Afro-Indian, Sidi women in Karnataka, India

A Global African Diaspora

Tens of millions of people of African descent live throughout the world, often in unsuspected places, mostly as a result of centuries of enslavement by others. The African Diasporan communities that resulted used knowledge and skills brought from Africa to contribute to the building of new societies. African technologies helped develop the Americas and cultural commonalities unite African Diasporan communities in distant lands. Africans and their descendants preserved ancestral worldviews, forged new identities and created dynamic new cultural forms that continue to enrich global civilization. 

Sheila Walker with the Queen and Princess of the Congos of Curundú, Republic of Panama.

Sheila S Walker, PhD

Cultural anthropologist and documentary filmmaker, Dr. Walker, Executive Director of Afrodiaspora, Inc., has done fieldwork, lectured, consulted, and organized and participated in cultural events in most of Africa and the Global African Diaspora. She has numerous documentaries and scholarly and popular publications. Her most recent documentary, Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora, was shown at the Organization of American States and the United Nations in the context of the Decade for People of African Descent. Her edited book, Conocimiento desde adentro: Los afrosudamericanos hablan de sus pueblos y sus historias, features articles by Afrodescendants from all the Spanish-speaking countries in South America. She also edited the volume, African Roots/American Cultures: Africa in the Creation of the Americas and produced the companion documentary, Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora, based on the international conference she organized, with the support of UNESCO, on “The African Diaspora and the Modern World.” Dr. Walker was Director of the Center for African and African American Studies, Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor in the College of Liberal Arts, and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, then Distinguished Visiting Professor, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the African Diaspora and the World Program at Spelman College.

Discovering the Diaspora


Journal of African American History, Centennial Perspective 2,


Two diasporic milestones coincided in 2015. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, ASALH, the oldest African American scholarly association and founder of Black History Month, celebrated its centennial anniversary. The United Nations declared the beginning of the International Decade for People of African Descent, the first theme of which is recognition of “the contributions of the African continent and of people of African descent to the development, diversity and richness of world civilizations and cultures.” So the centennial issue of ASALH’s Journal of African American History seemed the ideal place for reflecting about my discoveries in the Global African Diaspora.

Dr. Walker addressing the UN General Assembly commemorating the International Decade for People of African Descent. 2015 - 2024

Celebrating Congo culture with an Afro-Indigenous community of the Costa Abajo, Republic of Panama.

Afrodiaspora, Inc.

Afrodiaspora, Inc. is a Washington, DC based non-profit organization that develops documentary films and educational materials and programs about the Global African Diaspora.