Second Generation Authors of African Origin


Olaudah Equiano

The first African immigrants to the U.S. were of course enslaved people brought here against their will. Despite the fact that enslaved people were kept illiterate for the most part, we do have a few written records from individuals brought to the U.S. as children.

Since the Immigration Act of 1965, growing numbers of immigrants from African countries have settled in the United States. However, the percentage of immigrants from Africa is still miniscule compared to immigrants from other parts of the world. Thus, we have very few second-generation writers whose parents were raised in African countries.

Book list

Asgedom, Selamawi (born 1976) — When he arrived in the U.S. at age 7, Asgedom and his parents were refugees fleeing the war in Ethiopia.

Chude-Sokei, Louis (born 1967) — Chude-Sokei was born in Biafra, a short-lived African nation which is now part of Nigeria. As a young child, he fled with his mother to Jamaica (her home country), and then to the United States at the age of 10.

Equiano, Olaudah (1745-1797) — In his autobiography, Equiano says he was born in what is now Nigeria, captured at age 11 by slave traders, and sold to a slave-owner in Virginia.

Gyasi, Yaa — Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Alabama.

Hadero, Meron — Hadero was born in Ethiopia. She and her family were refugees, traveling first to Germany and then to the United States.

Mengestu, Dinaw (born 1978) — Mengestu was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of two.

Obama, Barack (born 1961) — Obama’s father was from Kenya. He grew up in Hawaii.

Okorafor, Nnedi (born 1974) — Okorafor was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the Chicago area. Her parents are immigrants from Nigeria. She writes science fiction and fantasy which incorporate elements of African culture.

Okparanta, Chinelo (born 1981) — Okparanta was born in Nigeria and came to the United States at the age of 10.

Omar, Ilhan — Omar was born in Somalia and moved to the United States at age 12. She grew up in Minneapolis.

Wheatley, Phillis (1754-1784) — Wheatley was probably born in Senegal or Gambia. She arrived in the U.S. on a slave ship at about the age of seven. When she was 17 she published her only book of poetry.

One Response to Africa

  1. Great website. Can you please post this call for paper on your website.

    Second Generation African Immigrants: Identity and Transnationalism in the United States

    Call for Papers

    In the half a century since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, close to 1.4 million black African immigrants have come to the United States (Pew Research Center 2015). In fact, Africans make up 36% of the overall foreign-born black population, up from 24% in 2000 and their numbers are growing steadily. Nevertheless, in proportion to its growing size, the New African Diaspora in the United States, particularly the second generation constitutes one of the least studied groups. Much of the existing research has focused on the second generation whose parents came from Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean.

    In seeking to redress this dearth of scholarship on this growing segment of the U.S population, the guest editors of this special issue of ABD seek articles on the lives and experiences of second generation African immigrants to provide insight into the intersection of immigrant cultures and mainstream expectations, as this group seeks to define and redefine being and becoming American. We are specifically interested in theoretically oriented and empirically based research that explores issues of racial and ethnic identity, transnationalism, economic, professional and social attainment.

    We are especially interested in papers that address one or more of the following questions:

    • What structural factors and inequalities, political dynamics, cultural and social processes affect the ethnic, racial and other identities that have developed among the African immigrant second generation?
    • How do generation, gender, race, class and parents’ national-origin status affect the identity formation of second generation African immigrants?
    • How do second generation African immigrants understand and navigate racial identities? In particular, how do they view themselves in relationship to African Americans and others who self-identify as black?
    • Do they accept established categories of racial identity? How do they interpret, negotiate, reconcile or contest their ethnic and racial identities? And in what ways do this things create new dimensions of on-going debates about race in the U.S?
    • What are the socio-economic achievements of the second generation, especially in relation to their parents and other social groups?
    • What kind of transnational practices and engagements characterize the lives of the African immigrant second generation? For instance, how does the new second generation of African immigrants build upon, expand or diverge from the transnational experiences of their parents?
    • What notions of self and values do they transmit to their children?

    Deadlines and Timeline

    Prospective authors should submit an Abstract (250-300 words in length) by February 15, 2017. Authors should send their abstract attached as a word document to the guest editors: Please be sure to include the following: full name, institutional affiliation, contact information (email and contact mailing address). Notices of acceptance of abstracts will be sent to authors by March 15h, 2017.

    Paper (6000-8000 words) must be submitted by August 30, 2017 for peer-review for special issue of the journal, African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal, and for consideration for presentation at the 60TH Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association to be held in Chicago, IL (November 15-19 2017).

    Revised Papers for Special Issue must be submitted by December 15, 2017

    Kassahun Kebede, PhD
    Assistant Professor of Anthropology
    Department of Geography & Anthropology
    Eastern Washington University
    105 Isle Hall ▪ Cheney, WA 99004
    [p] 509.359.2477
    [email protected]

    Fumilayo Showers, PhD
    Assistant Professor of Sociology and International Studies
    Central Connecticut State University
    1615 Stanley Street
    New Britain, CT 06050
    [p] 860.832. 3144
    [email protected]

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