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Social Science African American Studies

Cross-Border Cosmopolitans

The Making of a Pan-African North America

by (author) Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey

The University of North Carolina Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2023
African American Studies, African American, North America
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2023
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2023
    List Price

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African American history from 1900 to 2000 cannot be told without accounting for the significant influence of Pan-African thought, just as the story of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy cannot be told without accounting for fears of an African World. In the early 1900s, Marcus Garvey and his followers perceived the North American mainland, particularly Canada following U.S. authorities' deportation of Garvey to Jamaica, as a forward-operating base from which to liberate the Black masses from colonialism. After World War II, Vietnam War resisters, Black Panthers, and Caribbean students joined the throngs of cross-border migrants to denounce militarism, imperialism, and capitalism. In time, as urban uprisings proliferated in northern U.S. cities, the prospect of coalitions among the Black Power, Red Power, and Quebecois Power movements inspired U.S. and Canadian intelligence services to collaborate, infiltrate, and sabotage Black organizations across North America. Assassinations of "Black messiahs" further radicalized revolutionaries, rekindling the dream for an African World from Washington, D.C., to Toronto to San Francisco to Antigua to Grenada and back to Africa. Alarmed, Washington's national security elites invoked the Cold War as the reason to counter the triangulation of Black Power in the Atlantic World, funneling arms clandestinely from the United States and Canada to the Caribbean and then to its proxies in southern Africa.

By contending that twentieth-century global Black liberation movements began within the U.S.-Canadian borderlands as cross-border, continental struggles, Cross-Border Cosmopolitans reveals the revolutionary legacies of the Underground Railroad and America's Great Migration and the hemispheric and transatlantic dimensions of this history.

About the author

Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey is assistant professor of post-Reconstruction U.S. and African Diaspora history at McGill University, where he holds the William Dawson Chair. He also goes by Nii Laryea Osabu I, Atrekor We Oblahii ke Oblayee Mantse.

Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey's profile page

Editorial Reviews

An important book . . . Timely and essential given the narrow and almost ubiquitous emphasis on black victimization in contemporary public discourses. The book's perspective . . . positions itself as a valuable methodological option for crafting and telling the history of diasporic Blacks in different parts of the world, and for approaching the study of civil rights, independence, and revolutionary movements."—Ethnic and Racial Studies