In This Land of Plenty: Mickey Leland and Africa in American Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press) by Benjamin Talton is a transnational history that explores the influence of African American leaders on US foreign policy towards Africa in the 1980s.
By examining the life and labors of the political activist turned Texas congressman, Mickey Leland, Talton traces the afterlives of 1960s-era Black radicalism in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) after Leland’s election in 1978. Leland shaped the CBC’s outlook on famine in Ethiopia and established the Committee on Hunger where he developed a broad transformative vision for ending world hunger.
Talton analyzes Leland’s career alongside contemporaneous political developments in Ethiopia and apartheid South Africa, an issue which ultimately became the focal point of CBC endeavors. Talton investigates the ways that anti-apartheid limited Black Congressional action on other African-related foreign policy issues throughout the decade. Talton paints a portrait of Leland as an activist, statesman, and visionary who lived out his politics of humanitarian solidarity from Houston to Addis Ababa.
Benjamin Talton is Professor of History at Temple University.
Amanda Joyce Hall is a Ph.D. Candidate in History and African American Studies at Yale University. She is writing an international history on the grassroots movement against South African apartheid during the 1970s and 1980s. She tweets from @amandajoycehall