Togolese Americans

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Togolese Americans
Total population
1,716 (2000 US census)
16,000 (Togolese-born. 2008-2012 American Community Survey Briefs)
Languages

Togolese Americans are Americans of Togolese descent. According to answers provided to an open-ended question included in the 2000 census, 1,716 people said that their ancestry or ethnic origin was Togolese. An unofficial estimate in 2008 of the Togolese American population was more than 2,500.

History

The first people from present-day Togo who emigrated to what is now the United States arrived as slaves during the colonial period. Most of these slaves shipped to the United States were disembarked at the Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast includes the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Most of the slaves belonged to the Ewe people which inhabit the south-eastern part of Ghana, Togo, Benin, and south-western Nigeria. This lasted until 1859, when Togolese-descended Cudjo Lewis arrived to Mobile from Dahomey. After the abolition of slavery, few Togolese came to the United States.

Demography

Most Togolese who live in the United States are in the country legally and have received diversity immigrant visas, which require them to show that they were not likely to become public charges before receiving the visas. Many Togolese emigrated to the U.S. to further their education. Many Togolese reside in Chicago.

Organizations

Togolese Americans have established the Association of Togolese Students in America (ATSA) in New York City, the Association of Togolese in Chicagoland (ATC), the Togolese Association of Baltimore (TAB) (in French, the Association des Togolais de Baltimore), Nebraska Togolese Community Association, and Togolese Americans United in New York City.

ATSA seeks to increase awareness of the underserved children in Togo and elsewhere in Africa and to provide advice and resources for Togolese American students. ATC "is as a nonprofit, apolitical, and nonreligious organization" that seeks to, among other things, promote "social, cultural, economic, educational, and scientific integration between members"; encourage "fraternal spirit and promote understanding and mutual acceptance among members"; provide assistance to Togolese Americans that are in need because of health, financial, or legal problems; enhance public awareness in the U.S. of the culture, history, and people of Togo; and combat discrimination, injustice, and disparities in the fields of employment, health, social services, and economic development. TAB seeks to promote godly living and solidarity among Togolese Americans, "develop solidarity activities" throughout the world, and give moral and financial support and assistance to needy members of TAB. Also Togolese Community of Tampa, Togolese Students Community -Florida.

Notable people