THE PEOPLE OF AFRICAN ORIGIN IN THE NEW WORLD
The new world in this context refers to the United States of America and the Caribbean islands were most of the people of African origin were found.
The people of African origin in the new world were a product of Trans Atlantic slave trade, this trade led to the exportation of many Africans in the form of slaves to America to provide cheap labor on plantations and mines.
The origin or genesis of the African people in the new world/slavery
This was an economic system which involved conducting trade overseas searching for gold and silver. Mercantilism led to the rise of the Trans – Atlantic slave trade which was a trading activity which involved Africa, Europe and America. During this trade millions of Africans were shipped to America to provide cheap labor on plantations.
(b) Booming capitalist agriculture.
During mercantilism European capitalists established different plantations of coffee, sugarcane, cotton and tobacco which called for massive supply of cheap labor, thus the supply of white labor was getting difficult compared to the expanding needs of the plantations, therefore called for importation of slaves from Africa.
(c) Industrial revolution in Europe.
Due to the industrial revolution, there was a need to expand home markets thus the merchants and the ruling class in Europe were afraid of under population; this prompted the campaign against the use of white labor. The crisis called for massive importation of slaves from Africa to provide cheap labor on plantations.
(d) Africans slaves were cheap.
It‟s on record that money paid to a white labor for ten years could procure an African slave for life. In addition a white worker was expected to acquire land at the end of the contract while an African slave was prevented by law from owning land. This condition necessitated the use of African labor thus the existence of people of African origin in the new world.
(e) Discovery of maritime technology.
This acted as a pushing factor for Africans to be taken as slaves. Maritime technology eased transportation and guided the merchants to locate Africa. Thus be in possession to transport people of African origin to the new world.
(f) Inability of the indigenous people.
Initially the Europeans were using Native Americans and red Indians to provide cheap labor on the plantations and mining centers but these later died in huge numbers due to plague. This called for an importation of African slaves which contributed to the existence of people of African origin in the new world.
(g) Discovery of the new world.
The discovery of the new world by Christopher Columbus in 1492 contributed to the existence of people of African origin in the new world. The discovery led to the establishment of plantations and mining centers that demanded for cheap labor which called for importation of African slaves.
PROBLEMS FACED BY THE PEOPLE OF AFRICAN ORIGIN IN THE NEW WORLD
The people of African origin faced various problems which were caused by the development of capitalism. The European maintained certain conditions to ensure the survival of capitalism at the expense of the people of African origin. These problems are classified into political, economical and social aspects.
• Denied the right to vote.
The people of African origin were denied the right to vote, various measures were put that made difficult for the black people to vote. The qualifications to vote included one should have attained a certain level of income and had a grandfather who was eligible to vote.
• Denied equal representation.
People of African origin were denied equal representation in the government. To make matters worse; they were even denied the right to run for political office hence they had no representatives in the government.
• Denied the right to make decisions.
People of African origin were denied the right to make decisions in the new world; they lost all their rights as human beings hence they could not even make decisions regarding their own lives.
• Denied the right to own land.
People of African origin were denied the right to own land, they were forbidden by law to own land or any other property. This rendered them to be only domestic servants in the new world.
• Poor working conditions.
People of African origin were exposed to poor working conditions on the plantations owned by the whites. They signed contracts with planters were they agreed to offer labor on conditions similar to those of slavery. On the plantations, people of African origin were more often punished by the planters and were paid low wages and in some cases they were not paid at all.
• Racial discrimination
The people of African origin were subjected to racial discrimination in all aspects of life. Laws were established which restricted people of African origin to live in separate and inferior sections of hospitals, cemeteries and toilet facilities.
The people of African origin faced different problems in education system. There was segregation in the education system whereby black people were denied admission in secondary schools, colleges and universities because of their race.
• Denied the right to marry.
Black people were denied the right to marry and be married. The capitalist believed that marriage would hinder the exploitation of African labor since it would become expensive to maintain the black people and their families. Laws were also established that prohibited relations between a black and a white man.
Due to the problems; the people of African origin began to wage struggles for equality, economic power and civil rights. The development of class consciousness among the people of African origin was caused by numerous factors that contributed to the rise of black American nationalism.
