Date of Award

5-1-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel O. Black

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary A. Twining

Abstract

This research explores the history of an enslaved African-American family who descend from an eighteenth-century ancestor named Anakah, through archival records in order to uncover any inconspicuous clues and a preponderance of evidence positively linking her family to its West African origins. This research also unearthed the Africanisms that prevailed within her family during slavery. Anakah's family was linked to two possible regions in West Africa, but no concrete evidence was found to definitively link the origins of her family to one of those regions. Additionally, familial customs and practices that mirrored West African customs were found among four generations of her enslaved descendants in South Carolina and Mississippi. This research displayed how definitive links to specific West African regions can be plausibly asserted in some families through an in-depth, historical analysis. Although certain Africanisms can not serve as conclusive evidence to adequately identify the West African origins of this family or any African-American family, the documentation of the West African cultural retentions served as an integral part of successfully bridging the gap between Anakah and her family in America and West Africa.