The words ‘mind-blowing, awesome, wonderful, eye-opening, truly amazing, inspirational, life changing’ are being used by visitors—from as far away as Australia, Ethiopia, France, India, Italy and Spain—to describe the deeply inspring and moving exhibition Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers. Come and see for yourself what they have discovered.
Generals, commanders, admirals, prime ministers, and rulers, East Africans greatly distinguished themselves in India. They wrote a story unparalleled in the rest of the world — that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority not only in a foreign country but also on another continent. In continued celebration of Black History Month, a groundbreaking exhibition at the Schomburg Center — on view from February 1 to July 6 — retraces their extraordinary story.
Following free traders and artisans who migrated to and traded with India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia in the fist centuries of the common era; from the 1300s onward, East Africans from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and adjacent areas entered the Indian subcontinent, mostly though the slave trade. Others came as soldiers and sailors. From Bengal in the northeast to Gujarat in the west and to the Deccan in Central India, they vigorously asserted themselves in the country of their enslavement. The success was theirs but it is also a strong testimony to the open-mindedness of a society in which they were a small religious and ethnic minority, originally of low status. As foreigners and Muslims, some of these Africans ruled over indigenous Hindu, Muslim and Jewish populations.
Besides appearing in written documents, East Africans, known as Habshis (Abyssinians) and Sidis, have been immortalized in the rich paintings of different eras, states, and styles that form an important part of Indian culture.Africans in India features dramatically stunning photographic reproductions of some of these paintings, as well as photographs.
To read more, please click here.
“I search for those things that inspire me—beautiful imagery, music, and literature.”—Gordon Parks.
The schomburg’s Gordon Parks: 100 Moments exhibition opens tomorrow.
On Saturday, July 14 at 3 p.m., join Adger Cowans, the distinguished fine arts photographer and abstract expressionist, who will discuss his personal collection of photos of Gordon Parks, while providing a deeper look at the life, work, and legacy of his longtime friend. Come early to view the exhibition!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Claire Yaffa
By Steven G. Fullwood, Co-curator of the exhibition GMAD at 25: A History in Words and Images, and Project Director for the Black Gay & Lesbian Archive, Schomburg Center
I discovered Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) in 1998, four months after I moved to New York City. At the time GMAD’s office was located in Chelsea, on14th Street. I attended one of its Friday Night Forums and was fortunate to find my first friend in New York City, James Jefferson, who has since passed. These consciousness-raising sessions brought together an array of men interested in discussing issues and topics that explored relationships, communications, dialoguing with gays of the African Diaspora, aging, parenting, intimacy, homophobia, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, religion, sex, and entrepreneurship.
James was emblematic of the wonderful people I would meet at GMAD and form lasting friendships over the years. And this is what GMAD has meant to me most—making connections with other black gay men of various backgrounds, ages, and interests. Of the most prominent gifts GMAD has given me—and many men, I imagine—is a place of communion.
“Once you change your philosophy, you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your attitude. Once you change your attitude it changes your behavior pattern, and then you go into some action.”—Malcolm X.
Teaching Malcolm X: An Educator’s Workshop, Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at the Schomburg Center. For more information, click here.
Photo Credit: Malcolm X on university tour. Photographer: Robert L. Haggins. Malcolm X Collection, Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.
Over the course of nearly 2,000 years, millions of East Africans, free and enslaved, crossed the Indian Ocean in their journey to distant lands, from Arabia and Iraq to India and Sri Lanka. In India, some enslaved men became navy commanders, regents, and princes and founded dynasties.
The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World traces their truly unique and fascinating story of struggles and achievements.
The Schomburg Center is glad to present our newest online exhibition: Africana Age: African & African Diasporan Transformations in the 20th Century.
By the end of the 19th century, Africans and peoples of African descent—except the Ethiopians, the Haitians and the Liberians—were living under some form of European colonial domination. The history of Africa and its Diaspora was dismissed as insignificant at best, inexistent at worse. Black cultures were ridiculed, stereotyped, and scorned. But over the course of the last 100 years black peoples the world over launched epic struggles for freedom, civil rights, and independence. Africana Age retraces this turbulent history of challenges, tragedies, and triumphs.
Sylviane Diouf, Director of Digital Productions, says: “Thanks to a unique collaboration between the Schomburg-Mellon Fellows and scholars, the general public, students, and teachers will find on this site essential information and analyses, as well as compelling images that will help them better understand the important events and trends of the past century.”
Click the image to visit Africana Age.
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Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Institute