BLACK AMERICAN NATIONALISM
The origin of black American nationalism was the exploitation and oppression to which the black people were subjected. This situation forced the black people to identify themselves as the group apart.
Black American nationalism manifested itself in different forms such as back to African movement, pan African movement and the civil rights movement.
OBJECTIVES OF A BACK TO AFRICA MOVEMENT
a) Liberate people of African origin.
The movement wanted the people of African origin to be free from exploitation and oppression by shipping them back to Africa. The supporters of this movement argued that the people of African origin cannot attain economic and political freedom in the USA thus the solution was to go back to Africa.
b) Formation of a strong African state.
The movement aimed at forming the strong African state which would restore, respect and freedom to the people of African origin, the supporters of the movement claimed that the formation of a strong African state will lead to the elevation of African race.
c) Empower the people of African origin.
The movement aimed at empowering the black people economically by establishing economic ventures and creating employment for the millions of people of African origin that were living in poverty.
d) Raising nationalism in Africa.
The people of African origin (back to Africa movement) aimed at raising nationalism in Africa. It wanted to unite all the black people in both the new world and Africa to fight against oppression, exploitation and colonialism.
e) Regain fundamental rights.
The movement also aimed at bringing unity and solidarity among the people of African origin. The black people had been denied the right to education, right to freedom of expression and the right to marry and own property.
f) Cultivate a sense of unity.
The movement also aimed at bringing unity and solidarity among the people of African origin. Unity was an important ingredient in the struggle to regain the fundamental rights of the people of African origin.
Achievements of the back to Africa movement
a) Formation of the Universal Negros Improvement Association (UNIA).
The UNIA aimed at calling all people of African origin to establish universal nationhood. The association wanted to emancipate people of African origin from exploitation and oppression.
b) Launched a shipping agency.
The back to Africa movement undertook intensive back to Africa campaign and launched a shipping agency called “black star shipping line” which shifted the emancipated slaves back to Africa for example Liberia and sierra Leone.
c) Plan to form a strong African state.
The movement advocated for the need to form a strong African state which would give the people of African origin the freedom from exploitation and oppression, this centered on the formation of African unity which laid the foundation of the organization of African unity.
d) Formation of the African republic.
The back to Africa movement established the African republic whereby it opened large scale capitalist programs such as hotels and restaurants. These investments provided employment opportunities to the black people who had been denied employment.
e) Removal of inferiority complex of the Africans.
The movement promoted awareness and consciousness among the African race and removed the inferior complex which most Africans had. Through various publications and civil rallies many people of African origin got sensitized and begun to identify their position and their role to play in the dominant white society. f) Unity
The back to Africa movement promoted black solidarity among the black people in the new world and in Africa. Unity was very crucial to the people of African origin were to gain their fundamental right.
Hindrances to the back to Africa movement
There were so many hindrances that faced the back to Africa movement, these included the following
There were some people of African origin who preferred to remain in America because they were not so certain to which part of Africa the movement intended to take them. This complicated the interests of the movement.
2. A campaign of terror
A campaign of terror was unleashed against the members of the universal Negro improvement association all over the state. Many of the members were thrown out of their jobs and the key organizers were killed. This was a serious setback to the cause of the movement.
3. Role of Britain and the USA.
Countries such as Britain and the USA worked very hard to frustrate Marcus Garvey, one of the leaders of the back to Africa movement. In 1923 the government of Liberia invited the members of universal Negros improvement association to set up an African base in Liberia but these two countries threatened to attack Liberia indeed when a team of technical experts arrived in Liberia in 1824, they were arrested and deported to the USA.
4. Opposition from white American capitalists.
The UNIA was operating in the United States along capitalist lines hence it created stiff competition with the white American capitalists who were determined to assure its failure.
5. Deportation of Marcus Garvey.
The government of USA contributed to the failure of the back to Africa by arresting Marcus Garvey and sentenced him to five years imprisonment, he was later pardoned but deported to Jamaica in 1927 hence ending all hopes of reviving the movement hence ending all hopes of reviving the movement.
