Derrick Bell’s “Afrolantica” and Gentrification in Harlem


In this essay, Professor Perry focuses on the word “Afrolantica” in Derrick Bell’s short story, “The Afrolantica Awakening” in Faces at the Bottom of the Well. Bell uses the story, which involves the sudden emergence of an island off the coast of South Carolina where only African Americans can survive, to revisit the subject of Black emigration. Because of the discrimination they have faced in America, the theme of some African Americans yearning for a place where they can feel truly free has been an enduring one.  Prof. Perry explores the connection between Bell’s concept of “Afrolantica” and potential implications of the demographic changes presently taking place in Harlem.

Professor Perry teaches Torts, Family Law, Children and the Law and a seminar entitled Race, Gender and Tort Law.  She writes in the area of family law with a particular interest in the intersection of critical race theory and feminist legal theory.  Prof. Perry, who lives in Harlem, has also written about gentrification.