Heather Andrea Williams (Fellow, 2007–08; Geraldine R. Segal Professorship in American Social Thought and Professor of Africana Studies)
January 17, 2012
When we speak of the American melting pot, we tend to think of nineteenth-century cities where many ethnicities blended to form hybrid cultures. But was there an earlier melting pot, rural and agricultural rather than urban and industrial? The slave plantation brought together not only the blacks of the quarters and the whites of the big house but also people from different parts of Africa, from what today are nations like Ghana, Senegal, and Mali. What culture emerged from this melting pot, and how is it still with us?