WE MUST NEVER FORGET!!
PRAISE OUR TRIUMPHS…..LEARN FROM OUR ERRORS!
THE AFRICAN CIVILIZATION SOCIETY 1858-1869
The African Civilization Society (ACS) was founded in 1858 by Henry Highland Garnet who sought to encourage black American to immigrate to Africa. Garnet envisioned educated black Americans moving to the African Continent as cultural missionaries to lead the economic, political, and moral development of the various indigenous peoples. The ACS Constitution outlined its goals for Africa and people of African descent in other areas of the world. The ACS also saw itself as a major force in the destruction of the African slave trade and in promoting African self-governance and self-reliance. Specifically, the ACS sought to make African nations independent cotton producers. They believed that cotton grown in Africa and sold on the world market would break the monopoly of southern United States slave-grown cotton in European and American textile production, and thus hasten the end of slavery.
Headquartered in the Weeksville section of Brooklyn, New York, the ACS worked with black churches and schools. Prominent African Americans involved with the ACS included Reverend Amos N. Freeman, Reverend Rufus L. Perry, Richard H. Cain, and John Sella Martin.
Embracing a 19th Century version of cultural nationalism, the ACS argued that black Americans should lead their own education efforts and establish and control the political and social institutions in their communities. This majority-male organization was one of the first 19th Century groups to recognize the importance of black women in reform and uplift efforts. Challenging the prevailing view that black Americans were dependent by nature and by generations of enslavement, they called on black leaders to elevate their race through the promotion of ideas of self-reliance and self-help. Such efforts, they said, required an educated leadership.
By 1866 the African Civilization Society employed 69 African Americans engaged in teaching over 2,000 students in Sabbath and day schools in the Northeast. Also by that date, the ACS was the only black association sending teachers to the South to educate the freed people.
The African Civilization Society began to decline around 1866 due to financial difficulties. By 1869 the organization ended its activities.
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
I SPEAK OF FREEDOM, 1961
For centuries, Europeans dominated the African continent. The white man arrogated to himself the right to rule and to be obeyed by the non-white; his mission, he claimed, was to “civilise” Africa. Under this cloak, the Europeans robbed the continent of vast riches and inflicted unimaginable suffering on the African people.
All this makes a sad story, but now we must be prepared to bury the past with its unpleasant memories and look to the future.All we ask of the former colonial powers is their goodwill and co-operation to remedy past mistakes and injustices and to grant independence to the colonies in Africa….
It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.
Although most Africans are poor, our continent is potentially extremely rich. Our mineral resources, which are being exploited with foreign capital only to enrich foreign investors, range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum. Our forests contain some of the finest woods to be grown anywhere. Our cash crops include cocoa, coffee, rubber, tobacco and cotton. As for power, which is an important factor in any economic development, Africa contains over 40% of the potential water power of the world, as compared with about 10% in Europe and 13% in North America. Yet so far, less than 1% has been developed. This is one of the reasons why we have in Africa the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty, and scarcity in the midst of abundance.
Never before have a people had within their grasp so great an opportunity for developing a continent endowed with so much wealth. Individually, the independent states of Africa, some of them potentially rich, others poor, can do little for their people. Together, by mutual help, they can achieve much. But the economic developmentof the continent must be planned and pursued as a whole. A loose confederation designed only for economic co-operation would notprovide the necessary unity of purpose. Only a strong political union can bring about full and effective development of our natural resources for the benefit of our people.
The political situation in Africa today is heartening and at the same time disturbing. It is heartening to see so many new flags hoisted in place of the old; it is disturbing to see so many countries of varying sizes and at different levels of development, weakand, in some cases, almost helpless. If this terrible state of fragmentation is allowed to continue it may well be disastrous for us all.
There are at present some 28 states in Africa, excluding the Union of South Africa, and those countries not yet free. No less than nine of these states have a population of less than three million.Can we seriously believe that the colonial powers meant these countries to be independent, viable states? The example of South America, which has as much wealth, if not more than North America, and yet remains weak and dependent on outside interests, is one which every African would do well to study.
Critics of African unity often refer to the wide differences in culture, language and ideas in various parts of Africa. This istrue, but the essential fact remains that we are all Africans, and have a common interest in the independence of Africa. The difficulties presented by questions of language, culture and different political systems are not insuperable. If the need for political union is agreed by us all, then the will to create it is born;and where there’s a will there’s a way.
