African Contributions to American Culture

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Joseph E. Holloway, Slave history

Author: Joseph E. Holloway Ph.D

“Scholars have long recognized African origins in the linguistic forms and the cultural traits of African Americans, and thus assumed that these Africanisms were derived principally from West Africa. There has been much debate over the origins of African culture in the U.S. The classic debate between Melville J. Herskovits and E. Franklin Frazier is still relevant.  To revisit it briefly, Frazier believed that Black Americans lost their African heritage during slavery; thus, the African American culture evolved independently of any African influences.  Herskovits argued the opposite that it was not possible to understand and appreciate African American culture without understanding its African linkages and carryover called Africanisms. Current scholars are more concerned with using a transnational framework to examine how African cultural survivals have changed over time and readapted to diasporic conditions while experiencing slavery, forced labor, and racial discrimination.”




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