Togolese Americans

Togolese Americans
Total population
(1,716 (2000 US census)[1]
16,000 (Togolese-born. 2008-2012 American Community Survey Briefs)[2])
Regions with significant populations
American English

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.[1] An unofficial estimate in 2008 of the Togolese American population was more than 2,500.[3]


The first people from day-present Togo emigrated to modern United States arrived as slaves during the colonial period. So, we should mention to Cudjo Lewis (ca. 1840 – 1935), considered the last person born on African soil to have been enslaved in the United States when slavery was still lawful and arrived to Mobile from Dahomey in 1859.[4]

However, after the abolition the slavery, the Togolese migration to United States was scarce. So, in the 2000 US Census, just over 1,000 people claimed Togolese origin.


Most Togolese who live in the United States are in the country legally. Most of them have received diversity immigrant visas,[3] which required them to show that they were not likely to become public charges before receiving the visas.[5] Many Togoleses emigrated to the U.S. to further their education.[3]

Togolese Americans in Chicago

The first Togolese to arrive in Chicago were probably from the former British Protectorate of Togo. There were only a few Togolese Americans in Chicago in the 1970s. The Togolese community, however, grew rapidly in the 1980s, when mastery of the English language and an American education became more valuable because of closer ties between the United States and Togo and the emergence of a free trade zone. During Togo's transition to democracy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, political refugees increased the Togolese presence in Chicago. By the late 1990s, approximately 300 Togolese lived in Chicago and 500 in Illinois.[6]


Togolese Americans have established the Association of Togolese Students in America (ATSA) in New York City,[7] the Association of Togolese in Chicagoland (ATC),[8] the Togolese Association of Baltimore (TAB) (in French, the Association des Togolais de Baltimore),[9] Nebraska Togolese Community Association, [10] and Togolese Americans United in New York City.[11]

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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

Notable Togolese-Americans


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