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Searching for Zion

Searching for Zion

Where is the promised land for black Americans? Where is their Zion? Emily Raboteau's Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora grapples with these questions as she journeys across the globe - from Israel to Jamaica to Ethiopia to Ghana to New Orleans - to understand the concept of "Zion" in the African Diaspora. As the description of the book reads:

She talks to Rastafarians and African Hebrew Israelites, Evangelicals and Ethiopian Jews, Katrina transplants from her own family—people that have risked everything in search of territory that is hard to define and harder to inhabit. Uniting memoir with historical and cultural investigation, Raboteau overturns our ideas of place and patriotism, displacement and dispossession, citizenship and country in a disarmingly honest and refreshingly brave take on the pull of the story of the Exodus

The book itself is a mash-up of travelogue, memoir, and history book. She is self-aware about her journey, and often addresses her privilege as a light-skinned black woman (her father is black and her mother is white). For me, most interesting parts of the book came from when she compared and contrasted the Jewish search for Zion with the black search for Zion, and her examining of Black Hebrew communities (like Beta Israel, the community of Ethiopian Jews). The parts I learned the most were when she dives into Rastafarian culture and religion - and how their "notion that Africa is the spiritual home to which they are destined to return" (71) The narrative of Searching for Zion flowed and the material never felt to dense. It felt like Raboteau was holding your hand to guide you through her journey of faith/self-discovery but also through history. Definitely worth a read. Rating: ★★★★★

Difficult Loves

Difficult Loves

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe