Since the Herskovits‐Frazier debate of the 1940s, African diasporic research in the Americas has been marked not only by an uninterrupted focus on West Africa but also by an equally incessant neglect of the Akan. Accounting for 10 percent of the total number of African captives who embarked for the Americas, the Akan diaspora not only shaped and brought into sharp relief the diasporic themes of maroonage, resistance, and freedom but also complicated these themes in that the displaced Akan created their own social orders based on foundational cultural understandings. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Akan never constituted a majority among other Africans in the Americas, yet their leadership skills in warfare and political organization, medicinal knowledge of plant use and spiritual practice, and composite culture as archived in the musical traditions, language, and patterns of African diasporic life far surpassed what their actual numbers would suggest. The book argues that a composite culture calibrated between the Gold Coast (Ghana) littoral and the forest fringe made the contributions of the Akan diaspora possible. That argument calls attention to the historic formation of Akan culture in West Africa and its reach into the Americas, where the Akan experience in the former British, Danish, and Dutch colonies is explored. There, those early experiences foreground the contemporary movement of diasporic Africans and the Akan people between Ghana and North America. Indeed, the Akan experience provides for a better understanding of how the diasporic quilt came to be and is still becoming.


    90s Black Sitcoms, Ranked

    The Cosby Show, what has long been considered the greatest black sitcom of all time, celebrates its 30th anniversary in two weeks. That the show’s legendary run is marked by a return to a more diverse television landscape this fall seems fitting: NBC, ABC, and FOX, along with other networks, will debut a variety of shows that cast minority actors in lead roles (several are women of color). This push for more nuanced programming brings to mind the 1990s, a decade known for its rich portrayal of black life through shows like Living Single and Roc. Here, a completely indisputable ranking of black sitcoms that aired between 1990 and 1999.

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