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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 

Abdias do Nascimento

Abdias do Nascimento is a Brazilian African American artist, actor and politician. Franca is a female first name, a city and a municipality in the North-Eastern part of the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil. He became a leader in Brazil’s black movement, and was forced into exile by the military regime in 1968. After 14 years of working in universities in the United States, he returned to Brazil and in 1982 was elected to the Federal Chamber of Deputies. There his focus was supporting legislation to address racial problems.

   

Ahmed Sékou Touré

Sékou Touré was president of the Republic of Guinea after its independence and an exponent of radical socialism. His decision to oppose the De Gaulle referendum in 1958 was the key event which destroyed the old French West African Federation. Touré even moderated the degree and type of denunciation of the Ivory Coast and Senegal. He attended the Monrovia Conference in April; guinea became a member of the Organisation of Senegal River States; and he restored diplomatic relations with Britain, which had been severed in 1965. Touré held his position as President of Guinea until his death on March 26, 1984.

   

Amilcar Cabral

Amilcar Cabral was educated in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal which was the colonial power that ruled over Portuguese Guinea at that time. While a student in Lisbon he founded student movements dedicated to African Nationalism. He returned to Africa in the 1950s, and began forming independence movements on the continent. He was instrumental in the formation of the PAIGC or Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (Portuguese: African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde). He also worked to form a liberation party in Angola with Agostinho Neto.

   

Amy Ashwood Garvey

Amy Ashwood Garvey helped to cofound the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and helped to build it into a world-wide mass Pan-African organization, with her husband Marcus Garvey. She helped to establish the ladies auxiliary wing of the movement became the General Secretary of the UNIA in 1919 and became one of the directors of the Black Star Line shipping Company. After she divorced, Amy Ashwood travelled and wrote about matters concerning Africa and Africans. While living in London she owned a restaurant and it served as a meeting place for students and Pan-Africanists. She was a founding member of the International African Service Bureau (IASB) and was instrumental in organising the 5th Pan-African Congress. Throughout her life she campaigned for the rights of African women.

 

Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper was an author, educator and one of the most important African American scholars in United States history. Upon receiving a PhD in history from the University of Paris-Sorbonne in 1924, Cooper became the fourth African American women to earn a doctoral degree. She was also a prominent member of Washington DC’s African American community. During her years as teacher and principal at M Street, Cooper completed her first book, A Voice from the South: By a Woman from the South, published in 1892. This is perhaps her most well known volume and is widely viewed as one of the first articulations of black feminism. The book advanced a vision of self determination through education and social uplift for African American women. Its central thesis was that the educational, moral and spiritual progress of black women would improve the general standing of the entire African American community. Cooper advanced the view that it was the duty of educated and successful black women to support their underprivileged peers in achieving their goals. The essays in A Voice from the South also touched on a variety of topics, from racism and the socio-economic realities of black families to the administration of the Episcopal Church.

   

Bob Marley

Robert “Bob” Nesta Marley was a Jamaican musician, singer-songwriter and Rastafarian. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands. The Wailers (1964 - 1974) and Bob Marley and the Wailers (1974 - 1981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread Jamaican music to the worldwide audience.

 

Chief Albert Luthuli

President –General of the African National Congress from December 1952 until his death in 1967, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960. Chief Albert John Luthuli was the most widely known and respected African leader of his era. Luthuli’s home in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, a meeting place for people linked to South Africa’s freedom struggle during the years of Luthuli’s banishment, was proclaimed a museum in August 2004. The house that is now the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum was under constant police surveillance when Luthuli lived there.

   

Cyril Lionel Robert James

Cyril Lionel Robert James was an Afro-Trinidadian journalist, social theorist and writer. He was influential in the United Kingdom and the United States in socialist parties and Communist thought, as we as leading ideas about the end of colonialism. The intellectual legacy of Cyril Lionel Robert James is complex and controversial. Best known as the author of The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, James also made significant contributions in the fields of sport criticism, Caribbean history, literary criticism, Pan African politics and Marxist theory. James’ political and literary activities extended over five decades and several countries – including Trinidad, Britain, the United States and Ghana. Such a long and extensive career easily lends itself to interpretative debate.

 

Eduardo Mondlane

In 1962 Mondlane was elected president of the newly formed Mozambican Liberation Front (Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique or FRELIMO), which was composed of elements from smaller independentist groups. Supported both by several Western countries and the USSR, as well as by many African states, FRELIMO began a guerilla was in 1964 to obtain Mozambique’s independence from Portugal. In FRELIMO’s early years, its leadership was divided: the faction led by Mondlane wanted to merely to fight for independence but also for a change to a socialist society; dos Santos, Machel and Chissano and a majority of the Party’s Central Committee shared this view. This socialist position was approved by the Second Party Congress, held in July 1968; Mondlane was reelected party President and a strategy of protracted war based on support amongst the peasantry (as opposed to a quick coup attempt) was adopted. In 1969 a bomb was planted in a book then sent to him at the FREMILO general secretariat in Tanzania. It exploded, killing him.

