Event Title

Tracing Cultures of Resistance to Slavery in the Atlantic Diaspora: Extrapolations from Enslaved Igbo Experience

Event Type

Presentation

Location

EHFA 136

Start Date

6-3-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

6-3-2020 10:30 AM

Description

The present level of scholarly research into the different aspects of Igbo experience in slavery in the New World is no more than a preliminary excursion into a tangled gamut. Available demographic information shows that the Igbo of present day Nigeria constituted a large pool of enslaved Africans taken from the Bight of Biafra. Out of the estimated 1.7 million enslaved people taken away from this region of Africa into the trans-Atlantic Diaspora, about three-quarters or some 1.3 million were of Igbo origin. Such data are the result of emerging perspectives on the African cultural presence in the New World as opposed to an earlier school of thought which maintained that enslaved Africans were victims of cultural tabula rasa, without any common identifiable culture or ethnicity upon arrival in the Americas. Throughout the Atlantic Diaspora, from Bonny to colonial North America, to Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and Brazil and to the antebellum U.S. South, in the over 400 years of dehumanization, commoditization, and legalized violence against African peoples, the enslaved Igbo were known as ''bad slaves.'' This characterization could not be otherwise as the Igbo slaves carried to the New World their natural instinct of aversion for imposed authority which they demonstrated in the numerous revolts they staged to challenge their deplorable conditions in slavery. An example of this trend was the massive uprising that began in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) in 1791 which ultimately led to the independence of that nation on January 1, 1804. The independent nation's first President, Henri Christophe, was a former slave of Igbo descent. This presentation surveys the various episodes in which Igbo Africans attempted to resist their bondage in slavery in the Americas.

Comments

Theme: Africana Resistance; Moderator: Richard Aidoo, Coastal Carolina University

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Mar 6th, 9:00 AM Mar 6th, 10:30 AM

Tracing Cultures of Resistance to Slavery in the Atlantic Diaspora: Extrapolations from Enslaved Igbo Experience

EHFA 136

The present level of scholarly research into the different aspects of Igbo experience in slavery in the New World is no more than a preliminary excursion into a tangled gamut. Available demographic information shows that the Igbo of present day Nigeria constituted a large pool of enslaved Africans taken from the Bight of Biafra. Out of the estimated 1.7 million enslaved people taken away from this region of Africa into the trans-Atlantic Diaspora, about three-quarters or some 1.3 million were of Igbo origin. Such data are the result of emerging perspectives on the African cultural presence in the New World as opposed to an earlier school of thought which maintained that enslaved Africans were victims of cultural tabula rasa, without any common identifiable culture or ethnicity upon arrival in the Americas. Throughout the Atlantic Diaspora, from Bonny to colonial North America, to Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and Brazil and to the antebellum U.S. South, in the over 400 years of dehumanization, commoditization, and legalized violence against African peoples, the enslaved Igbo were known as ''bad slaves.'' This characterization could not be otherwise as the Igbo slaves carried to the New World their natural instinct of aversion for imposed authority which they demonstrated in the numerous revolts they staged to challenge their deplorable conditions in slavery. An example of this trend was the massive uprising that began in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) in 1791 which ultimately led to the independence of that nation on January 1, 1804. The independent nation's first President, Henri Christophe, was a former slave of Igbo descent. This presentation surveys the various episodes in which Igbo Africans attempted to resist their bondage in slavery in the Americas.