Professor of History
Department of History/African American Studies
Boston University

138 Mountfort Street
Brookline, MA 02446


BA Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY 1973
MA Columbia University, New York, NY 1974
Thesis: “Afro-Brazilians and West Indians in West Africa in the Nineteenth Century.”
MA Columbia University, New York, NY, 1975 Masters in International Relations
PhD Columbia University, New York, 1984
Thesis: “Production, Trade, and Power: The Political Economy of Central Angola, 1850-1927.”


September 1, 2008 Director, African American Studies Program
September 1, 2003 Boston University, Boston, MA, Professor
2000-August 31, 2003 Howard University, Washington, DC, Professor
1990-2000 Howard University, Washington, DC, Associate Professor
1989 University of New Mexico, Visiting Assistant Professor
1987 School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Visiting Assistant Professor
1984-1990 Howard University, Washington, DC, Assistant Professor
1982-4 Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, Visiting Assistant Professor
1979-80 Cooperante Científica, Centro de Documentação e Investigação Histórica, Luanda, Angola
1976 Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY Visiting Instructor
1975 Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, NY, Visiting Instructor


2014 (with John Thornton) W.E.B. DuBois Institute of African and African American Research, Harvard University ($8,500) Central African Diaspora to the Americas.
2013 (with John Thornton) W.E.B. DuBois Institute of African and African American Research, Harvard University ($8,056) Central African Diaspora to the Americas.
2011 (with John Thornton) W.E.B. DuBois Institute of African and African American Research, Harvard University ($8, 410.72) Central African Diaspora to the Americas.
2010-2011 NEH K-12 Workshop, African Americans in Boston ($180, 792.72).
2009-2010 Fellow, W.E.B DuBois Institute of African and African American Research, Harvard University.
Spring 2008 Fellow, W.E.B DuBois Institute of African and African American Research, Harvard University.
2007 African Studies Center, Boston University, $2000 Summer Develop to new course on Africa and the Caribbean.
2006 Humanities Foundation, Boston University, $3,000 Translation Grant.
2006 (with John Thornton) W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research $25,000 (Three year grant for research in Europe, Brazil and Angola).
2000-2001 (Fiscal Year) Howard University Faculty Research Grant “The Central African Roots of Afro-Brazilian Culture, 1700-1830”.
1999 Howard University, Research Grant, Fund for Academic Excellence.
1997-1998 Research Grant, Howard University Faculty Research Program.
1993 NEH Summer Institute, Johns Hopkins University “The Plantation Complex in World History”.
1992 NEH Summer Stipend, “Readings in Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Venezuelan Culture History”.
1990 Research Grant, Howard University for travel to Portugal and France.
1988 Research Grant, Howard University for travel to New York for archival research.
1986 Research Grant, Howard University for travel to New York for archival research.
1985 Research Grant, Howard University for travel and research to develop the course in African Diaspora
1978 Bolsa de Pesquisas, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, for research in Portugal
1977-8 Whiting Fellowship, Columbia University for research in Portugal and Angola.


2013 Kunhart Productions, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross PBS Series
2011 Nutopia Planned multi-series TV production by UK History Channel
2010, PBS four part series, Blacks in Latin America.
2005-7 Kunhardt Production, PBS mini-series “African American Lives” (Host Henry Louis Gates).
2007, Yap Films, Canada, Appeared in Documentary “Bloodlines.”
2005 WGBH, Series, Time Warp Trio, show, “Njinga all the Way.”
1998-2006 Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Williamsburg, VA. Work on exhibition scheduled to open in October 2006.
2001, June-August, ABC Television, “20-20” on the slave trade.
1998-2001 Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, VA Exhibit “Against Human Dignity” on Slave Trade.
2000-2001 Alexandria Black History Resource Center, Alexandria, VA.
Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, Key West, FL. Exhibiting the remains of the “Henrietta Marie”.
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. “African Voices” project to redo the Africa Hall of the Museum of Natural History.



African Goddess: The Life of Queen Njinga of Angola (in production, Harvard University Press).

Senior Editor, African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy: From the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama (Illinois University Press, 2015).

(ed.)  Diáspora Negra No Brasil (São Paulo, Brazil: Editora contexto, 2008)

(with John Thornton) Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the Foundation of America (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Ed. Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Contested Power in Angola, 1840s to the Present (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2000).

