By Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Oxford University Press
I’m a journalist, not a poll-taker, however, over the past month, while touring the country to talk about my book New News Out of Africa, I’ve been conducting an informal, highly un-scientific survey about how much Americans know about Africa. I know that the majority of the people I talk to are already interested in Africa because they have turned out for my readings in bookstores, churches, theaters and private homes, or they have called in to the radio talk shows where I’ve been a guest. My survey has sampled a wide cross section of Americans: young, old, black, white and brown, immigrants from all parts of the world, including Africa, as well as native born. Many of them feel a spiritual or emotional connection to this faraway continent; many have an historical connection, too, their fore-parents having been brought here as slaves in chains during the Middle Passage.