Book Review – African Immigrants and African Americans: Community or Conflict

In 1957, the African Gold Coast, Ghana became an independent nation. A Graduate Student of Mass Institute of Technology’s Center for International Communication became interested in the way African-Americans felt about a newly independent African Nation and vice versa. That Student, Dr Eugene Walton surveyed African-American Elites in the greater Boston Area during that time and was impressed by the results. He would carry those feelings with him to Africa five years later to conclude his research there. Fifty years later his research, after surveying the children and grandchildren of those surveyed culminated into his publication of, African Immigrants and African Americans: Community or Conflict.

Dr Walton covered so much more than his original research in this book. African Immigrants and African Americans starts at the beginning of what Dr Walton calls a, ‘Forced Migration’, which we know as the African Slave trades. He then lays out the breaking in Period of the African American, what was to be done to, ‘De-Africanize’ the first arrivals to the new world for their new lives as Slaves.

African Immigrants and African Americans goes on to cover the effects of the ‘Cold War’ on the world, particularly Africans whose nations became independent one by one due to promoting a ‘FREE WORLD’ by Europe and the Americas against the Soviet Union.

In a comparison between the late 1950s – 60s answers to the surveys and the most recent answer; Dr Walton shows the wide gap that had developed over the 50-year span from the initial survey to the most recent. During the 50s and 60s after the initial emancipation of the African Nations, both groups viewed each other in a favorable way. 50 year later the African-American and the African are shown drifting apart. As John Williams, a Black Novelist put it in response to Thomas Echewa, a Nigerian Journalism student: “We have to face it. The Negor-African romance that began in 1957 when Ghana became free is over.”

What I got from reading Dr Walton’s research is that the African-American community has been a resilient people, surviving the worst cases of adversity in the Western World. What I also got was that deep down; there is a definite need for the African and African-American community to communicate with one another. What I also got from reading this text is that this book belongs in the in the homes of every African-American, Caribbean American, basically the communities of the African Diaspora scattered in the western world.

Reading African Immigrants and African Americans: Community or Conflict will make you angry; it will make you feel the pain of our ancestors on both sides of the Ocean. But mostly it will inspire you to grow as you see what we have been through and what we have accomplished despite the oppressive forces.

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