Descendant Epistemology

Ebony Coletu


This article introduces a methodological approach that I call descendant epistemology, which builds knowledge from questions posed by descendants or from the standpoint of relatedness. In dialogue with James Anquandah, I explore my relation to Alfred Charles Sam, an Akyem merchant and leader of a back-to-Africa movement who brought the first generation of African Americans to the Gold Coast (Ghana) during World War I. Complementing interviews Anquandah conducted with descendants in the 1970s, the article argues for the central importance of kinship to movement strategy, revising the narrative of fraud and failure that has shaped US media accounts of Sam and the African Movement.

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