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African & AmericanWest Africans in Post-Civil Rights America$
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Marilyn Halter and Violet Showers Johnson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814760581

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814760581.001.0001

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Young, Gifted, and West African

Young, Gifted, and West African

Transnational Migrants Growing Up in America

(p.211) 6 Young, Gifted, and West African
African & American

Marilyn Halter

Violet Showers Johnson

NYU Press

This chapter examines the success of young West African immigrants and refugees as well as the 1.5 and second generations in the United States. It begins with an overview of the “student-immigrant” tradition as a key element in the West African narrative of success and goes on to discuss the role of education in the upward mobility and achievement of the adult immigrant generation from West Africa. It then considers the so-called “second generation advantage,” based in part on the newcomers' ability to capitalize on the dexterity of their “in-between” status. It also describes the creative ways that young West Africans blend the different cultural components of their fluid ethnic affiliations especially with regards to music, food, fashion, and festive culture. Finally, it explores how the young newcomers develop social relationships not only with other West Africans but also with members of other minority populations such as those from the Caribbean and Latin America.

Keywords:   student-immigrant tradition, West African immigrants, success, education, upward mobility, achievement, second generation advantage, young West Africans, culture, social relationships

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