Book cover of Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Culture in the African Diaspora by Kevin Dawsonby Kevin Dawson

Long before the rise of New World slavery, West Africans were adept swimmers, divers, canoe makers, and canoeists. They lived along riverbanks, near lakes, or close to the ocean. In those waterways, they became proficient in diverse maritime skills, while incorporating water and aquatics into spiritual understandings of the world. Transported to the Americas, slaves carried with them these West African skills and cultural values. Indeed, according to Kevin Dawson’s examination of water culture in the African diaspora, the aquatic abilities of people of African descent often surpassed those of Europeans and their descendants from the age of discovery until well into the nineteenth century.

Interview with the Author

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224 Kevin Dawson, Aquatic Culture in Early America
2/4/19          57 min

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Kevin Dawson, “Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Culture in African Diaspora” (U Pennsylvania Press, 2018)
8/25/19          51 min

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Remember: African Aquatic Culture | Kevin Dawson
8/23/21            77 min

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