Black People : The Igbo Influence on the African Diaspora

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Onyemobi, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Onyemobi

    Onyemobi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    By Onyemobi Anyiwo

    Every Black History Month, we celebrate the legacy of Africa, and tell stories of how her children were scattered all over the world. However, no story of Africans in the Diaspora would be complete without the mention of the impact and influence of the Igbo people. Of the tens of millions of captured Africans who survived the Middle Passage, Igbo people accounted for 75% of those that came from the region in at the time as the "Bight of Biafra." It is difficult to know how many Igbo people were taken from the continent since a good portion of them decided that it was better to take their own lives then to have it ruled by someone else. The millions of Igbo people who actually did reach the western hemisphere ended up in large numbers in southern states like Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia. Those that arrived in the Caribbean ended up mainly in places like Haiti, Jamaica, Belize, Brazil, Cuba, and Trinidad, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts.

    Igbo people made an impact everywhere they arrived in the "New World." Olaudah Equiano, an Igbo man, was one of the first African slaves to write an autobiography, which detailed his early life in West Africa and providing the western world with the earliest accounts of pre-colonial life in Africa from an Igbo perspective (an event that would be repeated once again by Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart). It was his firsthand account of the Middle Passage, and the years of hardship as a slave that followed, that made his book gain notoriety and made Equiano a pioneer in the Abolitionist movement.

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    Abolitionism was not the only avenue that Igbo people used to resist slavery. Igbos also played a role in many of the slave rebellions of the Caribbean and Americas. On the island of Jamaica in 1816, a group of Eboes (Igbos) had conspired to get their freedom by killing all the whites on the Island on Christmas Day. Their plot was eventually discovered by an overseer and never was brought into fruition. The blood oath used in Tackey's conspiracy in Antigua also most likely had Igbo influence, as it was reported to have been done in a similar fashion as the igba ndu (binding life) pact done in Igboland.

    Igbos left their mark in other ways as well. One the island of Belize, one section of Belize Town was known as Eboe Town, and on a small island off the coast of Georgia there is a legendary place known as Ebo Landing. A cemetery in George Washington National Forest in Virginia shows the marks of Nsibidi, which was an Igbo writing system.

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    However, the biggest mark that the Igbo left on the Diaspora was their own blood. As stated before, Igbos made up more then 75% of the slaves taken from the Bight of Biafra, which itself exported nearly 20% of all the slaves captured from Africa. In states like Virginia, Igbos at one time made up over 70% of the black African population. Furthermore, Igbo women were amongst the most fertile of the African slaves in America, and had one of the highest proportions of surviving children, making them highly desirable mates. According to Douglas Chambers, author of Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginia, at least 60% of black Americans have at least one Igbo ancestor. If there is a time for the descendants of Igbos in the Diaspora to reconnect to the descendants of Igbos in Africa, it is now. We all must remember and honor our ancestors on both sides of the Atlantic, for without them, none of us would be here.
     
  2. Keita Kenyatta

    Keita Kenyatta going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great post!...however, it is this African "TRIBAL CONCEPT" by our people that allows us to be so manipulated by outsiders and those of our own who may not have our best interest at heart. "Personally speaking, I'm not trying to hear about any Igbos, yoruba, ewe, hausa or anything else". We are an African people and no one who has ever run down upon us ever asked us what "TRIBE WE WERE FROM"...all they saw was an African face and that was good enough. We got to stop this separation and tribalism because it's only aiding those who willingly seek to maintain our division. We are ONE PEOPLE !!!
     
  3. Prizmm

    Prizmm Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    :slingshot :bullseye:

    Excellent summation!

    I have met both Christian Nigerians (Igbo), Muslim Nigerians (Fulani) who have themselves lost knowledge of the roots we share. If my African brothers and sisters would open themselves up to the possibilites (especially today when continental Africans are being courted by the usual racist suspects) we could initiate business exchanges that would ultimately be beneficial to those of us in the so-called diaspora as well as those still at home.


    It appears that my continental family prefers to deal with Bush and his ilk. Little do they know. They accept that the position of the non-immigrant African American in Amerikkka is the result of our unwillingness to be creative and productive. I have exhorted them not to believe the hype, and still I see them courting the white man in Amerikkka. They better get a 'clue' or they will find out what we already know; you trust the white supremacist at tremendous personal risk! ..as always; The Struggle Continues....Peace!
     
  4. High Priest

    High Priest Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    ether we like it or not, Hausa is a different tribe from Igbo. Like the french are different from the british. The reason why they did`nt asked which tribe people were from, is very very simple. They just dont care about who we are.
    They care about who they are themselves and respect each other, As well as Hausa and Igbo were respecting each other before they ( white-man) came around.

    recently In the beginning of the war in Irak, Bush was asked if he knew in Irak there was tribes called Sunni and she-ite . He said : No . I thought they were Moslem. That was in 2003.

    bless you all
     
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I think we can understand and agree that there is beauty in diversity. The so-called "African-American" is an example of that beauty in diversity. We must not allow our yearnings for a functional and viable African world to not acknowledge the individual contributions a particular ethnic group has given. As African people, we are not monolithic, and have at various points in history had divergent histories and stories. To deny each group its uniqueness is to deny Africa her people. I, as a child of African slaves from various ethnicities, will be the first to state that Africa and her people can do without the ethnic and tribal rivalries because there is no benefit in our open and violent conflicts, but I do not have the authority to question the wisdom of my ancestors who first organized themselves in various cultural and political units. I will not express a naivete that centuries of traditions should be obliterated for some "abstract" concept of African uniformity. We acknowledge our various lineages, but at the same time, understand that our destines are intertwined into a collective story of African people.

    I agree to our unity, but not uniformity.

    We are African people - whether we are Igbo, Hausa, Halpulaar, Yoruba, Nupe, Kanuri, Igala, Fon, Aja, Anlo-Ewe, Guan, Fante, Asante, Denkyira, Ga, Dagomba, Bono, Mossi, Zerma, Songhai, Senufo, Mano, Kissi, Dan, Kpelle, Mende, Temne, Susu, Bamana, Dagara, Bozo, Lobo, Malinke, Balata, Soninke, Serer, Wolof, Mbundu, Ovimbundu, Bakongo, Luba, Chokwe, Fang, Soyo, Bamileke, Tutsi, Shona, Lovedu, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Kikuyu, Masaai, and the many many others of our people. African people.

    Blackbird
     
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