Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey


I am a historian of post-Reconstruction U.S. history who specializes in the history of African peoples in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean Basin and their transatlantic connections on the African continent. 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 first book, Cross-Border Cosmopolitans: The Making of a Pan-African North America, spans 1900-2000 and is the first scholarly book to uncover, interrogate, and integrate the Pan-African roots of African American, African Canadian, and African Caribbean history. Cross-Border Cosmopolitans, in other words, situates fundamental questions of twentieth-century U.S. history—race, immigration, civil rights, revolution, counterinsurgency, imperialism, and neo-colonialism—within a North American and transatlantic 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 Caribbean and southern Africa.

My most recent publications are entitled “Bridging Borders: African North Americans in Great Lakes Cities, 1920s–1940s,” Journal of American History (forthcoming 2023), and “In Search of Ethiopia: Messianic Pan-Africanism and the Problem of the Promised Land, 1919-1931,” Canadian Historical Review, 102, no. 1 (2021). I am drafting journal manuscripts on African spiritual power and international security during the Cold War.

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