The End of Empires: African Americans and India

Gerald Horne, Author . Temple Univ. $54.50 (266p) ISBN 978-1-59213-899-9

Horne (Cold War in a Hot Zone ) shifts the more usual local focus in African-American history to a global one of unanticipated dimensions in this study of the spiritual, ideological and personal ties between Black America and India. The author contends that colonialism and anti-Asian bias made for common cause between African-Americans and Indians, and explores how Indian thought significantly influenced African-American culture—from the expected examination of Martin Luther King Jr.’s adoption of Gandhi’s techniques of nonviolent resistance to more surprising revelations on the South Asian influence on abolitionists and the Nation of Islam, and the close friendship between Paul Robeson and Jawaharlal Nehru. In arguing that the “momentum toward independence in India and equality for U. S. Negroes... became intertwined,” Horne presents a variety of examples of cultural cross-pollination—African-Americans reading Gandhi and writing on colonialism while Indians were writing on the race problem in the United States, and more. Readers interested in African-American history, race relations and anticolonialist movements will find Horne’s book overstuffed and somewhat rambling, but still an informative and useful exploration of fresh territory. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/23/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 274 pages - 978-1-59213-901-9
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