Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week Four: Abandonment and Dismemberment

Dr. Beatty discussed three primary areas that stood out during his lecture on the concepts of African abandonment and dismemberment: the Middle Passage, creating the African diaspora in the Americas, and cultural maintenance. The Middle Passage, the physical journey that displaced Africans across the globe, was the first step in attempting to remove Africans from their native cultures, as it literally took them away from their motherland. In order to assimilate Africans with their new roles under enslavement, the Europeans that ruled them made efforts to overlap their customs into the lives of Africans in areas such as Christian religion and laboring, militaristic social structure. By imposing European views on the Africans, the ideal would have it that slave drivers would be able to control them more effectively, by erasing their cultural bindings, which strengthened their community; however, these communal ties, demonstrated by Dr. Beatty, were not so easily destroyed.

The African diaspora took native Africans to all parts of the globe, particularly the New World. Between 1492-1776, five out of six people in the New World were African (Beatty). Unlike the Jewish diaspora, that of the Africans was involuntary. Despite the drastic changes that occurred among the African diaspora, traditional elements of African culture remained through family roles, science and technology, and speech. "Speaking in tongues," medicine men and women, banjoes and drums, Vodun, and water baptisms all demonstrate elements of culture that remained in the New World in which Africans were displaced. The significance lies in the strength and prevalence which existed so deeply rooted within the traditions of African customs, allowing for them to transcend time, distance, and new teachings.

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