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Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic
Tuskegee, Colonialism, and the Shaping of African Industrial Education
Many Europeans saw Africa’s colonization as an exhibition of European racial ascendancy. African Christians saw Africa’s subjugation as a demonstration of European technological superiority. If the latter was the case, then the path to Africa’s liberation ran through the development of a competitive African technology.
In Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic, Andrew E. Barnes chronicles African Christians’ turn to American-style industrial education—particularly the model that had been developed by Booker T. Washington at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute—as a vehicle for Christian regeneration in Africa. Over the period 1880–1920, African Christians, motivated by Ethiopianism and its conviction that Africans should be saved by other Africans, proposed and founded schools based upon the Tuskegee model.
Barnes follows the tides of the Black Atlantic back to Africa when African Christians embraced the new education initiatives of African American Christians and Tuskegee as the most potent example of technological ingenuity. Building on previously unused African sources, the book traces the movements to establish industrial education institutes in cities along the West African coast and in South Africa, Cape Province, and Natal. As Tuskegee and African schools modeled in its image proved, peoples of African descent could—and did—develop competitive technology.
Though the attempts by African Christians to create industrial education schools ultimately failed, Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic demonstrates the ultimate success of transatlantic black identity and Christian resurgence in Africa at the turn of the twentieth century. Barnes’ study documents how African Christians sought to maintain indigenous identity and agency in the face of colonial domination by the state and even the European Christian missions of the church.
"Barnes traces an overlooked but important episode in South and West African intellectual history during which Africans and African American leaders allied through the medium of Protestant Christianity to define and promote a program of educational reform designed to empower Africans in the modern world. He deftly advances our appreciation of how intellectual life in colonial Africa, too long constrained by notions of resistance and domination, is indeed rich with creative agendas for change which drew on Black Atlantic currents."
—Philip S. Zachernuk, Dalhousie University, author of Colonial Subjects: An African Intelligentsia and Atlantic Ideas
"With over three decades of serious scholarship on Christianity, Andrew Barnes demonstrates yet again that he is at the forefront of originality and innovative scholarship. He emphasizes, with remarkable skill and compassion, how Africans extended ideas of modernization and education, thereby transforming Christianity itself, in this impressive book on the connection between religion, change, and progress."
—Toyin Falola, University Distinguished Teaching Professor and Jacob and Frances Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin
"Andrew Barnes brings to life an important but largely forgotten world: the ‘Christian black Atlantic’ of the early twentieth century. Carefully interweaving African American history with the histories of Western and Southern Africa, he reveals the complex strategies by which African Christians addressed colonialism and white racism, inspired by Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee. An authoritative, illuminating, and absorbing book."
—Richard H. Elphick, Emeritus Professor of History, Wesleyan University
Andrew E. Barnes is Associate Professor of History at Arizona State University.
More Information Available
Other books by:
Andrew E. Barnes
Books in Series:
Studies in World Christianity
The Making of Korean Christianity - Protestant Encounters with Korean Religions, 1876-1915
China, Christianity, and the Question of Culture
Converts to Civil Society - Christianity and Political Culture in Contemporary Hong Kong
Evangelical Christian Baptists of Georgia - The History and Transformation of a Free Church Tradition
The Evangelical Movement in Ethiopia - Resistance and Resilience
Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic - Tuskegee, Colonialism, and the Shaping of African Industrial Education