"Exchanging Our Country Marks" by Michael Gomez.

1495 Words6 Pages
In Exchanging Our Country Marks, Michael Gomez brings together various strands of the historical record in a stunning fusion that points the way to a definitive history of American Slavery. In this fusion of history, anthropology, and sociology, Gomez has made expert use of primary sources, including newspapers ads for runaway slaves in colonial America. Slave runaway accounts from newspapers are combined with personal diaries, church records, and former slave narratives to provide a firsthand account of the African and African-American experiences during the eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. With this mastery of sources, Gomez challenges many of the prevailing assumptions about slavery-- for example, that "the new condition of…show more content…
Members of the Kissi and Akan came to America with profoundly different outlooks on life.

Gomez examines both the African communities from which these people came and the specific places in North America to which they were taken. The ethnicity of Africans brought to Virginia, to South Carolina, or to Louisiana shaped the African American communities on those areas much more than did the nature of their work or other factors. The Bambara and Malinke people from the Senegambia region who were transported to colonial South Carolina and French Louisiana brought with them their technological skill in growing rice. The first slave ships to reach Louisiana, in 1719, brought both African slaves and African rice seeds. By the end of the century, however a greater proportion of African brought to Louisiana were Yoruba, Fon, or Ewe. These people Gomez argues, synthesized the complex Yoruba region into "hoodoo," which Gomez neither romanticizes nor belittles.

Besides ethnicity and race, Africans religion had a significant impact on African American culture and survived the psychological intrusion of American Christianity. Gomez is convincing in his accounts of Islam and Christianity. Islam, Gomez suggests, "may have influenced African -American culture in ways herefore unimagined" (82). Gomez's goal is to find out how these different peoples and societies influenced their world.

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