Edward Wilmot Blyden, Pan-Africanist writer. Born: August 3, 1832, in the Virgin Islands in the West Indies, a descendant of Ibo slaves from Nigeria. Blyden was the foremost African/American intellectual of the 19th century. His brilliant career, in both Liberia and Sierra Leone, spanned the fields of religion, education, journalism, politics, and philosophy. He is best remembered as an African patriot whose writings contributed significantly to the rise of Pan-Africanism. He was known as the Father of Pan-Africanism. He Died on February 7, 1912, in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Blyden’s idea’s and speeches, urging a return to Africa and the re-creation of an African Nation, were to seed African consciousness movements all over the world. “It is sad to think that there are some Africans, especially among those who have enjoyed the advantages of foreign training, who are blind enough to the radical facts of humanity as to say, ‘Let us do away with our African personality and be lost, if possible, in another race’. Preach this doctrine as much as you like, no one will do it, for no one can do it, for when you have done away with your personality, you have done away with yourselves. Your place has been assigned you in the universe as Africans, and there is no room for you as anything else”.(Edward Wilmot Blyden) On E. W. Blyden
Marcus Garvey, was a Jamaican, born on August 17, 1887, in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica.. A Pan-Africanist, stern advocate for the Back-to-Africa movement, and has also been labeled as a Father of Pan-Africanism. Marcus Garvey was an orator for the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. Garvey advanced a Pan-African philosophy, which inspired a global mass movement, known as Garveyism. Garveyism would eventually inspire others, from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement. Garvey led the largest organization with Pan-African goals, in history. Marcus Garvey died in London in 1940. His message of pride and dignity inspired many in the early days of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In tribute to his many contributions, Garvey’s bust has been displayed in the Organization of American States’ Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C. The country of Ghana has named its shipping line the Black Star Line and its national soccer team the Black Stars, in honor of Garvey. “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. .. “If the Negro is not careful he will drink in all the poison of modern civilization and die from the effects of it”… We are men; we have souls, we have passions, we have feelings, we have hopes, we have desires, like any other race in the world. The cry is raised all over the world today, of Canada for the Canadians, of America for the Americans, of England for the English, of France for the French, of Germany for the Germans – do you think it is unreasonable, that we the Blacks of the world, should raise the cry of Africa for the Africans? (Marcus Garvey) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OpDl0VRh01U#t=2126
Paul Robeson, Born April 9, 1898, in Princeton, New Jersey. The singer, actor and political radical, co-founded the Council on African Affairs (1937–1950) which became a leading voice of anti-colonialism and Pan-Africanism in the U.S. and internationally. Robeson said as early as the 1930s that he wanted “to be African”, studied African language and culture and urged Americans to fight African imperialism. Robeson was close friends with Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and W. E. B. Du Bois. Despite stereotypes endemic to the times, Robeson’s films such as Song of Freedom and Jericho/Dark Sands, were the first to show African’s in a positive light. Robeson also wrote and spoke out against Apartheid, the need for African Independence and narrated an early film about the regime, “My Song Goes Forth” (also known as Africa Sings, Africa Looks Up, U.K., 1937) He died in Pennsylvania in 1976. “The artist must elect to fight for Freedom, or for Slavery. I have made my choice. I had no alternative” “Every artist, every scientist, must decide now where he stands. He has no alternative. There is no standing above the conflict, on Olympian heights. There are no impartial observers. Through the destruction, in certain countries, of the greatest of man’s literary heritage, through the propagation of false ideas of racial and national superiority, the artist, the scientist, the writer is challenged. The struggle invades the formerly cloistered halls of our universities and other seats of learning. The battlefront is everywhere. There is no sheltered rear”. (Paul Robson) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zDb9nM_iiXw#t=141
Kwame Nkrumah, was a Pan-African activist who became the first president of Ghana. Brain behind the Organization of African Unity.. Kwame Nkrumah was born on September 21, 1909, in Nkroful, Gold Coast (now Ghana), and shepherded the country in its struggle for independence from Great Britain. He went on to be named life president, of both the nation and his politic party, until the army and police in Ghana seized power in 1966 and he found asylum in Guinea. He died April 27, 1972 “I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.” The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences, that keep us apart.” “Thought without practice is empty; and action without thought is blind.” “Africa is one continent, one people, and one nation. The notion that in order to have a nation it is necessary for there to be a common language, a common territory and common culture, has failed to stand the test of time or the scrutiny of scientific definition of objective reality… The community of economic life, is the major feature within a nation, and it is the economy which holds together the people living in a territory. It is on this basis that the new Africans recognize themselves, as potentially one nation, whose dominion is the entire African continent. ” Kwame Nkrumah) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=lTTdi8AjZg8#t=30
