A Global African Diaspora

Tens of millions of people of African descent live throughout the world, often in unsuspected places, mostly as a result of centuries of enslavement. The African Diasporan communities that resulted used knowledge and skills brought from Africa to contribute to the building of new societies. African technologies helped develop the Americas, and cultural commonalities unite African Diasporan communities in distant lands. Africans and their descendants preserved ancestral worldviews, forged new identities and created dynamic cultural forms that continue to enrich global civilization.

Recognizing the African Diaspora

The United Nations declared 2015-2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent, the first theme of which is the Recognition of “the contributions of the African continent and of people of African descent to the development, diversity and richness of world civilizations and cultures.”
As a cultural anthropologist, my goal for Afrodiaspora Global is to contribute to this “recognition” by serving as a platform for sharing my field research experiences, cultural and intellectual participations, and learnings and understandings in and about the Global African Diaspora and its connections with its ancestral roots. In the process, I get to delight in revisiting, reliving, and excavating my African and Diasporic memories.

Africa and the African Diaspora - Faces & Places

Barlovento, VENEZUELA

Jesus Chucho Garcia

Afro-Venezuelan researcher at a conference in Luanda, Angola


Sultan Mbombo Njoya

Sultan Njoya making me a "grand dignitary" in the Bamum Kingdom

Kingdom of Kétou, BENIN

Stela de Azevedo Santos

Afro-Brazilian priestess from Bahia visiting Yoruba king of Kétou

Mbanza Kongo, ANGOLA

Sheila S Walker

Wearing commemorative Queen Nzinga dress at UNESCO Conference

Who is the African Diaspora?

Unique among nations, the United States has, during most of its history, categorized its inhabitants simplistically as Black or white, sometimes with a category for mulattos, now called “biracial.” Scientifically, however, human “races” do not exist. This U.S. practice known as the “one drop rule” was law in southern states that formally legislated the percentage of African ancestry, or “black blood,”  that mandated that a person be officially classified as Black, irrespective of phenotype which, after so much dilution, might be white. Afro-Brazilians, in contrast, may identify as Black or brown, “negro o pardo” based on phenotype, whereas in the United States, “brown” equals Black. Although it is now less official law than customary behavior in the U.S., many people who would identify differently elsewhere in the Americas, would be Black in the United States. A result has been that U.S. African Americans have had a solid collective identity foundation from which to fight institutional racism, in contrast to the situation in alleged “racial democracies” where structural racism has been more difficult for its victims to identify and combat.

Where is the African Diaspora?

The majority of the Global African Diaspora is located throughout the Americas, from Chile to Canada, although the existence of Afrodescendants in South America’s Southern Cone is sometimes denied. Brazil has the largest African Diasporan population. According to its recent census, more than 57% of the population identifies as being of African descent, giving it the largest Black population outside Africa, and making it second in the world to Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent. But the African Diaspora also exists beyond the Americas—including on Indian Ocean islands, in Turkey, and in several regions of India, as well as on the South Pacific islands of Melanesia, so named by Europeans for the melanin-rich skin of their inhabitants.

Presentation of documentary "Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora

Organization of American States – OAS / Organización de Estados Americanos – OEA / Organização dos Estados Americanos – OEA / L’Organisation des États Américains – OEA, Oct. 18, 2017