This chapter discusses the formation of an African American diasporic imagination that was deeply influenced by Jewish diasporic politics and European Jewish Zionism. Beginning in the 1860s, African Americans traveled to Ottoman Palestine as slaves traveling with masters or as free black ministers in search of holy lands. The chapter examines the politics of diaspora and early pan-Africanism by identifying the comparisons black intellectuals drew between the European “Jewish question” and the condition of blacks within the United States. Both groups developed political imaginaries that responded to racial modernity. In the late nineteenth century, European Jews confronted the Dreyfus affair at the same time that black Americans witnessed how their nation failed to realize Reconstruction and allowed the ascendency of Jim Crow legislation.
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