(ed. With African Diaspora Committee) The African Diaspora: Africans and Their Descendants in the Wider World to 1800, Boston: Ginn, 1989 and subsequent editions).

(ed. With the African Diaspora Committee) The African Diaspora: Africans and their Descendants in the Wider World Since 1800  (Boston:  Ginn, 1989 and subsequent editions).

(ed. With Dennis Sherman, A. Tom Grunfeld, Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner), World Civilizations: Sources, Images and Interpretation (2 vols, New York: McGraw-Hill, revised 1997).

Articles and Book Chapters

“Mbanza Kongo/São Salvador: Culture and the Transformation of an African City” in Emmanuel Akeampong et. al., Africa’s Development in Historical Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

(with John Thornton, “The Kongo Kingdom and European Diplomacy” in Kongo Across the Waters (University of Florida Press, 2013)

(with John Thornton), “The Culture of Mbanza Kongo,” in Kongo Across the Waters (University of Florida Press, 2013)

“Angola and the Violent Years, 1975-2008:  Civilian Casualties,” Portuguese Studies Review 19 (2011):  311-332.

(with John Thornton) “Cannibal Negroes”, Atlantic Creoles, & the Identity of New England’s Charter Generation,” African Diaspora 4 (2011) 67-94.

(with John Thornton), “Preface” in Michel Chandeigne, ed., La Reine Njinga (Angola) (Paris: Changdeine, 2010), 5-27.

Edna Medford, (ed.), Historical Perspectives of the African Burial Ground: New York Blacks and the Diaspora, volume 3 of the New York African Burial Ground (author or contributing author of ten of the thirteen chapters) (Howard University Press, 2009).

“Slavery and its Transformation in the Kingdom of Kongo: 1491-1800,” (Journal of African History, 50 (2009), pp. 1-22.

(with John Thornton) “Intercultural Relations Between Europeans and Blacks in New Netherlands” in Four Hundred Years of Dutch-American Relations, 1609-2009 editors Hans Krabbendam et al. (State University Press of New York, 2009).

“African Leadership, Diplomacy and Ideology: Queen Njinga Mbandi Ana de Sousa of Ndongo/Matamba, 1624-1660,” introduction in Kathryn McKnight, ed. Afro-Latino Voices (Hackett, 2009).

(with John Thornton) “Kongo and Dahomey, 1660-1815: African Political Leadership in the Era of the Slave Trade and Its Impact on the Formation of African Identity in Brazil,” in Bernard Bailyn, ed. Soundings in Atlantic History: Latent Structures and Intellectual Currents, 1500-1825 (Cambridge MA:  Harvard University Press, 2009), pp. 86-111.

(with John Thornton) “The Treason of Dom Pedro Camguano Bemba against Dom Diogo, King of  Kongo, 1550,” in Kathryn McKnight, ed. Afro-Latino Voices (Hackett, 2009)

(with John Thornton) “Central African Leadership and the Appropriation of European Culture” in Peter C. Mancall, ed. The Atlantic World and Virginia. 1550-1624, University of North Carolina Press, 2007), pp. 194-224.

“The Angolan Church:  The Prophetic Tradition, Politics, and the State” in The Catholic Church and the Nation State: Comparative Perspectives, eds. Paul Christopher Manuel, Lawrence C. Reardon, and Clyde Wilcox (Washington, DC.: Georgetown University Press, 2006), pp. 191-207.

World Civilizations: Sources, Images, and Interpretations, Volumes 1 & 2, co-editor, (New York: McGraw-Hill, revised ed. 2001).

“As connexões culturais angolano-luso-brasileira,” in Selma Pantoja (ed.) Entre Áfricas e Brasis (São Paulo:  Paralelo, 2001), pp. 51-71.

“Ovimbundu Women and Social Change, 1886-1926,” in Actas do III Reunião Internacional de História de África. A África e a Instalação do Sistema Colonial (c. 1885-c. 1930) (Lisbon: 2000), pp. 441-53.

“Angolan-Afro-Brazilian Cultural Connections,” Slavery and Abolition, 20, no. 1, April 1999.

“Eric Williams: The Howard Years: 1939-1948,” Caribbean Issues. Vol. VIII, No. 1, March, 1998, pp. 14-28.

