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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

The African Diaspora
By Ron Houston

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Ron Houston

The comic tragedy we title "Human History" involves not only dramatic entrances and exits, but also epic shifts of scenery. Entire acts present these shifts, called diasporas, which involve the dispersion of a people from their homeland to isolated, widespread, and identifiable communities around the world.

Most diasporas result from a "push," in that people emigrated to seek refuge or a livelihood. Armenians fled Anatolia to escape genocide. Irish left Eire to find sustenance. Indians left the subcontinent to pursue economic advancement. One diaspora, however, resulted from a "pull." The great African diaspora occurred as slave traders such as Arab, Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Americans took Africans in bondage to other lands.


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