By Philip D. Morgan, Sean Hawkins

This paintings explores the lives of individuals of sub-Saharan Africa and their descendants, how they have been formed through empire, and the way they in flip inspired the empire in every thing from fabric items to cultural sort. The black event various drastically throughout area and through the years. hence, 13 substantial essays and a scene-setting creation variety from West Africa within the 16th century, in the course of the historical past of the slave exchange and slavery all the way down to the 1830s, to 19th- and twentieth-century participation of blacks within the empire as staff, squaddies, individuals of colonial elites, intellectuals, athletes, and musicians. No humans have been extra uprooted and dislocated; or traveled extra in the empire; or created extra of a trans-imperial tradition. within the crucible of the British empire, blacks invented cultural mixes that have been precursors to our smooth selves - hybrid, fluid, ambiguous, and continually in movement.

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S h u l a M a r ks , ‘Southern Africa’, in Judith M. Brown and Wm. , The Oxford History of the British Empire, Vol. IV, The Twentieth Century (Oxford, 1999). J. D. Y. , 2000). C ar yl Ph i l l i p s, The European Tribe (1987; New York, 2000). —— The Atlantic Sound (New York, 2000). —— A New World Order: Essays (New York, 2001). , The Colonial Moment in Africa: Essays on the Movement of Minds and Materials, 1900–1940 (Cambridge, 1990). , 1982). 1). Messengers were dispatched to the port town and escorted the English merchants and their Portuguese guide to the capital, also called Benin.

36 Christianity was a vital part of the black experience of Empire. Admittedly, under slavery, exposure to Christianity often took the form of an explanation and justiWcation of servitude—and blacks thereby rejected it. Yet, when blacks heard a diVerent message, particularly when conveyed by indigenous catechists rather than white missionaries, the eVects of Christianity changed dramatically. Sam Sharpe, the leader of ‘the Baptist War’, the 1831 slave rebellion in Jamaica that helped shorten the timetable for emancipation, understood the Scriptures as demanding freedom and justice.

28 For so many blacks in the British Empire, both before and after emancipation, work was their dominant experience. Their primary role even as subjects was as workers. This dependence was brought home acutely in the aftermath of the Second World War, when Britain needed workers to help with its post-war reconstruction. The Nationalities Act of 1948 speciWed the legal right of West Indians to enter Britain and between 1951 and 1961, about a quarter of a million did so. 29 The shift from slavery to wage labour had never been well thought-out in the Caribbean, and the thinking that informed British plans in Africa was no better.

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