“Towards an Understanding of Modern Political Ideology in Africa: The Case of the Ovimbundu of Central Angola”. Journal of Modern African Studies, 36, 1998, 138-167.

“The African Diaspora,” in Madeleine Burnside (ed) A Slave Ships Speaks: The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie (Key West:  Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, 1995), pp. 24-39.

(with Joseph Reidy), “African Americans in Post Emancipation Economies” in Michael Conniff and T. J. Davis (eds.) Africans in the Americas: A History of the Black Diaspora (New York: St. Martin’s, 1994): 225-48.

“Unita and Ethnic Nationalism in Angola”, Journal of Modern African Studies 27/1 (1989).

(with John K. Thornton), “African Fiscal Systems as Sources for Demographic History:  The Case of Central Angola, 1799-1920,” Journal of African History 29/2 (1988).

“Slavery and Forced Labor in the Changing Political Economy of Central Angola, 1850-1949,” in Suzanne Meiers and Richard Roberts (eds.), The End of Slavery in Africa (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988).

(with John K. Thornton) “Demography, Production, and Labor: Central Angola, 1890-1950,” in Dennis Cordell and Joel Gregory (eds.) African Population and Capitalism: Historical Perspectives (Boulder: Westview Press, 1987).

“Growth and Decline of African Agriculture in Central Angola, 1890-1950,” Journal of Southern African Studies 13/3 (1987).

“Porters, Trade, and Power:  The Politics of Labor in the Central Highlands of Angola, 1850-1914,” in Paul Lovejoy and Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch (eds.) The Workers of African Trade (Beverley Hills, CA:  Sage, 1985):  243-68.


Book Manuscript:  The Making and Remaking of Queen Njinga Mbandi: History, Memory, Politics and Culture in Angola, Portugal and the African Diaspora

Cuba and Angola, Soft Power in the African Diaspora.



“Soft Power in the African Diaspora: Angola and Cuba,” Keynote Speaker, Symposium, -Cubangola 40: Rethinking the 1975 African Cuban War- Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, NYU, November 6, 2015.

“Queen Njinga of Angola: Spirituality and Politics” Keynote Speaker, African Christian Biography Conference, Boston University, October 30, 2015.

“Soft Power in the African Diaspora: The Case of Cuba and Angola,” University of Richmond, 7 September 2015.

“Queen Njinga of Angola: Violence Gender and Diplomacy-The Keys to Notoriety and Remembrance” Conference, European Community on African Studies [ECAS], Sorbonne, Paris, 8-10 July 2015.

“The Angolan Dimensions of Cuba’s Africa Policy” Workshop “Cuba/Angola: In Search of Cuban Nationalism and Foreign Policy, with UROP Student Mariem Marquetti (CAS 18), African American Studies Center, Boston University, May 5, 2015.

“Angola and Cuba: Strategic Alliance and Soft Power Objectives” Symposium, Africa’s Economic Development: Past, Present and Future” Harvard University, April 17-18, 2015.

“The Cultural Dimensions of Cuba’s Angolan Adventure” AHA, NYC, 3-5 January 2015.

“Politics, Memory and the Remaking of Queen Njinga in Contemporary Angola,” Boston University, African Studies, Rodney Seminars, April 14, 2014.

“Queen Njinga: Governance Through Diplomacy” Conference: Female Authority, Boston University, April 4, 2014.

“Kongo in the Atlantic: Cultural and Material Networks” Clark Workshop, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, March 6-9, 2014.

“Queen Njinga: Memory and Nation in Post-Independence Angola,” Presented at the 5th European Conference of African Studies Meeting, Lisbon, Portugal, 29th June 2013.

“The Atlantic World and the African Diaspora: The Case of Queen Njinga in Brazil” presented at Conference “1619 and the Making of America: When did we Become Americans,” Norfolk State University, 27 September 2013

“Search for Queen Njinga in Cuba,” Faculty at the Universidad de La Habana, Cuba, 29 July 2013.

“Queen Njinga: Legacy, Memory and Nation in Contemporary Angola” Public lecture presented at Jamestown Foundation, Jamestown, VA 27 February 2011

“Queen Njinga of Matamba (Angola) and the Tortured Road to Christianity,” at the conference,

Religion, Enslavement, and Anti-Slavery in Africa and the Americas,” Miami University, Ohio March 25-26, 2010.

