Robert Trent Vinson

United States of America

Robert is a scholar and teacher of nineteenth- and twentieth-century African and African diaspora history, specialising in the transnational connections between southern Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean. He is the Commonwealth Professor of African-American & African Studies, director and chair of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American & African Studies at the University of Virginia, and a research associate at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He is the author of Albert Luthuli: Mandela before Mandela (2018) and The Americans Are Coming!: Dreams of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa (2012). Robert has also been published in academic journals such as the Journal of African History, African Studies Review, and the Journal of Southern African Studies. He is currently completing two coauthored book projects, “Zulu Diasporas: Africa and Africans in Black Nationalist Histories & American Popular Culture” and “Crossing the Water: African Americans and South Africa, 1890-1965: A Documentary History,” contracted with Ohio University Press.

Work from this contributor


The Inescapable Single Garment of DestinyThe Inescapable Single Garment of Destiny

South Africa and the United States have broadly similar histories of racial oppression. Recognising this, Black people in both countries have since the late 1800s forged ties, exchanges, and solidarities that ultimately contributed to greater Black self-determination. As South Africa marks 30 years of democracy, with struggles for racial justice and equality continuing in both countries, Robert Trent Vinson reflects on the shared struggle between the two contexts to solve the problem of the global colour line.

By Robert Trent Vinson

United States of America

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