Thursday, January 29, 2009

M'Baye reviews Dudziak, "Exporting American Dreams"

Thurgood Marshall in Africa is an H-Law review by Babacar M'Baye, Department of English and Department of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University, of Mary Dudziak's Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey. The review commences:
Mary L. Dudziak's Exporting American Dreams successfully explores the relations between Thurgood Marshall and Africa through the prism of African American connections with Africa during the twentieth century. The book also examines the ironic and complicated status of African Americans who experienced the inequalities, frustration, and poverty that institutionalized segregation and racism had fostered in the United States during the 1950s.
M'Baye continues:
Exporting American Dreams participates in a promising scholarship on African American relationships with Africa, joining such works as Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1993),Tunde Adeleke's UnAfrican Americans: Nineteenth-Century Black Nationalists and the Civilizing Mission (1998), John Cullen Gruesser's Black on Black: Twentieth-Century African American Writing about Africa (2000), Brent Hayes Edwards's The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (2003), and [James] Campbell's Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 (2006). These works have expanded the promising field of black Atlantic studies by examining the relations between black literary and political figures in the United States and Africa within interdisciplinary frameworks.
M'Baye concludes:
In sum, the book suggests the fleeting nature of democratic ideals in the mid-twentieth century, the exportation of which was easily spoiled when they became a fleeting illusion, rather than a feasible dream, in the lives of African Americans in the United States.
The entire review is here.