Howard French on “Born in Blackness”
I’m very excited to share today’s episode, which features an interview with Howard French, the author of the urgent and essential book Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War.
It is, simply, one of the most important books I’ve read.
I encourage you to read it and wrestle with its implications.
Howard is a professor of journalism at Columbia University and a former New York Times bureau chief for the Caribbean and Central America, West and Central Africa, Tokyo, and Shanghai.
In our discussion, we explore the role his career as a reporter in the Atlantic basin played in inspiring him to write Born in Blackness, several of the themes in his book, the findings that most surprised him during his research, and the role Africa and Africans might play in the 21st Century.
Speaking with Howard was a genuine privilege.
I hope that you enjoy our conversation and that you come away with a yearning to learn more.
This podcast was recorded in June 2022.
Learn more about the book.
Learn more about Howard.
Follow Howard on Twitter.
Read Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò’s superb review of Born in Blackness in Foreign Affairs.
On the inadequacy of the word “plantation” to describe the conditions of slavery, see, for example, chapter 1 (“The Property”) in C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins.
Music credit: Daniel Allan, “Too Close” released on Sound. You can learn more about Daniel’s community-owned DAO that underwrote his latest EP here.
(Disclosure: In addition to the “Too Close” NFT, Portico’s founder Michael Casey owns $OVERSTIM tokens, as well as many other music NFTs; his Sound collector profile is available here).