The present leaders of Africa have already shown a remarkable willingness to consult and seek advice among themselves. Africans have, indeed, begun to think continentally. They realise that they have much in common, both in their past history, in their present problems and in their future hopes. To suggest that the time is not yet ripe for considering a political union of Africa is to evade the facts and ignore realities in Africa today.
The greatest contribution that Africa can make to the peace of the world is to avoid all the dangers inherent in disunity, by creating a political union which will also by its success, standas an example to a divided world. A Union of African states will project more effectively the African personality. It will command respect from a world that has regard only for size and influence.The scant attention paid to African opposition to the French atomic tests in the Sahara, and the ignominious spectacle of the U.N. in the Congo quibbling about constitutional niceties while the Republic was tottering into anarchy, are evidence of the callous disregard of African Independence by the Great Powers.
We have to prove that greatness is not to be measured in stockpiles of atom bombs. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind.
The emergence of such a mighty stabilising force in this strife-worn world should be regarded not as the shadowy dream of a visionary, but as a practical proposition, which the peoples of Africa can, and should, translate into reality. There is a tide in the affairs of every people when the moment strikes for political action. Such was the moment in the history of the United States of America when the Founding Fathers saw beyond the petty wranglings of the separate states and created a Union. This is our chance. We must act now. Tomorrow may be too late and the opportunity will have passed, and with it the hope of free Africa’s survival.
From Kwame Nkrumah, I Speak of Freedom: A Statement of African Ideology (1961)
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
WALTER RODNEY 1942 – June 13, 1980
Was a Pan-Africanist, Historian, Political Activist and Preeminent Scholar, who was assassinated in Guyana in 1980.
Walter Rodney was born in Georgetown, Guyana on March 23, 1942. His was a working class family-his father was a tailor and his mother a seamstress. After attending primary school, he won an open exhibition scholarship to attend Queens College as one of the early working-class beneficiaries of concessions made in the filed of education by the ruling class in Guyana to the new nationalism that gripped the country in the early 1950s.
While at Queens College young Rodney excelled academically, as well as in the fields of athletics and debating. In 1960, he won an open scholarship to further his studies at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He graduated with a first-class honors degree in history in 1963 and. he won an open scholarship to the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. In 1966, at the age of 24 he was awarded a Ph.D. with honors in African History.
His doctoral research on slavery on the Upper Guinea Coast was the result of long meticulous work on the records of Portuguese merchants both in England and in Portugal. In the process he learned Portuguese and Spanish which along with the French he had learned at Queens College made him somewhat of a linguist.
In 1970, his Ph.D dissertation was published by Oxford University Press under the title, A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, 1545-1800. This work was to set a trend for Rodney in both challenging the assumptions of western historians about African history and setting new standards for looking at the history of oppressed peoples. According to Horace Campbell “This work was path-breaking in the way in which it analyzed the impact of slavery on the communities and the interrelationship between societies of the region and on the ecology of the region.”
Walter took up his first teaching appointment in Tanzania before returning to his alma mater, the University of the West Indies, in 1968. This was a period of great political activity in the Caribbean as the countries begun their post colonial journey. But it was the Black Power Movement that caught Walter’s imagination.
Some new voices had begun to question the direction of the post-independence governments, in particular their attitude to the plight of the downpressed. The issue of empowerment for the black and brown poor of the region was being debated among the progressive intellectuals. Rodney, who from very early on had rejected the authoritarian role of the middle class political elite in the Caribbean, was central to this debate. He, however, did not confine his activities to the university campus. He took his message of Black Liberation to the gullies of Jamaica. In particular he shared his knowledge of African history with one of the most rejected section of the Jamaican society-the Rastafarians.
Walter had shown an interest in political activism ever since he was a student in Jamaica and England. Horace Campbell reports that while at UWI Walter “was active in student politics and campaigned extensively in 1961 in the Jamaica Referendum on the West Indian Federation.” While studying in London, Walter participated in discussion circles, spoke at the famous Hyde Park and, participated in a symposium on Guyana in 1965. It was during this period that Walter came into contact with the legendary CLR James and was one of his most devoted students.
By the summer of 1968 Rodney’s “groundings with the working poor of Jamaica had begun to attract the attention of the government. So, when he attended a Black Writers’ Conference in Montreal, Canada, in October 1968, the Hugh Shearer-led Jamaican Labor Party Government banned him from re-entering the country. This action sparked widespread riots and revolts in Kingston in which several people were killed and injured by the police and security forces, and millions of dollars worth of property destroyed.. Rodney’s encounters with the Rastafarians were published in a pamphlet entitled “Grounding with My Brothers,” that became a bible for the Caribbean Black Power Movement.
