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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Back to the land of 'Roots': African American tourism and the cultural heritage of the River Gambia
Author:Bellagamba, AliceISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Volume:49
Issue:193-194
Pages:453-476
Language:English
Geographic term:Gambia
Subjects:tourism
slave trade
cultural heritage
African Americans
Abstract:In the late 1960s, the African American journalist and novelist Alex Haley identified the small rural village of Juffureh at the mouth of the Gambia River as the place where slave traders kidnapped his ancestor Kunta Kinte so as to sell him as a slave on the other side of the Atlantic. Within a few years, the publication of his novel 'Roots', in 1976, and the production of a TV series with the same title, brought the small Republic of the Gambia to the attention of the international community and inaugurated a tradition of encounters between Gambians and African American tourists. This article addresses the public memorialization of the Atlantic slave trade and the use of such heritage as a tourist resource in the Gambia nowadays by illustrating two initiatives of the late 1990s both aimed at marketing the land of 'Roots' to a global audience of African American tourists. The first was the establishment of a slavery museum in the locality of Albreda, near Juffureh. The second was an initiation ceremony that a small Jola community in the proximity of the capital city of Banjul organized for a group of African American College students in 2000. Bibliogr., notes, ref, sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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