The Afromigrancy Workshop: History and Memory

March 28, 2019

Afromigrancy refers to processes and conditions of migration among continental Africans and their descendants in the past and contemporary time. We rely on this concept to account for myriad experiences of Black Africans’ migrations to every corner of the world. This task of accounting for the heterogeneity of Afromigrancy, however, is hardly straightforward. There is no singular historical experience of displacement and dispersal, much less resolution through remembering. To chart its paths and trajectories entails moving through various realms of loss, hurt, unspeakable violence, suffering, sorrow, survival, and creativity—straddling through multiple dimensions of space and time; striving to reverse the irreversible directions of their long journeys; traveling and returning; and struggling to reconcile the nearness of a homeland and the sense of incompleteness. Documentation in the context of migrancy, in other words, demands a mnemonic exercise that begins with recognition that the past not only flits through the quotidian and at times appears unruly; it also causes a multiplier effect to haunt and unsettle the very process of creating the annals of displacement and dispersal. Therein lies the challenges and possibilities to remember, dream, theorize, document, and to live with and through Afromigrancy.

Each week we will introduce interviews with invited panelists who are playing a role in documenting, preserving, and engaging with the stories and experiences of Black migrants in Minnesota.

Our conversation with:


Thursday, April 18, 2019


120 Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota


12:00 pm-12:15 pm Welcome Remarks by Yuichiro Onishi, IHRC Acting Director, and Ellen Engseth, IHRC Archives Curator

12:15pm-1:45pm  Visions and Interpretations of Afromgrancy: Conversations with Shannon Gibney

  • Shannon Gibney
  • Catherine Squires
  • Nekessa Julia Opoti
  • Q&A with Gordon Parks High School students

1:45pm-2:00pm Coffee Break

2:00pm-3:15pm  Roundtable Discussion -  Reimagining Documentation Practices through Minnesota’s Afromigrancy

  • Tom Gitaa
  • Mariam Mohamed
  • Mukhtar Ibrahim
  • Moderators: Yuichiro Onishi and Ibrahim Hirsi

3:15pm-3:30pm Coffee Break

3:30pm-4:45pm Black Migrants Inside Out: Untold Stories of Immigrant Rights Activism

  • Nekessa Julia Opoti
  • Abena Abraham
  • Alfreda Daniels

Co-organized by the Immigration History Research Center and the Immigration History Research Center Archives