In the Company of Black Men

In the Company of Black Men : The African Influence on African-American Culture in New York City

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Description

From the subaltern assemblies of the enslaved in colonial New York City to the benevolent New York African Society of the early national era to the formation of the African Blood Brotherhood in twentieth century Harlem, voluntary associations have been a fixture of African-American communities. In the Company of Black Men examines New York City over three centuries to show that enslaved Africans provided the institutional foundation upon which African-American religious, political, and social culture could flourish. Arguing that the universality of the voluntary tradition in African-American communities has its basis in collectivism-a behavioral and rhetorical tendency to privilege the group over the individual-it explores the institutions that arose as enslaved Africans exploited the potential for group action and mass resistance. Craig Steven Wilder's research is particularly exciting in its assertion that Africans entered the Americas equipped with intellectual traditions and sociological models that facilitated a communitarian response to oppression. Presenting a dramatic shift from previous work which has viewed African-American male associations as derivative and imitative of white male counterparts, In the Company of Black Men provides a ground-breaking template for investigating antebellum black institutions.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 333 pages
  • 147.3 x 223.5 x 22.9mm | 476.28g
  • New York University Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • b&w photographs, 8 pages with halftones
  • 081479369X
  • 9780814793695

Review quote

"A beautifully researched, subtly argued exploration of the moral and intellectual life of New York's African American community in its first two hundred years. As Wilder shows how African societies provided a foundation for black religion, politics, and cultural institutions, he opens a new window on New York history. We hear the voice and aspirations of black New Yorkers as we have never heard them before. Written with verve, In the Company of Black Men repeatedly rewards its readers with fresh insights and provocative arguments that leaves one thinking long after it has been set aside." -Elizabeth Blackmar,Columbia University "Though stony the road they trod, a small band of men developed and passed on an ethos of mutuality and collectivism brought from Africa. America owes a great debt to those men, and scholars owe a great debt to Craig Wilder, who has combined vast research and keen intelligence to tell their story. Wilder's work will force a new look at a familiar landscape. Imagine-an African city at the base of the Hudson!" -Noel Ignatiev,author of How the Irish Became White "Wilder explores cultural expression with and through African societies in New York City... He follows them from their origin, through their heyday, to their decline as capitalist culture overwhelmed the voluntary tradition." -Book News "In the historiography on blacks in the colonial and antebellum periods, Craig Steven Wilder"s In the Company of Black Men stands out as one of the finest works of scholarship in the last decade." -Journal of American Ethnic History "In this groundbreaking and superbly written work Craig Wilder provides a gendered and richly textured discussion of the African origins of black political consciousness and moral traditions in the United States. Through a skillful comparative discussion of African associations in North America, the Caribbean, Brazil and Africa he demonstrates the connections between African systems of values and beliefs, masculinity and the black public sphere. This book is essential reading in African American history, Diaspora studies and American studies." -Irma Watkins-Owens,author of Blood Relations: Caribbean Immigrants and the Harlem Community 1900-1930show more

About Craig Steven Wilder

Craig Steven Wilder is Associate Professor of History and Chair of African-American Studies at Williams College. He is the author of A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn.show more