Download Africans on African-Americans: The Creation and Uses of an by Yekutiel Gershoni PDF

By Yekutiel Gershoni

Between the top of the 19th century and the outbreak of worldwide battle 2, Africans displaced by way of colonial rule created an African-American delusion - a delusion which aggrandized the lifestyles and attainments of African americans regardless of complete wisdom of the discrimination to which they have been subjected. the parable supplied Africans in all components of the continent with a lot wanted succour and underpinned a variety of spiritual, academic, political and social versions in response to the adventure of African americans wherein Africans sought to raised their very own lives.

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83 The mythical image grew even stronger as the Africans became more familiar with the AME Zion Church and with what was, in African terms, its remarkable wealth. Though such church wealth was normative for black Americans, Africans were impressed by the various manifestations of the black church's wealth. They marvelled that it had a membership of 550,000 people and was headed by nine bishops, three of whom had completed their master's degrees at the best universities in the United States. They looked with wonder on the publishing house, newspapers and magazines it owned, and with even greater astonishment at the fact that it maintained three colleges, the principal one being Livingstone in Salisbury, North Carolina, with property valued at $150,000.

The role of knowledge in the promulgation of myth has been suggested by Harry Levin. According to Levin, a myth can be either 'a deviation from fact or an approximation to fact', and 'when the facts are under control, we emphasize the degree of deviation; but when we are out of touch with the facts, we utilize fiction to explain the unexplainable'. 163 The role of the surrounding situation is emphasized by Jerome Bruner, who compares myth to the sound of a conch. Bruner observes that although the sound heard is the sound of the sea, it is produced by the vibration of the hand in the chambers of the shell.

Chiefs and headmen were ridiculed by their own followers. The historian Robert I. Rotberg tells how in the Fife and Chinsali districts in Northern Rhodesia, today Zambia, the important Chief Kafwimbi was mocked as not being a man but a pregnant woman. 4 In many areas, mainly in East-Central and Southern Africa, it became necessary to invent new codes of behavior, new ceremonies and a new social hierarchy to avoid social anarchy. Africans in these regions - the farmers in the rural areas and the laborers in the mining and urban centers - tried to cope with their social, religious and economic distress by forming and joining messianic and quasi-messianic sects.

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