The Western Journal of Black Studies

Volume 35, Issue 3


Catholicism as an Instrument of Counterhegemony:
The Religiopolitical Ingenuity of Afro-Mexican People
Rupe Simms—North Park University Chicago

Hernan Cortez, the Spanish conquistador, defeated the indigenous people of present-day Mexico in 1521, and this marked the beginning of the nation's 300-year colonial era. Cortez brought enslaved Africans with him as a labor force, and from this point Blacks, as a subjugated people, exerted an enormous influence on the culture of "New Spain." This study argues that these Africans utilized the Catholic religion, to which they were converted by their masters, as a source of opposition to the dehumanizing conditions of bondage. In developing this position, the article first surveys the sociopolitical culture of Colonial Mexico and then discusses in detail how the African slaves creatively utilized their relationship with the Catholic Church to resist exploitation by their European masters.
pp. 163-75


(Re)framing Health Literacy:
Transforming the Culture of Health in the Black Barbershop

Olga Idriss Davis —Arizona State University

Health literacy, a barrier to addressing health disparities in Black communities, is exacerbated by history of healthcare maltreatment, poorly informed participation in experimentation, and a perception of unethical medical behavior. Black communities have employed oral tradition to address health; integrating public health challenges into communication within socio-cultural spaces of blackness. Black barbers are redefining roles and spaces, recrafting discourse about healthcare among Black men. The Barbershop Hypertension Screening Program is designed to increase health literacy and knowledge of Black males through high blood pressure screening and referrals. This project illuminates the role of Black barbers in transforming this emancipatory space to encompass health education and empowerment.
pp. 176-86


The Status of Africa's Emigration
Brain Drain in the 21st Century

Amadu Jacky Kaba—Seton Hall University

This paper presents a diagnosis of Africa's emigration brain drain, pointing out that at least 16 million African immigrants are out of the continent, with a very high number of them in developed nations. The paper illustrates that a very high proportion of these African immigrants are highly educated and hold highly paid jobs or positions. The paper presents information showing the implications of Africa's brain drain, the causes for it and some of its benefits to Africans in Africa, such as remittances. Finally, the paper presents some recommendations as to how to manage this phenomenon.
pp. 187–207


Economic Insecurity, Mental Health, and the Economic Crisis in New York City
Veronica Momjian—The City University of New York
Kaleefa Munroe—The City University of New York

The current economic crisis has provoked concern about its effect on the lives of individuals including the mental health of Americans. Drawing from social capital and social buffer research, this paper examines the relationship between economic insecurity and mental health, and the extent to which social buffers provided through support networks help ameliorate poor mental health. An omnibus survey distributed to 329 residents of a major metropolitan city during the spring of 2009 revealed that part-time employment and economic hardship do have a significant negative impact on mental health, and that social support is important in mediating this relationship. Contrary to previous research, this study has determined that race, ethnicity, and being unemployed are not significantly related to mental health.
pp. 196-127


Canada: The Promised Land for U.S. Slaves

Renford Reese—California State Polytechnic University

After much fiery debate at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, delegates agreed to allow slavery to continue exist on American soil. Embedded in this agreement, was a slave fugitive law, which stated that runaway slaves musts be lawfully returned to their rightful owners. It was this component of the U.S. Constitution, which laid the foundation for the Slave Fugitive Acts of 1793 and 1850. Each of these acts made the U.S. a vast hunting ground for bounty hunters and ordinary White citizens. Consequently, Canada became the most secure safe-haven for slave fugitives in North America. Seen as the "Promised Land" in the slave imagination, Canada, in many ways, lived up to being an egalitarian utopia for slave fugitives. In Canada, slavery was denounced in 1793 and was formally abolished in 1834. The Underground Railroad, a clandestine system of trails and safe houses, enabled an estimated 100,000 slaves from 1810-1850 to escape the South to the slave-free northern states and Canada.

Many among the northern U.S. population were averse to assisting escaped slaves because of the harsh consequences outlined in the slave fugitive laws. Consequently, Canada became the ultimate destination for runaways and those guiding the Underground Railroad. This paper will examine the impetus for slave fugitives to migrate to Canada, Canada as the Promised Land in the slave imagination, the anti-slavery spirit and early Black settlements in Canada, and the perceptions versus realities of Canada being an egalitarian utopia for slave fugitives.
pp. 208–17


Book Reviews

Black, Brown, and Beige: Surrealist Writings
from Africa and the Diaspora

Authors: Franklin Rosemont and Robin D.G. Kelley
Reviewer: Nicole Sullivan
pp. 218–19

From Du Bois to Obama: African American
Intellectuals In the Public Forum

Author: Charles Pete Banner-Haley
Reviewer: Celucien Joseph
pp. 219–159

Battle Cries: Black Women
and Intimate Partner Abuse

Author: Hillary Potter
Reviewer: Angelique Harris
p. 222

The Option for the Poor in Christian Theology
Author: Daniel G. Groody
Reviewer: Brian J. Wells
pp. 223–25

WJBS Cover


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