Jomo Kenyatta, was a Pan-African activist, who became the first president of Kenya. He was born October 20th 1893. As a true Pan-Africanist, it is reported that on Friday, October 24 1969, Jomo Kenyatta during his tour on Western Province, to familiarise himself with the development in the province, however, upon reaching Nyanza, he was shown Broderick Falls, as a major key attraction. He became angry at the fact that after independence, some of Kenya’s prominent tourist spots continued to bear names of foreigners. He told the people ““I want to tell the people of Western Province that I felt ashamed trying to pronounce….Bro…bro…bro…derick falls. These are names reflecting servitude…Why can’t you look for better local names with local content, names we know of their origin?” There and then, the President issued a directive that both the leaders and locals look for a substitute name for the tourist feature.
He caused laughter when he asked: “Which Luhya man was called Broderick? Broderick was whose relative? A name is very important for identity. Which foreigner adopts your African names? If you want to domineer someone, conquer his intellect first and you will suppress him wholly.”
Following this directive, many roads bearing colonial names were changed. Plaques bearing names of colonial masters, were similarly removed and the names changed. He died on August 22nd 1978.
“When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”“Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future.” (Jomo Kenyatta)
Julius Kambarage Nyerere, was born March 1922, in Butiama, Tanganyika. He was a key figure for Pan Africanism and SADC. Julius Kambarage Nyerere was one of Africa’s leading independence heroes (and a leading light behind the creation of the Organization of African Unity), the architect of ujamaa (an African socialist philosophy which revolutionized Tanzania’s agricultural system), the prime minister of an independent Tanganyika, and the first president of Tanzania. He died 14 October 1999, London, UK Julius Nyerere stands out as an epitome in whom a bold experiment was made to give content and meaning to Tanzania’s independence. His passionate conviction was that, the case of pan-African freedom was the only legitimate, determination of all political action, by the political African elites. To him, pan-Africanism meant self –determination in all matters; economic, political, social, ideological and cultural”.David Chacha“African nationalism is meaningless, dangerous, anachronistic, if it is not, at the same time, pan-Africanism”… “Small nations are like indecently dressed women. They tempt the evil-minded.” No nation has the right to make decisions for another nation; no people for another people.” “We, in Africa, have no more need of being ‘converted’ to socialism than we have of being ‘taught’ democracy. Both are rooted in our past — in the traditional society which produced us.” (Julius Nyerere)
Ahmed Sékou Touré, Born January 9th 1922, He was a Pan-African activist, who became the first President of Guinea, West Africa, the first French sub-Saharan African colony to gain independence from France on October 2, 1958 following its rejection of the famous 1958 Referendum that was proposed by President Charles De Gaulle of France. President Toure, along with President William Tubman of neighboring Liberia and President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, was the vanguard behind the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which has been transformed into the African Union (AU), at a Special Head of States Meeting held in the northern Liberian city of Sanniquelle, Nimba County, which is often referred to as the “birth place” of the OAU (now the AU). Touré is remembered as a charismatic figure and while his legacy as president is often disdained in his home country, he remains an icon of liberation in the wider African community He died March 26th 1984. He once stated to France’s President DeGaulle,
””We have told you bluntly, Mr President, what the demands of the people are … We have one prime and essential need: our dignity. But there is no dignity without freedom … We prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery.“
“For the first twenty years, we in Guinea have concentrated on developing the mentality of our people. Now we are ready to move on to other business.” (Ahmed Sekou Toure)
Gamal Abd El Nasser, was born on the 15 January 1918. He was a Pan-African activist and the president of Egypt. Alongside Nkrumah, he endorsed the African countries who were fighting for independence and placed Egyptian culture and civilisation within an African framework. Whenever Arab-African ties come into question, one cannot help remembering the days when colonialism was the threat closer to home and one Arab leader was always at hand to lend support to those Africans who wished to throw off its yoke. That was the time of solidarity, of a common Arab-African dream, of nations taking their first steps to freedom. That was Nasser’s time.
