Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey


I am a historian of the twentieth-century United States who studies the historical intersections of the United States, Canada, and the African Diaspora. My doctoral research, “From the North Star to the Black Star: African North Americans and the Search for a Land of Promise, 1919-1985,” won numerous prizes.

My book manuscript, Cross-Border Cosmopolitans: The Making of a Pan-African North America, 1900-2000, situates fundamental questions of twentieth-century U.S. history—immigration, civil rights, racial identity, radicalism, surveillance and state power—within a North American diasporic frame. It is a paradigm shift in how historians and other scholars can synthesize experiences of African peoples in the Atlantic World specifically and the African Diaspora in general. The analysis integrates and juxtaposes community-building and freedom struggles in the United States and Canada, while remaining attuned to the influence of the Caribbean Basin as a site of anti-colonial resistance and a source of activists who imported a Commonwealth, class, and color consciousness to the North American mainland. Cross-Border Cosmopolitans provides the first historical account of how the U.S. and Canadian governments colluded to undermine Black citizenship on the mainland and in the Eastern Carribbean.

I am interested broadly in Social and Cultural History, African (North) American History, Chattel Slavery in the Americas, Urban History, post-Reconstruction Black Labor, Black Internationalisms, Black Nationalisms, Surveillance and Counter-Subversion, and Civil and Human Rights.

I have forthcoming publications on borderlands and transnationalism, and African spiritual power in the Atlantic World. My most recent publications are entitled “In Search of Ethiopia: Messianic Pan-Africanism and the Problem of the Promised Land, 1919-1931,” Canadian Historical Review, 102, no. 1 (2021); “Petitioning Power: Canadian Racial Consciousness Meets Alabama Injustice, 1958” in M. Johnson and F. Aladejebi (eds.), Unsettling the Great White North (University of Toronto Press, 2021).  

Photography by Daniel Vieira

At Yale University, I held the following distinctions concurrently: Edla J. McPherson, Falk Foundation, and Felix G. Evangelist Fellowships. My research has garnered fellowships from many institutions, some of which include:

A L Mailman Family Foundation
The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Princeton University, Department of African American Studies (Voluntarily Declined)
Harvard University, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada
Visiting Scholar-Senior Resident Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto
SHASS Visiting Scholar and Pre-Doctoral Fellow at MIT