Alabama in Africa

Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South

by Andrew Zimmerman

Series: America in the World (No. 3)

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 140083497X
  • 9780691123622
  • 9781400834976

In 1901, the Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington, sent an expedition to the German colony of Togo in West Africa, with the purpose of transforming the region into a cotton economy similar to that of the post-Reconstruction American South. Alabama in Africa explores the politics of labor, sexuality, and race behind this endeavor, and the economic, political, and intellectual links connecting Germany, Africa, and the southern United States. The cross-fertilization of histories and practices led to the emergence of a global South, reproduced social inequities on both sides of the Atlantic, and pushed the American South and the German Empire to the forefront of modern colonialism.


Zimmerman shows how the people of Togo, rather than serving as a blank slate for American and German ideologies, helped shape their region's place in the global South. He looks at the forms of resistance pioneered by African American freedpeople, Polish migrant laborers, African cotton cultivators, and other groups exploited by, but never passive victims of, the growing colonial political economy. Zimmerman reconstructs the social science of the global South formulated by such thinkers as Max Weber and W.E.B. Du Bois, and reveals how their theories continue to define contemporary race, class, and culture.


Tracking the intertwined histories of Europe, Africa, and the Americas at the turn of the century, Alabama in Africa shows how the politics and economics of the segregated American South significantly reshaped other areas of the world.


  • Princeton University Press; March 2010
  • ISBN: 9781400834976
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Alabama in Africa
  • Series: America in the World (No. 3)
  • Author: Andrew Zimmerman
  • Imprint: Princeton University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 140083497X
  • 9780691123622
  • 9781400834976

In The Press

"Zimmerman's compelling and beautifully executed book is an innovative tracking of the interrelations among free labor, race, and social science, linking Germany, Africa, and the United States. This is a groundbreaking book, one that will have a major impact."—Geoff Eley, University of Michigan


About The Author

Andrew Zimmerman is professor of history at George Washington University and the author of Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany.