Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power

Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power

Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power

Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power

Synopsis

Although they came from distinct polities and peoples who spoke different languages, slaves from the African Gold Coast were collectively identified by Europeans as "Coromantee" or "Mina." Why these ethnic labels were embraced and how they were utilized by enslaved Africans to develop new group identities is the subject of Walter C. Rucker's absorbing study. Rucker examines the social and political factors that contributed to the creation of New World ethnic identities and assesses the ways displaced Gold Coast Africans used familiar ideas about power as a means of understanding, defining, and resisting oppression. He explains how performing Coromantee and Mina identity involved a common set of concerns and the creation of the ideological weapons necessary to resist the slavocracy. These weapons included obeah powders, charms, and potions; the evolution of "peasant" consciousness and the ennoblement of common people; increasingly aggressive displays of masculinity; and the empowerment of women as leaders, spiritualists, and warriors, all of which marked sharp breaks or reformulations of patterns in their Gold Coast past.

Excerpt

The tribe of the Middle Passage … was the tribe created by the
rapacity of African elites, the territorial expansion of strong states,
and the greed, cruelty, and arrogance of white men possessing
the world. It was the tribe of those stolen from their natal land,
stripped of their “country marks,” and severed from their kin.

SAIDIYA HARTMAN, LOSE YOUR MOTHER (2007)

Private Don Juan’s military discharge on July 10, 1846, was nothing more than a routine matter at the time. After twenty-two years of distinguished service in Her Majesty’s 2nd West India Regiment of Foot, the regimental board and the surgeon appointed to inspect his physical and mental condition deemed Don Juan “unfit for further service,” ending his career as a soldier at the age of forty. Wellington Poole, the assistant surgeon in medical charge of the regiment, certified him as permanently disabled because he had been “worn out.” Suffering from chronic rheumatism and having survived well beyond the life expectancy of black laborers in the nineteenth-century British Caribbean, Don Juan had outlived his usefulness. Extolled by his commanding officers as a “good Soldier … trustworthy & sober” who rarely visited a hospital, never complained about work or injury, nor took time off duty, Don Juan more than paid back the British Crown for his 1824 release from bondage.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.