“Queen Njinga and the Making of Memory in Contemporary Angola,” paper presented at Yale University, April 13, 2010.

“Queen Njinga, the Construction of Memory, and the Roots of National Identity in Angola,” paper presented at the  “IV Encontro Internacional de Historia de Angola,” Luanda, Angola, September 15-17, 2010.

“Mbanza Kongo/São Salvador: Culture as an Consumption Patterns in an Atlantic Creole City in Central Africa, 1509-1670s,” Paper presented at the conference, “Poverty and Wealth in Africa: The Long Durée,” Accra, Ghana, 15-17 July 2010.

“Mbanza Kongo/São Salvador: Political Culture and Slavery in an African Creole City in Central Africa, 1509-1670s.” Paper presented at Workshop on Consumption, power and culture in the early Modern Atlantic World, June 4-5, 2009 Abo Akademi University, Arken, Finland.

(with John Thornton) “Eastern Massachusetts and the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.” Paper presented at a Symposium, “African Americans in Boston: From Slavery to Today,” April 25th, 2009, Boston University.

(with John Thornton), “Public Performance in Angola and Brazil: The Central African Roots of Carnival.” Paper presented at International Conference, “Carnival. ‘A People’s Art,’ and ‘Taking Back the Streets’”, July 31-August 3, 2008, York University and Kofler Center at the University of Toronto.

““Uncovering Memory: Constructing Histories: The King of Kongo and Queen Njinga in Brazil”

April 30, 2008 , Harvard University, W.E.B. DeBois Institute Colloquium.

(with John Thornton ““Documents, DNA, & Databases: The Slave Trade & African American Roots” March 13, 2008, Honolulu, Hawaii, USS Arizona Memorial Visitor’s Center.

(with John Thornton) “17th Century African Identity and Community in North America,” Paper presented at International Conference on Community Building and Identity in the African Diaspora,” Boston University, March 30-31, 2007.

“Slavery and its Transformation in the Kingdom of Kongo.” Paper presented at

a Symposium, “Archaeological and Historical Dimensions of Slavery in Africa,” Institute of Archaeology, University College of London, 23-25 March 2007.

“Kongo Identity in Angola and Brazil” for Abolition Conferences, University College of London, Institute of Archaeology, 31 March, 2007.

(with John Thornton) “Managing the State:  African Political Leadership in Kongo and Dahomey, 1660-1815,” Paper presented at the Atlantic History Seminar, Harvard University, 21 June 2007.

“Kongo and Mbundu and the Making of Afro-Brazilian Identity in Brazil” III Encontro Internacional de Historia de Angola,” Luanda, Angola 23-28 September, 2007.

“The Post-Colonial State in Angola and the Road to National Identity” paper presented at US Department of State Ambassadorial Seminar on Angola for Dan Mozena, US Ambassador to Angola, 16 November 2007.

“History, Religion and Memory in Angola and Brazil: Searching for Queen Njinga.” Paper presented at 52nd International Congress Americanists, Seville, Spain, 17-21 July 2006.

(with John Thornton) “Central Africans, Creole Culture and the Making of the Plantation Generation, 1666-1740.” Paper presented at the Atlantic History Seminar, “Transformations: The Atlantic World in the late 17th Century,” Harvard University, Boston, March 30-April 1, 2006.

(with John Thornton) “The African Origins of Hispanic American,” Paper presented to the Cancer Epidemiology Workshop, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, May 4-5, 2006.

“Central African/Dutch Relations in Africa and Brazil, 1590s-1660: An Understudied Chapter in the History of the African Diaspora.” Paper presented at the Conference-Slavery from Within: Comparative Perspectives and Legacies in the Atlantic World, 23-24 June, 2005, Roosevelt Study Center, Middleburg, the Netherlands.

“Ovimbundu Women and the Politics of Decolonization and Nationalism,” Paper presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, Washington, DC, November, 2005.

(with John Thornton) “The Removal of the `Cannibal Negroes’ from New England to Providence Island,”  Paper presented at conference, “New England Slavery and the Slave Trade,” Boston, April, 2004.

