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Posts by Sylviane Diouf

In Search of Nat Turner

From Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, and Ossie Davis to Alice Walker, Kanye West, and Nate Parker, Nat Turner has captured many people’s imagination. Yet 185 years after his death, the 31-year-old General Nat or Old Prophet Nat, as he was known to the enslaved community, remains as mysterious as ever.Read More ›

Black Power!

The Black Power movement turns fifty this year. Two new digital exhibitions explore the multiform and ideologically diverse movement that deeply shaped black consciousness and identity and left an immense legacy that continues to inform the contemporary American landscape.Read More ›

The Harlem Burial Ground

Another African Burial Ground was officially “discovered” in New York City a few days ago. If this is news to most, it is not to preservationists, historians, and archivists who have been aware of the existence of the cemetery for years. Read More ›

Listen Up! Podcasts from the Lapidus Center

New ideas, enlightening conversations, cutting-edge research, tomorrow's trends: it's all here in the podcast series from the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery. Listen to our visiting scholars as they share their knowledge and passions. These exclusive interviews explore a world of fascinating topics.Read More ›

New York City's Slave Market

On June 27, a plaque marking the site of New York City's main 18th-century slave market was unveiled in Lower Manhattan by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Read More ›

Remembering the Women of Slavery

The Director of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture shares her keynote address to the UN General Assembly on Women and Slavery.Read More ›

Listen Up! Podcasts from the Schomburg Center

Subscribe now to hear our visiting scholars share their knowledge and passions.Read More ›

A Decade for People of African Descent

On December 9, ambassadors, UN dignitaries, students, and others, gathered in the Langston Hughes atrium for a pre-event to Human Rights Day and to the official takeoff of the International Decade for People of African Descent, both happening the following day. Read More ›

Africans in India: Then and Now

The Schomburg Center's exhibition Africans in India: A Rediscovery recently opened in New Delhi, India's capital, against a backdrop of racist attacks against Africans. The contrast between the African experience of yesterday and that of today could not have been greater and the exhibition could not have come at a more appropriate time.Read More ›

12 Years a Slave. What About 15 Years in a Cave?

We’ll know in one month if Steve McQueen’s film gets an Oscar. But one thing is sure: the heretofore largely unfamiliar Solomon Northup has become a household name.Read More ›

My Mandela Moments

I learned of Nelson Mandela’s passing while waiting for my delayed flight at Atlanta Airport. I thought how much his painful and extraordinary life had exposed the terrible danger that faced those who fought for the rights, the dignity and the freedom of people of African origin or descent. That despairing reality was made all the more vivid because I was coming back to New York after several days spent with Kathleen Cleaver, immersed in documents and photographs from the Black Power 

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The Americas' First Muslims

This week, 1.5 billion Muslims will celebrate Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, or Tabaski as it is known in West Africa. Very few among them will have a thought for the hundreds of thousands of enslaved West Africans who, during almost four centuries, practiced Islam in the Americas. Although they left significant marks of their faith, cultures, and traditions, the Africans who first brought Islam to these shores have been mostly forgotten.Read More ›

Asia's Africans

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. What better time to discover or learn more about Afro-Asians? As our groundbreaking exhibition Africans in India shows, some became navy commanders, army generals, and founders of dynasties. In Ahmedabad, in the Indian state of Gujarat, they left an impressive architectural legacy. Today, some Sidis live there in a small compound where they proudly maintain their culture.Read More ›

Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers

Generals, commanders, admirals, prime ministers, and rulers, East Africans greatly distinguished themselves in India. They wrote a story unparalleled in the rest of the world — that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority not only in a foreign country but also on another continent. Come discover their extraordinary story in a groundbreaking exhibition at the Schomburg Center — on view from February 1 to July 6 — and on March 21, join Dr. Faeeza Jasdanwalla, a descendant of the African dynasty of Janjira for a conversation on this 

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Clicks to the Black World

Digital Schomburg's online exhibitions on various aspects of the black experience have truly become a global phenomenon. They are attracting visitors from all over the world. From Argentina to Zimbabwe and Montenegro and the Maldives in between. What do they know that perhaps you don't?

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience remains the most visited curated exhibition of The New York Public Library. With a few clicks, visitors from 206 countries and territories, including Kazakhstan, Tonga, Suriname, Mongolia and Malawi, 

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A Poem A Day

April is National Poetry Month, and I promised myself to read a poem a day. Some poets of the black experience immediately came to mind: Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Claude McKay, Sonia Sanchez, Audrey Lorde, to name a few. But then I decided to venture unto new territory and immerse myself into recent works.

I selected four great poets — and distinguished scholars training new generations — who published collections in 2010 and 2011. I found history, current events and the future in their works; and grace, beauty, heartache, struggles and 

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Survivors: Sand Island

July 31, 1761: The French ship l'Utile, illegally transporting 160 Africans from Madagascar to Ile de France (Mauritius), approaches Sand Island. Because the captain worries about a potential revolt, he orders the hatches to be nailed shut. In the night, the ship runs into a reef and capsizes. 

What follows is, arguably, the most extraordinary story of survival ever documented.

More than 70 Africans trapped in the hold died that night, while 123 French crew and passengers (18 had died) escaped. Only 

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Bollywood and Africa: A Love Story

Few people in the West have heard international superstar Akon's new hit. But tens of millions throughout the rest of the world have been dancing to Chammak Challo for weeks. Why? Because the catchy tune is the musical centerpiece of the latest Bollywood sci-fi blockbuster Ra. One, whose (super) hero is no other than Shahrukh Khan, the most popular actor in the (rest of) the world. That Akon, a Senegalese,

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Sannu Niger!

ferdinandreus on flickrThe capture last week of Saif al-Islam Qaddafi who, disguised as a Tuareg, was trying to flee to Niger — where one of his brothers and some high-ranking officials have found refuge — has turned a spotlight on a country few people have heard of.

Niger? You mean

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Nikky Finney Wins National Book Award in Poetry

On November 16, Nikky Finney received the 2011 National Book Award in Poetry for her book Head Off & Split. Political, sensual, historical, imaginative, Finney’s poems speak of struggle, beauty, love, and race with passion and tenderness. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where she has been teaching for several years, congratulates her on her wonderful 

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