The American Presbyterian Congo Mission, Althea Brown Edmiston, and the Languages of the Congo
This chapter examines the work of APCM missionary Edmiston, a Fisk University graduate and skilled linguist, who in the first decades of the twentieth century controversially wrote the first dictionary and grammar of the Bushong (Bakuba) language. Shortly after her fellow Fisk alumni Du Bois used African American spirituals as signposts for his groundbreaking tour through U.S. history and culture in The Souls of Black Folk, she also contributed to the APCM’s effort to translate religious hymns into Tshiluba by adding African American spirituals such as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to the Presbyterian hymnal. The translations by Edmiston and her colleagues insured that Tshiluba developed not only as the language of the colonial state, but also as a language that was shaped by the sacred texts of postbellum African American culture.
Keywords: Althea Brown Edmiston, W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, Fisk University, African American spirituals, American Presbyterian Congo Mission (APCM), African American missionaries, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, Bushong (Bakuba) language, Tshiluba language and translation
North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.