Visiting and visually documenting the rich and diverse societies and cultures of the Global African Diaspora has been, and continues to be, exciting and rewarding. Some of these communities are well-known. Others come as a surprise to people who view my documentaries. It's a pleasure to lecture about this intriguing global phenomenon.




"I’m not the same person I was when I came into this room to see your films. I’ve been transformed. I feel like I’ve been baptized. Those people you showed us — I used to see them as foreigners, as immigrants, as others. Now I see them as us."
Words of an African American woman
after viewing Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora and Familiar Faces / Familiar Places: A Global African Diaspora


Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora – Trailer

The documentary moves from the violent scattering of African people across the Atlantic Ocean to their current participation in a global community. Portraying the overwhelming, if unremunerated, economic contributions of Africans and their descendants to the wealth and power of the Americas, it also highlights elements of African culture that characterize contemporary Pan-American life. [Subtitled in English, Spanish, French.]

For information about viewing the documentary, contact me.

Familiar Faces / Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora – Trailer

Tens of millions of Africans were scattered throughout the world during centuries of the notorious process of enslavement. The African Diasporan communities that resulted used knowledge and skills brought from Africa to contribute to the building of new societies. Torn from the world they knew, Africans and Afrodescendants forged new identities and created new cultural forms that have enriched global civilization. [Subtitled in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French.]

For information about viewing the documentary, contact me.


Familiar Faces / Unexpected Places, A Quick Global African Diasporan Journey

This overview of the many Familiar Faces found in Unexpected Places throughout the Global African Diaspora is partially excerpted from my documentary of that name. It offers a brief glimpse of the unexpectedly worldwide nature of African Diasporan communities, and of common themes that traverse and encompass distant geographies.

Slave Routes: A Global Vision, An Overview of the Worldwide African Diaspora

These excerpts from the documentary that Georges Collinet and I produced for the UNESCO Slave Route Project highlight major themes for understanding the Global African Diaspora. With examples from the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, Europe and the Americas, it highlights the contributions of Africans and their descendants to the enrichment of their enslavers and to their roles in shaping world civilization.


Bahia: Africa in the Americas

Salvador, capital of Brazil’s state of Bahia, is the most obviously African city in the Americas. African spirituality with its cosmic beings, musics, gastronomy, colors, iconography and other riches characterizes the city and the behaviors of its inhabitants. Yoruba Orishas and Fon Voduns come from Nigeria and Benin in West Africa, and Central African Nkisis represent Angola and the Congos.

Slave Routes: A Global Vision, UNESCO Slave Route Project

This documentary portrays diverse histories and heritages of the Global African Diaspora that resulted mainly from the commerce in African lives that forcefully displaced millions of African peoples across oceans and deserts to distant lands. Using examples from the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, Europe and the Americas, it highlights the contributions of Africans and their descendants both to the enrichment of their enslavers and to the shaping world civilization.

“Africa is like Osiris. It has been torn to pieces and scattered over the earth. It is our responsibility to put it back together.”

Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Historian, Burkina Faso


These short clips from my documentaries “Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora” and “Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora” highlight fundamental themes for understanding the Global African Diaspora, such as the: 
  • essential roles of Africans and their descendants in the creation and development of the modern world, 
  • demographics of the foundational population of the Americas, 
  • forced “recruitment” of Africans for their knowledge and skills, 
  • cultural continuities from Africa to the Americas. 

*The full interviews and presentations from “Scattered Africa” are on the conference page.


Africans Making the Modern World

Dr. Charles H. Long, historian of religions, asserts that it is impossible to understand the Modern World without understanding the foundational roles that Africans played in its creation and insists that these contributions must be recognized if we are to understand the world of today. This presentation was at the international conference on “The African Diaspora and the Modern World” that I organized as the Director of the Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, in February 1996, with UNESCO co-sponsorship.

Why We Must Rewrite the Story of the Americas

Howard Dodson, historian, and at that time chief of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, the world’s major repository of information about Black people, shared demographic data about the foundation of the Americas, highlighted the fact that the majority of the people who initially populated the modern Americas came from Africa, and asserted that to be accurately told, the story of the Americas must be rewritten to include this majority and their contributions.

Rewriting the Stories of Africans in the Americas

Juan de Dios Mosquera, founder and director of Movimiento Nacional Cimarron in Colombia, insists on the necessity of rewriting history to include the roles of Afrodescendants.

Reescribiendo la Historia de los Africanos en las Américas

Juan de Dios Mosquera, fundador y director del Movimiento Nacional Cimarrón en Colombia, insiste en la necesidad de reescribir la historia para incluir los roles de los afrodescendientes.

Africans in the Creation of the Americas

To understand the creation and development of the Americas, one must be aware of the knowledge that Africans, many of whom were enslaved precisely because of their technological savoir faire, brought with them, knowledge required to build the European colonial societies of the Americas. This reality contradicts the general assumption that Africans brought nothing with them and only performed mindless labor in the Americas.

African Diasporan Origins and Connections

Susana Baca, Afro-Peruvian singer and researcher, speaks of the absence of Afro-Peruvians from educational curricula, of her process of learning about her culture, and of the cultural commonalities she experienced in the African Diaspora and their connections with their African roots.

Orígenes y Conexiones en la Diáspora Africana

Susana Baca, cantante e investigadora afroperuana, habla de la ausencia de afroperuanos en los planes de estudio, de su propio aprendizaje de su cultura, y de las semejanzas culturales que ella ha vivido en la diáspora africana y las conexiones que tienen con África.

Discovering the Global African Diaspora

My first journey outside the United States as a college student was to Cameroon in Central Africa. I lived with a wonderful family in Foumban, capital of the historically and culturally rich Bamum Kingdom, where I learned about the African roots of my own African American culture in an era when scholars who studied us as problems insisted that we had no African heritage. I also learned about the African Diaspora in the Americas and became an anthropologist to research and learn more about these other communities of African origin.


Transfer of People and Technology from Africa to the Americas

During the centuries-long massive enslaving of millions of Africans by Europeans and Euro-Americans to develop their colonies in the Americas, many of these Africans were selected specifically because of their knowledge and skills in the technologies of the era needed to develop the new societies of the Western Hemisphere. That fact surprises most people, who were taught, absurdly, that Africans brought only laboring bodies, not knowledgeable minds, as does the fact that Africans and their descendants constituted the majority of the population during most of the history of the Americas.

African Spirituality in the Americas

Spirituality is one of the cultural systems that Africans best perpetuated and recreated beyond their continent of origin. Many Africans enslaved in the Americas brought with them spiritual beings whom they continue to worship in their imposed homelands, sometimes even establishing them as characteristic of the new societies of the hemisphere. In Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia in Brazil, culture of African origin is pervasive. The Orishas, the spiritual beings of the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Benin in West Africa, reign in public life.

Wari: An African Game in the Americas

An aspect of African culture perpetuated in the Americas is a game played throughout the continent and known in some parts of West Africa as Wari. The game of sophisticated mathematical strategy has retained that name on the Caribbean island of Antigua, where it is most prominent in the hemisphere. Jawara, who taught math on Antigua, now shares his skills in making Wari boards and playing the game with people on 125th Street in the heart of Harlem.

Let's discover the Global African Diaspora together.

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