The solidarity between Arab and non-Arab Africans is not a historic accident. It is rooted in a common vision, drawn from a common cause. It all started in the late 50s and early 60s, when Africa’s leaders-to-be were still freedom fighters, and Nasser was their closest ally. For Nasser and his fellow African leaders, African liberation was a historic duty. They lived and died for the cause of national liberation. Few Arab leaders of Nasser’s stature were involved as Intimately as he was in the struggle to liberate Africa from colonial rule. It was this dedication to the cause of African liberation that endeared him to like-minded African leaders. What they had in common was a radical agenda of social change, a task they knew would not be easy, a mission that remains, to this day, incomplete. Gamal Abd El Nasser died 28 September 1970
He was Prince Ras Tafari Makonnen of Abyssinia, later known as; Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia. Haile Selassie I, emperor of Ethiopia, (born July 23, 1892, near Harer, Ethiopia. He was a key figure in Pan-Africanism. due in part to his call for greater unity among African Nations. His original name was Tafari Makonnen, As the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974 he sought to modernize his country and he steered it into the mainstream of post-World War IIAfrican politics. He brought Ethiopia into the League of Nations and the United Nations and made Addis Ababa the major centre for the Organization of African Unity (now African Union). He died Aug. 27, 1975, in Addis Ababa. “”Any who may wish to profit himself alone, from the knowledge given him, rather than serve others through the knowledge he has gained from learning, is betraying knowledge and rendering it worthless” “”It is both the duty and responsibility of the world’s fortunate few to help fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the unfortunate many” “If each and everyone endeavours to cooperate and work in as much as his capacity permits, our faith rests upon the Almighty God that he would bless the results for us” (Haile Selassie I)
Patrice Lumumba, born Élias Okit’Asombo July 2nd 1925, was a Congolese independence leader and the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960.
The western powers have tried to control who runs African countries and the best documented case of western involvement, is in the murder of elected heads of state, such as that of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. Lumumba was murdered with the complicity of Belgium and the USA in 1961. Lumumba was a pan-Africanist and believed in the necessity of freeing Africa from European economic domination.
Within twelve weeks of coming to power, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a coup during the “Congo Crisis”. The main reason why he was ousted from power, was his opposition to Belgian-backed secession, of the mineral-rich Katanga province.The USA got involved in his removal from power for two reasons.
Firstly, they were interested in the Congo’s copper, diamonds, cobalt, oil, uranium, and other minerals. Secondly, the 1960s were the time of the Cold War, between the United Soviet States of Russia (the USSR) and the USA. In this paranoid era, the USA needed someone it could trust and encourage, to derail any moves by the USSR to influence Africa or procure materials.
It paid Mobutu Sese Seko to help in the murder of Lumumba and then helped him organism a coup d’ état in 1965. (he was given an airplane, for example) Lamumba was subsequently imprisoned by state authorities, under Joseph-Desi’re Mobutu and executed by firing squad under the command of the secessionist Katangan authorities, on January 17th 1961. The United Nations, which he had asked to come to the Congo, exhibited signs that it was being influenced, by elements deep inside of the UN, and did not intervene to save him. Belgium, the United States (via the CIA), and the United Kingdom (via MI6) have all been implicated in Lumumba’s death.
