West African Roots of Pan-Africanism

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@ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Map of Negroland and Guinea with the European Settlements, Explaining what belongs to England, Holland, Denmark, etc.Rebecca Shumway

UW System Fellow (2023-2024)

Associate Professor, History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

West African Roots of Pan-Africanism

As the transatlantic slave trade came to an end along the coast of what is now the Republic of Ghana, the African elite initiated new commercial ventures and political transformations that better suited the changing dynamics of both the region and the Atlantic World to which it was intricately connected. The merchant families and traditional rulers among the Fante-speaking people embraced formal European-style education, Christianity, and capitalism. At the same time, the Fante elite began building one of the first self-governing African nations, and they openly challenged the influence of would-be British colonizers. How did pan-Africanist and anti-slavery ideas from the African diaspora influence this West African political movement, at precisely the moment when slavery was at its height in the region?

Rebecca Shumway is Associate Professor of History and an Affiliate of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the author of The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Rochester University Press, 2011) which was a finalist for the Herskovitz Prize in African Studies, co-editor of Slavery and its Legacy in Ghana and the Diaspora (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), and is completing a book on the political history of Ghana, 1807-1874, under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press. She has written numerous scholarly articles on Ghana, the slave trade, Anglo-African relations and anti-slavery. Her work addresses Ghana’s relationship to the Atlantic world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a focus on the Fante-speaking population. She has been a Fulbright-Hays scholar, among other fellowships.

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