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Congo Love Song – African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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Congo Love Song: African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State

Ira Dworkin


In his 1903 hit "Congo Love Song," James Weldon Johnson recounts a sweet if seemingly generic romance between two young Africans. While the song’s title may appear consistent with that narrative, it also invokes the site of King Leopold II of Belgium’s brutal colonial regime at a time when African Americans were playing a central role in a growing Congo reform movement. In an era when popular vaudeville music frequently trafficked in racist language and imagery, "Congo Love Song" emerges as one example of the many ways that African American activists, intellectuals, and artists called attentio ... More

Keywords: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Anticolonialism, Congo reform movement, Black aesthetics, Modern Black nationalism, African Americans in the Congo

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9781469632711
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018 DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469632711.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ira Dworkin, author
Texas A&M University