Over two centuries: Black people in nineteenth-century Hawaiʻi

Nitasha Tamar Sharma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article charts the history of Black people in nineteenth-century Hawaiʻi, an Indigenous and non-White society that prohibited slavery. Far from the Black Atlantic, African-descended people in the Pacific found acceptance and refuge. Since the late 1700s, Black mariners and notable figures–including former slaves from the US as well as Cape Verdeans–arrived in a non-slave society which was in the process of adopting race. Largely unrecognized, they worked in concert with Native Hawaiians–as spouses, educators, attorneys, and advisors to the monarchs–to influence and resist the development of American racial ideologies. Combining Hawaiian language sources, missionary journals, and ship logs with the scant existing historiography, this article accounts for Black people in the Hawaiian Islands during its tumultuous shift from an independent nation to a US Territory–a period and people neglected in twentieth-century scholarship on the Black Pacific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-140
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Nineteenth Century History
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 4 2019


  • African Americans
  • Black diaspora
  • Hawaiʻi
  • Native Hawaiians
  • Pacific
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


Dive into the research topics of 'Over two centuries: Black people in nineteenth-century Hawaiʻi'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this