Crossing Adams Street, Brooklyn, New York.
In the New York metro area of my childhood, I regularly crossed paths with Afro-diasporic folks from throughout the Americas; but I rarely encountered kids who had immigrated from Africa. It’s one of the biggest differences between my experience of NYC in the 1970s and the way New York feels today. Forty years ago, Afro-disaporic New York was populated by people whose families’ migration from Africa to New York involved at least a couple stops on the way–at one of the many places in the Americas where the slave ships made landfall and again at the plantation(s) to which their ancestors were sold. While many Black New Yorkers of the time were immigrants, few such families’ pathway from Africa could truly be called immigration. I was not very different from the other Black kids I knew in that the route my families took from Africa to Long Island, Manhattan, or the Bronx took several centuries, beginning with what can only be called, not the immigration, but the importation of our ancestors.