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Extra resources for Barak Obama, 44th President of the United States (2008)

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In addition, Ethiopia had a deeper significance. By studying the Bible, the enslaved population in the New World discovered an ancient African civilization that revolutionized their image of Africa. Passages like Psalms 68:31, "Princes shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God," were crucial for the elaboration of a mystical and cyclical historiography. Ethiopia symbolized Africa, which was envisioned as the cradle of mankind and identified with the Promised Land.

But did Islam survive beyond the first generation of slaves? Could Muslim slaves establish an Islamic tradition by instructing their children and evangelizing among their fellow slave workers? Was the rise of a black Muslim movement among Southern migrants in the Northern cities the surfacing of a hidden tradition? Is there a connection between this possible Islamic tradition and the later expansion of Islam in the African American community? Based on the scarce sources available, it seems that the first two questions can be answered in the affirmative.

Many black nationalists totally rejected the prospect of repatriation in favor of establishing black self-determination and African national consciousness in America. In fact, the motives of the emigration societies have been questioned, and perhaps justly so. The American Colonization Society had the support of a mixed constellation of white individuals and groups. Some were idealistic philanthropists, while others were slaveholders who were eager to export free Africans in order to secure slavery as an institution.

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