In Transatlantic Liverpool: Shades of the Black Atlantic, Mark Christian presents a Black British study within the context of the transatlantic and Liverpool, England. Taking a semi-autoethnographic approach based on the author's Black Liverpool heritage, Christian interacts with Paul Gilroy's notion of the Black Atlantic. Yet, provides a fresh perspective that takes into account a famous British slave port's history that has been overlooked or under-utilized. The longevity of Black presence in the city involves a history of discrimination, stigma, and a population group known colloquially as Liverpool Born Blacks (LBBs). Crucially, this book provides the reader with a deeper insight of the transatlantic in regard to the movement of Black souls and their struggle for acceptance in a hostile environment. This book is an evocative, passionate, and revealing read.
Mark Christian is professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the City University of New York.
About the Author
Transatlantic Liverpool employs an Africana critical studies lens to examine transatlantic lives, linkages, and relationships beyond London, which Christian argues has been the center of too much of the Black British experience. He seeks to broaden the scope of transatlantic studies with case studies that consider evidence outside the metropole. Written as a semi-autoethnography that expands Paul Gilroy's concept of the Black Atlantic, the book contrasts the author's experiences with other transatlantic travelers, including Frederick Douglass. As Christian notes, Douglass came to England in search of freedom, whereas the author himself left England for the US in 1992 “to pursue academic freedom” (p. 21). Christian’s analysis thus attempts to connect the modern-day Black British experience to a wider transatlantic phenomenon that defines racial relationships and hierarchies on both sides of the Atlantic. He seeks to unravel the complex hierarchy of racism to reveal a fuller Black British experience that will foster deeper understandings of transatlantic history. His case studies, especially his coverage of the funding decisions made by Liverpool’s city council in the 1980s and 1990s, are particularly interesting. This volume will be valuable to readers seeking to know more about transatlantic linkages, Liverpool, and the Black British experience. Recommended. General readers through faculty.
"Transatlantic Liverpool: Shades of the Black Atlantic, by Mark Christian, is one of the most remarkable contemporary intellectual auto-ethnographies. Christian, a brilliant and insightful scholar, has integrated his theoretical, biographical, and critical observations to produce the most, to date, profound book on race and culture in Britain. Using the backdrop of his ancestry as the tapestry of color, rhythm, and dance on which he placed the abiding issue of white racial supremacy, Christian makes the pitch for a more human and a more humane construction of culture. With this work, and its strong Afrocentric understanding, Mark Christian has asserted his dominance in the field of race and culture in Britain, with implications for the rest of the world."
"Extending the Black Atlantic paradigm of Paul Gilroy to a single city in England, a city that was directly tied to slavery and to which Frederick Douglass escaped to give a speech against slavery in 1846, this is a combative contribution to knowledge from the critical perspective of Africana Studies. Mark Christian contests the stigmatization of Liverpool Born Black people like himself. His attention to major current events, autobiographical details, theoretical and methodological issues, makes this book engaging to read."
"An extraordinary and deeply personal analysis of the Black experience framed from a British perspective. Yet, this book offers insights into the universal experience of African-descendant people in white dominated communities throughout the African Diaspora. Dr. Christian's work is a valuable contribution not only to the literature on the Black Atlantic, but to the collective body of works that speak to the fight for freedom, human dignity, and liberation for all members of the African Diaspora."
"A ground-breaking social history of Liverpool's Black communities from an insider. Centered on the experiences of the Christian family, but also placing these in the wider context of Liverpool's history, this pioneering study provides an autoethnographic approach to dual heritage, miseducation, state and other forms of racism, football, and much else besides. Indispensable."
"Transatlantic Liverpool is a semi-autoethnography that draws on and analyzes the lived experiences of Mark Christian and connects those insights to an examination of Africana Studies. Christian challenges Paul Gilroy’s ‘black Atlantic’ which describes a cultural-political space that is not specifically African, American, Caribbean, or British, but is a hybrid mix of all of these. Transatlantic Liverpool is an enlightening, well-written, and lively analysis within Africana critical studies."
The book masterfully links the transatlantic analysis with a grassroots Black British perspective in the way a city can engage with a global discourse and dynamic – that of the slave trade, white racial supremacy and the practice of the city’s apology.