"Ethiopia's Dawn: Messianic Black Nationalism in Inter-War North America"
Speaker: Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, William Lyon Mackenzie King Postdoctoral Fellow, WCFIA Canada Program, and Lecturer, Department of History, Harvard University
Chair: Ronald Niezen, William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies and Katharine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society and Public Policy, Faculties of Law and of Arts, McGill University
Lunch will be provided if you register by clicking the sign up link below.
Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey is a historian of the twentieth-century United States who studies the historical intersections of the United States, Canada, and the African Diaspora. Adjetey's manuscript, Cross-Border Cosmopolitans: The Making of a Pan-African North America, 1919-1992, is under review for publication. He earned the Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. at Yale University in History and African American Studies.
This presentation maps the emergence of a mystical, messianic doctrine of transnational Black Nationalism in North America. Excavating the writings of African American expatriate newspaper publishers in Canada and the activism of Pan-Africanists of various ethnic and national backgrounds, the chapter explains how African Americans blended their philosophy of racial uplift with the militant Black Nationalism that Caribbean immigrants brought to Canada and the United States. In Canada, unlike the United States, the followers of integrationist W.E.B. Du Bois and separatist Marcus Garvey, complemented each other. The resulting syncretism between Garveyites and those who fought for citizenship in North America helped create a Pan-African racial identity in North America that privileged Canadian soil as a legitimate although imperfect diasporic homeland. In their pursuit of racial redemption, Pan-Africanists believed that one could discover Ethiopia in North America. For Anglicized diasporic Africans, Ethiopia not only symbolized the greatness of a black past, but also the brilliance of a black future as foretold in Hebrew Scripture.