(with John Thornton) “Central Africans and the Appropriation of European Culture, Kongo and Ndongo, 1560-1624”, Paper presented at the conference “The Atlantic World and Virginia, 1550-1624,” Williamsburg, VA, March, 2004.

“Memory Through Space and Time: Queen Njinga and Remembrance in Angola and Brazil.” Paper presented at Conference “Angola on the Move: Transport Routes, Communications and History,” Berlin, September, 2003.

28 March 2003, University of Scranton, “Queen Njinga of Angola and the Road to Roman Catholicism 1622-1663.”  American Catholic History Association, Convention, Scranton, PA.

22 March 2003 The Smithsonian Institution, Anacostia Museum, “Searching for Roots: Central Africans in Africa and the Americas during the Period of the Atlantic Slave Trade”.

25-29 April, 2002, Watson Institute, Brown University, Commentator, Portuguese/African Encounters, 2002.

22 October, 2002, University of Maryland, College Park, “The African background of Olaudah Equiano and History, Symposium on Olaudah Equiano.

22 November 2002, Princeton University, “Angolans in English and Dutch Colonies in Seventeenth Century America.”

1 October 2002. “O Estudo da Diaspora Africana nas Universidades Norte-Americanas,” at the Universidade Augustinho Neto, Luanda, Angola

November 20-27, 2001 “Integração da história da Africa dentro da história do Mundo” and “O ensino da história da Diaspora Africana em Howard University,” as a part of the Fulbright Foundation Sponsored Program, “Semana Zumbi” Universidade da Brasília, Brazil.

May 20-21, 2001. “Queen Njinga in History and Memory,” at Northwestern University.

May 3-13, 2001 Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History.  Participation in Videoconference and program for high school students and teachers, “The Trade Revolution in Central Africa.”

May 7-9, 2001  NEH Seminar for College Teachers, “The Black Diaspora:  Five Centuries of Black Experience Outside Africa” Florida Memorial College, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

April, 2001 Moderator for TC Program, Caribbean Students’ Association, Howard University.

April 28, 2001 “Matias de Sousa, a New Christian?” at Conference, “In Search of Matias de Sousa,” St. Mary’s College, Maryland.

February 22, 2001. “The African Burial Ground project:  What a 400 Year-Old African Slaves’ Gravesite Tells Us About Our Ancestors’ Lives.”

February 2, 2001 Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History, “Quest for Freedom”

November 10, 2000 Library of Congress, Latin American Symposium, “Queen Njinga in History and Memory”.

22 September 2000, “Culture and Change in Eighteenth Century Angola,” at Conference, “Crossing Boundaries:  The African Diaspora in the New Millennium,” New York University, NY.

September 5, 2000 Consultant, Project, “Securing the Blessings of Liberty,” Alexander Black History Resource Center.

14 July and 18 July 2000, “African Voices” and “Queen Njinga in the African Diaspora,” at National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Secondary School Teachers, “Roots:  The African Background of American Culture through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

29 June 2000, “Africa in World History,” Prince George’s County Department of Education In-Service Training Session, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.


27 July 2011 PRI Interview on Queen Njinga.

31 July 2011 Interview Australian National Broadcasting for program called “The Goodlife, St. James and the Kongo.”

History Channel, Canada, Yap Films, “Bloodlines,” 2007

PBS, United States, “Finding Oprah’s Roots.”

PBS Series African American Lives, 2006

Smithsonian Institution, African Voices 1999



Participant, Round Table “The PBS Series African American Lives: Science and the Reclamation of History” part of a series entitled “The Suppression of the Atlantic Slave Trade: A Bicentennial Reexamination, 1807-2007,” Annual Meeting, American Historical Association, Atlanta, Georgia, 7 January 2007.

(with John Thornton)  Conversa, “The Angola and Mina Waves: A New Look at the Slave Trade to Brazil,” at David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 25 October 2007.

Chair of Panel “New Research in Central African Social and Political History,” 50th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, New York, October 18-21 2007


2000 Member of Editorial Board, Rochester University Press

August, 2000-3 Member of Board, African Studies Association

2001 American Historical Association, Judge in Prize in Atlantic History (3 year term)



African History, all periods and regions

African Women, Culture and Power

History of the African Diaspora

African Economic and Social History

History and Film (focus on African Diaspora)

Writing Across the Curriculum, History