Camilla Hawthorne is Associate Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, author of
Jovan Scott Lewis is Associate Professor and Chair of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of
This chapter elaborates the Black Geographic in the African city. There, affirmations and contestations of a Blackness born of negation but not erasure vie among disrupted yet unbroken ancestral lineages and homemaking claims. The chapter begins by examining two iconic sites in the French mission civilisatrice (civilizing mission): the colonial municipalities of the Four Communes in Senegal and the postcolonial regional hegemon of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. In doing so the chapter demonstrates how the mission civilisatrice deeply conflated the terms of race and culture to articulate the right to the city. It then engages AbdouMaliq Simone’s theorization of “black urbanism,” which disrupts imperial denouncements of Blackness to posit alternative, always, and already livelihood strategies, mobilities, and meaning-making practices to offer a vital contribution to the Black Geographic spatial imaginary.