cover of book

Black Star: African American Activism in the International Political Economy
by Ramla M. Bandele
University of Illinois Press, 2007
Cloth: 978-0-252-03339-1 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09045-5
Library of Congress Classification E185.8.B18 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 320.54


This book describes how the first African American mass political organization was able to gain support from throughout the African diaspora to finance the Black Star Line, a black merchant marine that would form the basis of an enclave economy after World War I. Ramla M. Bandele explores the concept of diaspora itself and how it has been applied to the study of émigré and other ethnic networks.

In characterizing the historical and political context of the Black Star Line, Bandele analyzes the international political economy during 1919-25 and considers the black politics of the era, focusing particularly on Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association for its creation of the Black Star Line. She offers an in-depth case study of the Black Star Line as an instance of the African diaspora attempting to link communities and carry out a transnational political and economic project. Arguing that ethnic networks can be legitimate actors in international politics and economics, Bandele also suggests, however, that activists in any given diaspora do not always function as a unit.

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