration of Afro-Barbadians to Liberia, a colony originally created by the American Colonization Society for American Blacks. In 1865, when 346 British Afro-Barbadians fled Caribbean for the then independent Liberia instead of the nearby British colony of Sierra Leone, it opened up several questions about the nature of British post-emancipation freedom, citizenship, and nationhood. The Barbadians had come to view Liberia as a means of achieving their post-emancipation goals and promoting a pan-Africanist agenda while simultaneously fulfilling their 'civilizing' and 'Christianizing' duties.
Professor Caree Banton, the book's author, closely examines the Afro-Barbadians and provides a transatlantic approach to understanding the political and sociocultural consequences of their migration and settlement in Africa. Banton reveals how, as former British subjects, Afro-Barbadians navigated an inherent tension between ideas of pan-Africanism and colonial superiority. Upon their arrival in Liberia, an English imperial identity distinguished the Barbadians from African Americans and secured them privileges in the Republic's hierarchy above the other group. By fracturing assumptions of a homogeneous Black identity, Banton ultimately demonstrates how Afro-Barbadian settlement in Liberia influenced ideas of Blackness in the Atlantic World.
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