Tue, Feb 28|
Sankofa Video, Books, & Café
Scholar Hour: Dr. Benjamin Talton
Join us for a discussion on the importance of archiving Black history and literature with Dr. Benjamin Talton, Director of the Moorland Spingard Research Center at Howard University, and author of In This Land of Plenty: Mickey Leland and Africa in American Politics.
Time & Location
Feb 28, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Sankofa Video, Books, & Café, 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
About The Event
About the author:
Dr. Benjamin Talton is the Director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center and Professor of African and African Diasporic History. He earned his BA in history at Howard University and his doctorate, also in history, at the University of Chicago. He has published three books: The Politics of Social Change in Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality (Palgrave 2010); Black Subjects in Africa and its Diasporas: Race and Gender in Research and Writing (Palgrave 2011); and, most recently, In This Land of Plenty: Mickey Leland and Africa in American Politics (Penn Press 2019), which won the 2020 Wesley-Logan Prize from the American Historical Association. Prior to his return to Howard University, Dr. Talton was a professor of African History at Temple University, Visiting Senior Lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, and assistant professor of History at Hofstra University. Dr. Talton is an editor of African Studies Review, the leading North American peer-reviewed African Studies journal. He has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and popular outlets, including The Washington Post, Jacobin, Current History, The Journal of Asian and African Studies, The African Studies Review, The Conversation, Ghana Studies, and Africa Is A Country.
About the book:
On August 7, 1989, Congressman Mickey Leland departed on a flight from Addis Ababa, with his thirteen-member delegation of Ethiopian and American relief workers and policy analysts, bound for Ethiopia's border with Sudan. This was Leland's seventh official humanitarian mission in his nearly decade-long drive to transform U.S. policies toward Africa to conform to his black internationalist vision of global cooperation, antiracism, and freedom from hunger. Leland's flight never arrived at its destination. The plane crashed, with no survivors.
When Leland embarked on that delegation, he was a forty-four-year-old, deeply charismatic, fiercely compassionate, black, radical American. He was also an elected Democratic representative of Houston's largely African American and Latino Eighteenth Congressional District. Above all, he was a self-proclaimed citizen of humanity. Throughout the 1980s, Leland and a small group of former radical-activist African American colleagues inside and outside Congress exerted outsized influence to elevate Africa's significance in American foreign affairs and to move the United States from its Cold War orientation toward a foreign policy devoted to humanitarianism, antiracism, and moral leadership. Their internationalism defined a new era of black political engagement with Africa. In This Land of Plenty presents Leland as the embodiment of larger currents in African American politics at the end of the twentieth century. But a sober look at his aspirations shows the successes and shortcomings of domestic radicalism and aspirations of politically neutral humanitarianism during the 1980s, and the extent to which the decade was a major turning point in U.S. relations with the African continent.
Exploring the links between political activism, electoral politics, and international affairs, Benjamin Talton not only details Leland's political career but also examines African Americans' successes and failures in influencing U.S. foreign policy toward African and other Global South countries.
This ticket ensures that a book will be held for you behind the counter.$26.45