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Johnson, Violet

Johnson, Violet

Professor of History @ College of Arts and Sciences at Texas University in College Station


Dr. Violet Showers Johnson is Professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas University in College Station, Texas. She is also currently Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the Texas campus in Qatar. Violet received her BA with Honours in History from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, her MA from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, and her Ph.D. from Boston College. She researches and teaches courses on race, ethnicity, and immigration; African American history; and the history of the African Diaspora. She has published extensively on the experiences of immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. Her publications include The Other Black Bostonians: West Indians in Boston, 1900-1950. She is currently working on a monograph tentatively entitled Black While Foreign: African and Afro-Caribbean Immigrants and Race and Racism in Late Twentieth-Century America.

Geographical location : Texas, USA

Research Area and Interest : race, ethnicity, and immigration, African American history, history of the African Diaspora

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Imagining Caribbean Diaspora


Haitian Solidarity, American Activism: Afro-Caribbean Dimensions of the Louima Protest Movement.
Summary: Immigrants from the Caribbean have been prominent in the Black struggle for racial equality and justice in the United States. For a long time, the spotlight was on the Anglophone “West Indian” protagonists, like Jamaicans Marcus Garvey, and Wilfred A Domingo, Trinidadian Claudia Jones, and Barbadian Richard B Moore, to name a few. While in academic scholarship and popular culture English-speaking Afro-Caribbean activists had been the face of the foreign-black presence in the Black struggle, by the last quarter of the 20 th century, a strong Francophone addition was evident. Haitian immigrants had planted ethnic enclaves within which they developed strategies to confront anti-blackness in America, while continuing to fight for political and economic justice in Haiti. This transnational orientation to activism found expression in public protests triggered by events in Haiti and America. One such event was the brutal assault of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by officers of the New York Police Department in 1997. This event led to months of mass protest that featured seasoned American-born Black leaders like Al Sharpton, but with Haitian community leaders, radio stations, organizations, and diverse first- and second-generation immigrants from Haitian immigrant communities also in the forefront. My presentation will discuss the Louima protest, showing how it was used not only to challenge the treatment of Blacks in America, but more specifically, the treatment of Haitians and Haitian Americans, and the culpability of the American government in the continuing political oppression in Haiti.

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