Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David L. Monk
African slavery is arguably the thesis for almost every aspect of black life in the Western world. Beginning in the 16th century, slaves became a major commodity for international commerce, with large numbers of blacks forced to migrate throughout the world via the African slave trade. Kept in a system of involuntary servitude lasting into the mid-19th century, blacks found that slavery provided the foundation for institutional life in the United States up through the present. In fact, scholars continue to debate the historical significance, extent, scope, and political and economic implications of slavery. Today the African diaspora extends to every continent, resulting in black representation within nearly every ethnic group in the world. That diversity includes Hispanic, Native American, European, Caribbean, and/or numerous African ethnicities. Race, though, tends to serve as a symbol for black social life and identity. Blacks have been associated with the dark, untamed, and mysterious ...