Invisible Sojourners: African Immigrant Diaspora in the United States

Invisible Sojourners: African Immigrant Diaspora in the United States

Invisible Sojourners: African Immigrant Diaspora in the United States

Invisible Sojourners: African Immigrant Diaspora in the United States

Synopsis

Arthur examines the forces that have shaped recent African migration to the United States, looking at the characteristics of the African immigrant population, residential and settlement patterns, family and household structure, labor force participation, and pathways to American citizenship. The meanings of the migratory process as well as relationships with the dominant society, and intra immigrant associative networks also are analyzed.

Excerpt

America is a nation of immigrants. More than half of the foreign-born population of the United States came to the United States between 1980 and 1994. Immigrant flow into the United States since 1981 to 1995 has more than doubled. Part of the new global migration of skilled and unskilled people leaving areas of low capital formation and economic development for highly advanced economies, the Africans who have settled in the United States during the last twenty years represent the largest number of Africans in more than two hundred years to settle in America. Between 1974 and 1995 alone, Ethiopian migration to the United States increased from 276 to 5,960--an increase of over 2,000 percent. The increase in the same period for Nigeria was from 670 in 1974 to 6,818 in 1995--an increase of over 900 percent (Gordon, 1998: 94).

The cultural polyphony of Africans has become a noticeable aspect of the urban landscape of major metropolitan centers across the United States. Throughout America, African immigrants make significant contributions to the cultural and economic enrichment of this country. Their contributions in the areas of medicine, higher education, and engineering have been chronicled in major newspapers. Largely invisible and unknown to many Americans, these Africans are becoming some of the continent's most educated and dynamic people.

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