6. Mass illiteracy.
The mass illiteracy of the people of African origin was the biggest challenge that faced the back to Africa movement, almost 90% of the black people were illiterate. Thus they were vulnerable to exploitation. Illiteracy made the people of African origin an aware about their political, social and economic rights.
PANAFRICANISM OR THE PAN AFRICAN MOVEMENT/black solidarity
Pan Africanism refers to the desire for African unity that tries to cultivate the spirit of brotherhood among the black people in the new world.
Pan Africanism originated in America and the Caribbean islands in the early 20th century.
The movement was formed by the black people initially to stop slave trade.
Pan Africanism was founded by Bladen and later on it was actuated William Sylvester who convened the first pan Africanist conference, these were few representatives from Africa but the majority came from America.
Aims of pan Africanism
• The movement also aimed at bringing unity and solidarity among the people of African origin. Unity was an important ingredient in the struggle to regain the fundamental rights of the black people.
• The movement aimed at fighting against colonialism in Africa and ensures that Africans are given their self rule. The Africans were subjected to colonial rule for a long period where they were exposed to all sorts of exploitation and oppression.
• Rise consciousness of the black people towards elimination of their inferiority complex which would restore respect and freedom to black people. The supporters of the movement claimed that the formation of a strong state will lead to the elevation of the African race.
• The movement wanted to liberate Africans from slave trade and slavery. Under slavery the people of African origin were subjected to all evils. They were denied the right to education, right to freedom of expression, right to marry and the right to own property.
• The movement also wanted to regain the fundamental rights of the people of African origin. They were denied right to education, right to freedom of expression, right to marry and own property.
• Raise consciousness of the black people towards formation of the united states of Africa which would have restore respects and freedom to the black people. The supporters of the movement claimed that the formation of a strong African state will lead the elevation of the African race.
• The movement aimed at empowering the black people economically by establishing economic ventures and creating employment for the millions of people of African origin that were living in poverty.
CONTRIBUTION OF PANAFRICANISM TO THE RISE OF AFRICAN NATIONALISM
• The pan Africanist movement united all Africans from all works of life to oppose colonialism. The common desire for independence was a unifying factor that terminated tribal interest, by uniting all Africans it became easy to oppose colonial rule.
• The movement provided a forum or a platform where Africans could discuss the grievance caused by colonialism in all the congresses of the movement, the people of African origin discussed about implementing the spirit of oneness among all the black people all over the world.
• The movement awakened the interests of the Africans to fight for independence. During the conferences of the pan African movement, members discussed a wide range of issues such as racial discrimination, unfair taxation policies and land alienation which they were facing under colonial rule.
• The pan African movement played a big role in the rise of African nationalism because it stressed that; the fight for political independence by the Africans was a necessary step towards complete economic and social emancipation.
• The pan African congress chose total liberation in their struggle for independence from Manchester; the activities of the movement were shifted to Africa following the independence of Ghana in 1957. The capital city of Ghana, Accra became the head quarters of pan Africanism where Kwame Nkrumah spear headed the independence of many African countries.
• The movement represented the African continent in the international conferences especially in the United Nations wanted to ensure that all countries attain independence through the peaceful means.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF PAN-AFRICANISM
The development of pan Africanism took place through summoning or holding various conferences in various countries of Europe. These conferences aimed at uniting people of African origin all over the world.
These conferences included the following;
• The pan African congress that took place in London in 1900.
This was the first conference which took place in London. The meeting was summoned by Henry Sylvester Williams from the West Indies. It was at this conference that Doctor Du Bois was introduced and he came to dominate the movement for almost half of the century. The objects of the congress included the following;
To provide a forum for people of African origin to protest against European exploitation and oppression.
To bring all people of African origin into closer relationship, this was so crucial in the struggle for their fundamental rights.
To appeal to the people to end the colonization and exploitation of the African people.
This conference was able to lay the foundation for future solidarity of all people of African origin and it planted the spirit of oneness of Africa all over the world.
• The Paris conference of 1919.
This was the second pan African movement which was held in Paris. This conference was chaired by Du Bois. This conference took place at a time when the Paris Peace Conference is taking place. This was the conference which was signed after the First World War. In this conference the following points were made
The members recommended that an international law should be formed to protect the Africans.