Having been expelled from Jamaica, Walter returned to Tanzania after a short stay in Cuba.. There he lectured from 1968 to 1974 and continued his groundings in Tanzania and other parts of Africa. This was the period of the African liberation struggles and Walter, who fervently believed that the intellectual should make his or her skills available for the struggles and emancipation of the people, became deeply involved.. It was from partly from these activities that his second major work, and his best known –How Europe Underdeveloped Africa – emerged. It was published by Bogle-L’Ouverture, in London, in conjunction with Tanzanian Publishing House in 1972.
This Tanzanian period was perhaps the most important in the formation of Rodney’s ideas. According to Horace Campbell “Here he was at the forefront of establishing an intellectual tradition which still today makes Dar es Salaam one of the centers of discussion of African politics and history. Out of he dialogue, discussions and study groups he deepened the Marxist tradition with respect to African politics, class struggle, the race question, African history and the role of the exploited in social change. It was within the context of these discussions that the book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa was written.”
Campbell also reports that ” In he same period, he wrote the critical articles on Tanzanian Ujamaa, imperialism, on underdevelopment, and the problems of state and class formation in Africa. Many of his articles which were written in Tanzania appeared in Maji Maji, the discussion journal of the TANU Youth League at the University. He worked in the Tanzanian archives on the question of forced labor, the policing of the countryside and the colonial economy. This work– ” World War II and the Tanzanian Economy”– was later published as a monograph by Cornell University in 1976″.
Rodney also developed a reputation as a Pan-Africanist theoretician and spokes person. Campbell says that “In Tanzania he developed close political relationships with those who were struggling to change the external control of Africa He was very close to some of the leaders of liberation movements in Africa and also to political leaders of popular organizations of independent territories. Together with other Pan-Africanists he participated in discussing leading up to the Sixth Pan-African Congress, held in Tanzania, 1974. Before the Congress he wrote a piece: “Towards the Sixth Pan-African Congress: Aspects of the International Class Struggle in Africa, the Caribbean and America.”
In 1974, Walter returned to Guyana to take up an appointment as Professor of History at the University of Guyana, but the government rescinded the appointment. But Rodney remained in Guyana, joined the newly formed political group, the Working People’s Alliance. Between 1974 and his assassination in 1980, he emerged as the leading figure in the resistance movement against the increasingly authoritarian PNC government. He give public and private talks all over the country that served to engender a new political consciousness in the country. During this period he developed his ideas on the self emancipation of the working people, People’s Power, and multiracial democracy.
On July 11, 1979, Walter, together with seven others, was arrested following the burning down of two government offices. He, along with Drs Rupert Roopnarine and Omawale, was later charged with arson. From that period up to the time of his murder, he was constantly persecuted and harassed and at least on one occasion, an attempt was made to kill him. Finally, on the evening of June 13, 1980, he was assassinated by a bomb in the middle of Georgetown..
Walter was married to Dr Patricia Rodney and the union bore three children- Shaka, Kanini and Asha.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years agoBy Nadia Goldman 12 hours ago
Philadelphia is on track to unveil the first statue memorializing an African-American individual on the city’s public land.
Philadelphia’s streets are peppered with statues of various historical figures, though few of them are of minority figures. The city is attempting to change that by honoring Octavius Catto, a 19th century black educator, activist and baseball player, with a 12-foot bronze and granite monument, reported Philly.com. The memorial will be the first public sculpture erected at City Hall since 1923 and is set to be revealed on Sept. 26.
Catto worked to desegregate Philadelphia’s streetcars and give black people voting rights in the late 1860s, eventually being killed in 1871 by a white mob protesting black voters. His statue will feature upturned streetcars and a ballot box.
Erecting this statue has been in the works for 13 years, but will be unveiled amid national controversy over Confederate statues. Over $1.6 million has been raised for this memorial, including funding from the city and other partners, the Philadelphia Tribune reported.
“He’s not in any history books kids in high school and middle school have now,” said Murray Dubin, a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter and author, said to Philly.com. “Nobody knows about Catto. He was an extraordinary, forgotten African American, American hero.”
Catto’s statue also comes amid ongoing controversy in Philadelphia over another, notable statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo, who has been criticized for “terrorizing blacks and gays,” wrote the Washington Post.
After white nationalists organized a violent protest in Charlottesville, Va. to oppose the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, several members of the Philadelphia City Council also called for the city to remove Rizzo’s statue, which stands in front of the Municipal Services Building in Center City.Post Views: 191