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Episode 2: Why Pursue Black Studies?

In this episode, why pursue Black Studies? What is the significance of Black Studies in higher education? Also, we look at the contributions that Black Studies as a discipline has made in academia. How has the Black Studies pioneered and developed theories and approaches to problems in ways that have added to academia and society as a whole? Is Black Studies solely for the consumption of African American students? Should it be? Why should Asian, Latino, or White students have an interest in pursuing Black Studies?

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Episode 3: Africa in Historical Context

Africa in historical context and the events leading up to the Atlantic slave trade. Explores the rise and fall of powerful and wealthy African kingdoms as well as the path they took that ultimately led to the Atlantic slave trade.

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Episode 4: Slavery in Black & White

Please enable JavaScript LinkEmbedCopy and paste this HTML code into your webpage to embed. EMBED CODE   <iframe src=”” allowfullscreen width=”560″ height=”315″ frameborder=”0″></iframe>   Slavery in Black & White — Introduction: In this episode, Slavery in Black and White: The Development of Race Based Slavery in the British North American Colonies. Slavery is nothing new in human history, but what is relatively new, however, is the phenomenon of race based slavery – a radical transformation from slavery as it had been practiced up to the point of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Given that the British colonizers conquered many different peoples, and had a general distain for the Irish, Native Americans, Africans, and each of their conquered subjects, how then did it come to be that Africans got tagged with slave status? CLICK HERE FOR TRANSCRIPT   The advent of the Atlantic Slave Trade brought about a radical transformation in which race becomes the defining factor in determining who is slave and who is free. In 1619, a Dutch ship entered Jamestown with a cargo that included 19 Africans. Their status was not clear. The main reason the lack of clarity here is that in the early 1600s “slavery” that had no clearly defined legal definition. It was an ambiguous term for an institution that was not yet fully developed conceptually. Prior to the early to mid 1600s, racial terms such as “white” and “Black” had very little social meaning.  In fact, the concept of race is a relatively recent phenomenon in human history – emerging only within the past four or so hundred years. Europe has had a turbulent history of war, conquest, and enslavement, going all the way back to Roman times. As England ventured out into its colonial age began with Ireland. It was there that England developed the idea of what a plantation colony would be and extended it throughout an empire that would later include Africa, Australia, India and other parts of Asia, and, of course, the Americas. England’s colonization of the Irish pushed the Irish off their ancestral home lands, who then flooded the streets of London jobless and homeless and were arrested wholesale and imprisoned as vagrants.  From their prisons cells their debts to society were purchased in exchange for seven years indentured servitude the Americas.  After they were purchased as indentured servants they were crammed onto ships headed for the Americas on a voyage in which they were subjected to dysentery pregnant... read more

Episode 5: Healing as Resistance

Please enable JavaScript LinkEmbedCopy and paste this HTML code into your webpage to embed. EMBED CODE   <iframe src="" allowfullscreen width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe> Healing as Resistance — Introduction: The middle passage subjected enslaved Africans to an ordeal the depths of which are literally abysmal. That is, the further and deeper one looks at the Atlantic Slave Trade, the more and more suffering one finds. New evidence continues to emerge that suggests to historians that we have not yet begun to approach the depths of the African experience on the Atlantic Slave Trade. Like the bodies of countless Africans whose bones lie somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic, the full breadth of the experience of enslaved Africans may never be fully uncovered. CLICK HERE FOR TRANSCRIPT Between Africa, the Atlantic Slave Trade, sale in the Americas and the 2 year “seasoning” period of adjustment in the Western Hemisphere, an estimated 35 to 80 percent of Africans who left the continent perished. To be sure, however, many survived due largely to the various elements of African culture in the western hemisphere and healing traditions that helped Africans to survive the ordeal of enslavement. As we saw in Episode 3: Africa in Historical Context, “culture” has been defined as, beliefs, practices and modes of being of a particular people in a particular setting adopted as a means of survival. We saw how and why Africans in the various regions in Africa structured their lives (their religion, artistic traditions, and social organization) in a particular and distinct way based on their particular setting. West African culture laid the groundwork for African survival in the Western Hemisphere through the process of acculturation: Cultural modification of one group by borrowing and adopting the cultural traits of another group as a means of survival. We can see this process even today in the practice of Santeria in the Caribbean nation of Cuba. The African origins of Santeria stem largely from the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. In Cuba, the Yoruba Orisha worship practices fused with Roman Catholic traditions and formed the Santeria. Santeria evolved as the Yoruba deities which numbered more than 400 in Africa were reduced to several dozen relevant entities in the New World and juxtaposed onto Roman Catholic symbols and rituals. Thus, Africans could continue a mode of traditional worship now disguised within the structure of Roman Catholicism to honor their own gods under the guise of Roman Catholic saints. To this day,... read more

Episode 6: African American Frontiers (Part 1)

Please enable JavaScript LinkEmbedCopy and paste this HTML code into your webpage to embed. EMBED CODE   <iframe src="" allowfullscreen width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe> African American Frontiers (Part 1) — Introduction: The role frontier is profoundly significant for persons of African descent. Beginning with the Atlantic Slave Tradethe Middle Passage impacted both sides of the Atlantic.  The meeting of Africans with those who would later be known as Americans transformed the African continent while the American frontier transformed the Africans who were transported there. CLICK HERE FOR TRANSCRIPT   For the purpose of this program, the term “frontier” will be defined as: The point, region, or cultural space in which two or more groups of people meet – a definition forwarded in the 1960s by scholar Jack Forbes.  Thus, frontier history becomes the study of the interaction between those groups. The way I have defined the frontier here paints a very different picture than the one we are accustomed to with regard to the European colonization of Africa. As we have seen in Episode 3: Africa in Historical Context, West Africans were not simply passive victims of the Atlantic Slave Trade, but made choices based on historical circumstances and centuries of interaction and conflict between various groups. The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano or GustavasVassa the African, provides a rare firsthand account the Atlantic Slave Trade from someone who actually experienced it and gives a glimpse of the nature of the frontier – the nature of the interactions between groups West Africans who considered themselves distinct from one another – that brought about his experience on the Middle Passage. He writes: Soon after this, the blacks who brought me on board went off, and left me abandoned to despair. I now saw myself deprived of all chance of returning to my native country, or even the least glimpse of hope of gaining the shore, which I now considered as friendly: and I even wished for my former slavery, in preference to my present situation. Equiano’s narrative reveals that slavery was not new to West Africa. The frontier of West Africa – the point at which two or more groups who considered themselves distinct – was often a place of conflict. With conflict comes warfare, with warfare comes war captives, and with captivity typically comes enslavement. That is the reason why the institution of slavery is about as old as human civilization itself. As it turns out, Africans had no moral... read more

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