The Africans should be guaranteed the right to education.
The conference also supported the abolition of slave trade and capital punishment.
• The London conference of 1921.
This was the third conference that was held in three sessions, that is in London, Brussels and Paris. The conference emphasized the need to form political parties and the need for international harmony. In 1944, the students‟ crew and politicians, led by George Pardmore, Wallace Jackson and Jomo Kenyatta formed a pan African federation.
• The fourth pan African congress.
The fourth congress was held in London and Lisbon in 1923. The members in this congress maintained that the Africans should have a right to self government.
• The fifth pan African congress.
This congress took place in New York in 1927; this was the last pan African congress which was directly linked to Dr. Bois and George Pardmore. There were conflicts which emerged between Marcus Garvey and Dr Bois. Marcus Garvey one of the founders of back to Africa movement wanted to deport all people of African origin back to Africa while Dr. Du Bois preferred to fight from exile.
• The sixth pan African congress.
The pan African federation convened a radical congress in 1945 in Manchester. This was a Manchester conference of 1945. This conference was inspired by President Woodrow Wilson of the United States who declared the principle of self determination.
This was the conference that demanded complete independence for the Africans. After the conference the intellectuals went back to Africa to mobilize the people for independence instead of remaining in Europe.
The conference was attended by a number of nationalist leaders from Africa such as Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnandi Azikiwe, Peter Abrahams and Wallace Jackson. The members at this conference adopted the following resolutions
The members demanded complete independence from colonial rule, they argued that “We demand black African autonomy independence, so far and no further than it is possible in this one world for groups of people to rule themselves”.
They also demanded universal suffrage and condemned colonialism
NOTE: The African nationalists such as kwame Nkrumah, kamuzu Banda and Nnandi Azikiwe studied in the United States of America thus they had been enlightened about them to take an active role in the pan African movement.
THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS IN THE USA
The civil rights movements was an ideological and political movement of people of African origin in America that demanded for total democracy which allow the citizens of America both black and white to participate fully in the economic, political and social affairs of the country.
The movement was advocating for equal rights and fair treatments to all people irrespective of their races. The main architects of this movement were Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
The objectives of the civil rights movements
• To end all kinds of discrimination.
The main objective of the movement was to end all kinds of discrimination and segregation of people of African origin in America. The people of African origin had been subjected to political, social and economic forms of discrimination and segregation.
• Create an ideal American society.
Create an ideal American society by enforcing the implementation of the American constitution to grant people of African origin the same human rights as accorded to the white people.
• Equal employment opportunities.
To enforce the government to grant equal employment opportunities to people of African origin were denied employment especially on federal projects and departments.
• Right to vote.
To enforce the government to grant people of African origin the right to vote and to be voted for. This was one of the major objectives of the civil rights movement because the people of African origin had been segregated from affairs of their country.
• Developing unity and solidarity.
The movement aimed at developing unity and solidarity of all the people of African origin in America. The movement wanted to sensitize people of African origin to identify their position in the society and their vision and direction.
• Basic needs
The movement also wanted to ensure that the people of African origin are given their basic needs. They summarized their demands in the final point, “we need land, bread, housing and education” the blank panther party suggested that if businesses and the government did not provide for full employment, the community should take over the means of production.
• Stamp out slavery.
The movement wanted to stamp out slavery and improve the working conditions of people of African origin. After the civil war, slavery was abolished but people of African origin were still working in conditions that were not different from those of slavery.
Achievements of the civil rights movements
The civil rights movement registered great success in fighting for the rights of black people in the United States of America. It marked a turning point in the economic, political and social well being of the black people.
• The people of African origin or black people were given the right to vote and to be voted for political positions in the United States. For example they should be governors of the state, mayors of cities, congress representatives, ambassadors and military commanders and presidents.
• The USA government recognized that positive actions were needed to improve the opportunities of the black people in the United States. The government decided that public and private institutions that employed black people should be considered in terms of tax concession.
• The black people are also entitled to welfare benefits as much as the whites. These benefits included unemployment benefits, housing subsidies and state scholarships.
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