The corrupt Mobutu then ruled until 1997, acting as the USA’s watchdog. He suppressed all attempts, to stop the exploitation by the neo-colonial powers, in his own country and helped to crush any such movements in neighboring countries. For this the USA gave him well over a billion dollars in civilian and military aid, much of which ended up in his own pockets: his private wealth was ‘estimated at $4 billion’ (Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghosts, London 2000, p.303).
“To my children whom I leave and whom perhaps I will see no more, I wish that they be told that the future of the Congo is beautiful and that it expects for each Congolese, to accomplish the sacred task of reconstruction, of our independence and our sovereignty; for without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men”. (Patrice Lumumba) http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5ujkw_assassinat-patrice-lumumba-part-1_news&start=9
Muammar al-Gaddafi, Born June 7th 1942, known as Colonel Gaddafi, was an active organizer of African unity and the proposed formation, of an African Political Policy, based on Gamal Abd El Nasser and Kwame Nkrumah’s dream, of a United States of Africa. Col. Gaddhafi was the last major global leader who promoted the dream of pan-African unity. He was assassinated October 20th 2011.
“Without Gaddhafi, the pan-African movement is dead,” said Laura Seay, a political scientist at Morehouse College in Atlanta who specializes in African politics.
“He was the only prominent voice driving that movement. He was keeping those ideas alive. There’s nobody else with the financial resources available.”
Under his grandiose ambitions, the United States of Africa would have its own common army, its own passport, and its own currency (to be named, he said solemnly, “the Afro”).
There was little chance that this scheme could succeed in a badly divided continent, and there was little practical support for his ideas at the African Union, even when he served as the AU chairman from 2009 to 2010. But by tirelessly marketing this idea, he kept alive the dream, that Africa could overcome its differences and find some form of unity. After him, the dreams will be smaller.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Born February 21st 1924, He is President of Zimbabwe and has ruled for more than 28 years. Mugabe is sounder, more alert, more patriotic, more intelligent, more hard working and more accountable than all the leaders in Africa today. But certainly good governance is not all about university degrees, as Nigerians have painfully found out, nor even about patriotism or alertness; good leadership has more to do with vision. And in this; Africa has not seen a greater visionary in office, than this unassuming Shona tribesman. The reality is that Mugabe is the forward looking visionary captain, of a bullied and intimidated continent in retreat.
This brave bush warrior epitomizes in every sense of the word, the full flowering of that authentic, unconquered and unconquerable spirit of African manliness, the archetypal continental indoda sabili, an icon who is, to imperial arrogance, utterly defiant, and with nothing for all its paternalism, but lordly disdain. With head forever unbowed, and with heart and hat permanently in the ring of continuing neo-colonial combat, Mugabe today remains the only one on his feet-the solitary hero standing sentinel at the deserted frontier of patriotism for the African homeland. “If the choice were made, one for us to lose our sovereignty and become a member of the Commonwealth or remain with our sovereignty and lose the membership of the Commonwealth, I would say let the Commonwealth go. .We don’t mind having sanctions banning us from Europe. We are not Europeans. .So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe” (President Robert Mugabe) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=h-UNv8eU1SU#t=272
Malcolm X, (El Haji Malik Shabazz) Born May 19th 1925,On July 17, 1964 Malcolm X, acting in his capacity as “observer”, distributed this memorandum to delegates of the Organization of African Unity meeting in Cairo, Egypt. A clear indication of his growing “internationalism”, it represents his most powerful formulation, about the struggle being over “human rights” rather than “civil rights” also it represents Malcolm s’ awareness of the fact that Africans in America needed an international voice and he planned to link the Organization of Afro-American Unity through Pan-Africanism, to internationalize the human struggle of African people. The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) was a Pan-African organization founded by Malcolm X in 1964. The OAAU was modeled on the Organization of African Unity, which had impressed Malcolm X during his visit to Africa in April and May of 1964. The purpose of the OAAU was to fight for the human rights of African Americans and promote cooperation among Africans and people of African descent in the Americas. Malcolm X announced the establishment of the OAAU at a public meeting in New York’s Audubon Ballroom, on June 28, 1964. He had written the group’s charter with John Henrik Clarke, Albert Cleage , Jesse Gray and Gloria Richardson, among others. In a memo dated July 2, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar described the nascent OAAU as a threat to the national security of the United States. Malcolm was assassinated February 21st 1965.
