Kin Meets Kin: An Analysis of Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean Relations in Harlem During the 1920’s
Charles D. Diggs
Robert L. Harris, Jr.
Thesis DT 3 .5 1988 D573
vi, 113 leaves; 29 cm.
This study seeks to examine the relationship of native-born Afro- Americans and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in Harlem during the 1920's. Although Blacks from the entire Caribbean region immigrated to the United States during this period, the main focus of this study will be the interactions of Afro-Americans and those Blacks who came from the anglophone section of the Caribbean. Many scholars have suggested that their relationship during this period was filled with discord, mistrust, and tension. They tend to highlight the conflict between the two groups without explaining the origins of the conflict. And their conclusions are often based on superficial differences that existed between native-born African Americans and Afro-Caribbean immigrants. As such, their findings are generally one- dimensional and leave the reader with the wrong impression about Afro- American and Afro-Caribbean relations. This study aims to look at the neglected dimensions of their relationship and to show that both groups cooperated with one another despite their differences. Moreover, it will demonstrate that where differences existed, they were more differences of degree than kind.
Blacks from the Caribbean have played significant roles in the lives of Afro- Americans. From the colonial period to the present, they interacted with the Afro- American community and worked with them as they struggled for equal rights in the United States. Some became important leaders in the Black community. A list of their names reads like a who's who in Afro-American history: Prince Hall (Barbados), Peter Ogden (Jamaica), John B. Russwurm (Jamaica), Edward W. Blyden (St. Thomas), Joseph "Jersey" Walcott (Barbados), Casper Holstein (U.S. Virgin Islands), Stokely Carmichael (Trinidad) and a whole host of others.
This analysis of Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean relationships is based on historical data from primary and secondary sources. The evidence to support conclusions drawn in this thesis was found mainly in magazine articles, newspapers, and autobiographies. Because the thesis concerns sociological-historical phenomenon, theories form the field of sociology are used to help explain the reasons for conflict as well as to reveal areas of cooperation. This thesis, therefore, paints a more comprehensive picture of Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean relations.