Black is the Journey, Africana the Name
Black is the Journey, Africana the Name
Translated by Kaiama Glover

In this highly original book, Maboula Soumahoro explores the cultural and political vastness of the Black Atlantic, where Africa, Europe, and the Americas were tied together by the brutal realities of the slave trade and colonialism. Each of these spaces has its own way of reading the Black body and the Black experience, and its own modes of visibility, invisibility, silence, and amplification of Black life. By weaving together her personal history with that of France and its abiding myth of color-blindness, Maboula Soumahoro highlights the banality and persistence of structural racism in France today, and shows that freedom will be found in the journey and movement between the sites of the Atlantic triangle. Africana is the name of that freedom.

How can we build and reflect on a collective diasporic identity through a personal journey? What are the limits and possibilities of this endeavor, when the personal journey is that of oft-erased bodies and stories, de-humanized lives, and when Black populations in Africa, the Americas, and Europe identify and misidentify with each other, their sensibilities shaped by the particular locales in which their lives unfold?

This book makes an important intellectual contribution to contemporary public conversations and theoretical inquiry into race, racism, blackness, and identity today, as it probes and questions the academic methodologies that have functioned as structures of exclusion.

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  • November 2021
  • 140 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $54.95
  • 9781509548323
  • Paperback $16.95
  • 9781509548330
  • Open eBook $14.00
  • 9781509548347
Table of Contents

Translator’s Note

Foreword – Saidiya Hartman

Introduction. Black speech / Speaking blackness

      On diaspora

      What is this “I”?

The Triangle


      Scholarly and personal implications

      An intellectual tradition

      The question of return

University Trajectory

      Black orbit

      Studying in France

      Studying overseas

The Hexagon

      “For the great MCs, on behalf of a grateful ‘hood’”

      2005: “Right the wrong, by any means necessary”

      Public discourse

      Black History Month (BHM) / Africana Days

      To be done with the burden of race

Conclusion. The Orbs are Black, or, what beauty owes to chaos

About the Author
Maboula Soumahoro is an associate professor at the University of Tours and president of the Black History Month Association, dedicated to celebrating Black history and cultures.
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“Maboula’s writing is a resolute respiration which, line after line, exposes and challenges the suffocating violence of racism à la française. This is an intimate text that will change how you look at race and blackness.”
Mame-Fatou Niang, author of Identités françaises
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