“We declare our right on this earth…to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary….” On the assassination of John F Kennedy) “it was, as I saw it, a case of ‘the chickens coming home to roost.’ I said that the hate in white men had not stopped with the killing of defenseless black people, but that hate, allowed to spread unchecked, had finally struck down this country’s Chief Magistrate”.
“For 12 long years I lived within the narrow minded confines, of the “straightjacket world”, created by my strong belief, that Elijah Muhammad was a messenger direct from God Himself, and my faith, in what I now see to be a pseudo-religious philosophy that he preaches”. . . . “I shall never rest until I have undone the harm I did, to so many well-meaning, innocent Negroes, who through my own evangelistic zeal, now believe in him, even more fanatically and more blindly than I did. (In a letter from Mecca to a friend on breaking with the Nation of Islam (October 4,1964)
It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That’s the only thing that can save this country.(Malcolm X) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ZDW-MHbzORY#t=114
“Our relation to the States in Afrika may be stated precisely and briefly by quoting from George Padmore’s book, …. Discussing the future of Afrika, Padmore observes that “there is a growing feeling among politically conscious Africans throughout the continent, that their destiny is one, that what happens in one part of Afrika to Africans must affect Africans living in other parts”.
We honor Ghana as the first independent state in modern Afrika which, under the courageous nationalist leadership, of Dr. Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party, has actively interested itself, in the liberation of the whole continent from White domination, and has held out the vision of a democratic United States of Afrika. We regard it as the sacred duty of every African state to strive ceaselessly and energetically for the creation of a United States of Afrika, stretching from Cape to Cairo, Morocco to Madagascar. It is for the reasons stated above that, we admire, bless and identify ourselves with the entire nationalist movements in Afrika. They are the core, the basic units, the individual cells, of that large organism envisaged, namely, the United States of Afrika; a union of free, sovereign independent democratic states of Afrika. For the lasting peace of Afrika and the solution of the economic, social and political problems of the continent. Robert Sobukwe was sentenced by the South African Government to 3years in prison, held for 10 years, released, banished and held under house arrest, denied the right to leave South Africa, even though he had been offered employment in the US by the NAACP and a renowned US university. Ailing, he was denied the freedom to seek proper medical care. He died February 27, 1978
“To sum it up, we stand for an Africanist Socialist Democracy. Here is a tree rooted in African soil, nourished with waters from the rivers of Afrika. Come and sit under it’s shade and become, with us, the leaves of the same branch and the branches of the same tree. Sons and Daughters of Afrika, I declare this inaugural convention of the Africanists open”. (Robert Sobukwe)
Other Key Figures in Afrocentric/Pan-Africanism education are;
E. B. Du Bois African-American Pan-Africanist writer. It was Du Bois who hosted the highly influential 5th Pan-African Conference in Manchester, UK. W.E.B. Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. William Edward Burghardt DuBois, to his admirers, was by spirited devotion and scholarly dedication, an attacker of injustice and a defender of freedom. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “history cannot ignore W.E.B. Du Bois because history has to reflect truth and W.E.B. Du Bois was a tireless explorer and a gifted discoverer of social truths. His singular greatness, lay in his quest for truth about his own people. There were very few scholars who concerned themselves, with the honest study of the black man and he sought to fill this immense void. The degree to which he succeeded, disclosed the great dimensions of the man.” A harbinger of Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism, he died in self-imposed exile in his home away from home, with his ancestors of a glorious past “Africa”. Labeled as a “radical,” he was ignored by those who hoped that his massive contributions, would be buried along side of him. However Du Bois’ contribution to the struggle will always be remembered.http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-talented-tenth/