   

Edward Wilmot Blyden

Edward Wilmot Blyden was a Liberian educator and statesman. More than any other figure, he laid the foundation of West African nationalism and of Pan-Africanism. He went to the United States in May 1850 and sought to enter a theological college but was turned down because of his race. In January 1851 he emigrated to Liberia and from 1871 to 1873 Blyden lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone. There he edited Negro, the first pan-African journal in West Africa. He also led two important expeditions to Fouta Djallon in the interior. Between 1874 and 1885 Blyden was again based in Liberia, holding various high academic and government offices. In 1885 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Liberian presidency. After 1885 Blyden divided his time between Liberia and the British colonies if Sierra Leone and Lagos. He served Liberia again in the capacities of ambassador to Britain and France and as a professor and later president of Liberia College.

In 1891 and 1894 he spent several months in Lagos and worked there in 1896-1897 as government agent for native affairs. While in Lagos he wrote regularly for the Lagos Weekly Record, one of earliest propagators of Nigerian and West African nationalism. In Freetown, Blyden helped to edit the Sierra Leone News, which he had assisted in founding in 1884 “to serve the interest of West Africa…and the race generally”. He also had helped found and edit the Freetown West African Reporter (1874-1882), whose declared aim was to forge a bond of unity among English-speaking West Africans. Between 1901 and 1906 Blyden was director of Moslem education; he taught English and “Western subjects” to Moslem youths with the object o building a bridge of communication between the Moslem and Christian communities.
 

Enoch Sontonga

A choirmaster and photographer, he wrote the first verse of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” when he was 24 (1897), one of many songs he wrote for his pupils. Later the same year, he composed the music. The song is a prayer for God’s blessing on the land and its entire people. Sontonga’s choir sang the song around Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal, and other choirs followed them. It was first sung in public in 1899 at the ordination of Rev Boweni, a Shangaan Methodist Minister. Proclamation issued by the State President on 20 April 1994, stipulated that both “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” and “Die Stem” (the Call of South Africa), written by Afrikaans poet CJ Langenhoven in 1918, would be the national anthems of South Africa. In 1996 a shortened, combined version of the two anthems was released as the new National Anthem. 

 

Franz Fanon

Franz Fanon was a psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, and author from Martinique. He was influential in the field of post-colonial studies and was perhaps the pre-eminent thinker of 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization. His works have inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades.

 

Gamal Abdel-Nasser

Nasser achieved unprecedented popularity throughout the Arab world. He was admired for his rousing support of Arab Nationalism; his domestic social programmes; Nasser spent his life defending the Arab Nationalism and the people’s right to be free. He supported liberal movements against all types of occupation in the developing countries. Nasser was founding-leader of the Non Aligned Movement. Along with India’s Nehru and Indonesia’s Sukarno, Nasser became a major international power broker in the politics of the developing world.

   

George Padmore

George Padmore, born Malcom Ivan Mredith Nurse, was a Trinidadian who became a leading Pan-Africanist. Padmore was an important black student leader, and this led to his involvement in Comintern, the international communist movement. In late 1929 he left the United States and moved to USSR where he headed the Negro Bureau of the Communist International of Labour Unions (See Profintern) and was Secretary of the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers. In 1934 Padmore resigned his positions and moved to London. In London he collaborated with C.L.R James and other Caribbean and African intellectuals. In response to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, James and Padmore organized the International African Services Bureau, of which he was chairman and James editor. In his capacity as leader of the IASB Padmore helped organize the 1945 Manchester Conference which was attended by Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatat, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jaja Wachuku. This conference helped set the agenda for decolonization in the post-war period.

 
 

I.T.A. Wallace-Johnson

I.T.A. Wallace-Johnson led the first mass movement of Sierra Leoneans from all walks of life, working untiringly for unity and the rights of the common man. At the age of eighteen, he entered government service as a customs clerks, but was soon dismissed for helping to organise the first trade union on Sierra Leone. In 1931, Wallace-Johnson founded the first labour union in Nigeria, and in 1936 he was jailed in the Gold Coast (Ghana) for publishing a scathing attack on colonialism. Moreover, Wallace-Johnson was personally popular, a likeable man with an excellent sense of humour, who once told a group of workers, “I am not anything above you, I am at par with you”. But the colonial authorities finally jailed Wallace-Johnson in 1939 under an Emergency Act adopted at the outset of World War II. He was ultimately exiled to Sherbro Island, where he spent most of his time teaching the local people how to read and write. Wallace-Johnson lived to become one of Sierra Leone’s delegates to the London Independence Talks in 1960. He will long be remembered as an ardent patriot and a true man of the people.

   

Haile Selassie

Haile Selassie I born Tafari Makonnen, was Ethiopia’s regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emporer of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. The heir to a dynasty that traced its origins to the 13th century and from there by tradition back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Haile Selassie is a defining figure in Ethiopian and African history. He is the religious symbol for God incarnate among the Rastafari movement, founded in Jamaica in the early 1930s, and spread worldwide in the 1970s through Bob Marley and reggae music. The movement has an estimated 1 million adherents. The Rastafari also call Haile Selassie HIM, Jah, Ras Tafari and Jah Rastafari.

   

Henry Highland Garnet

Henry Highland Garnet was a leading member of the generation of black Americans who led the abolition movement away from moral suasion to political action. Garnet himself did not stop with politics: he urged slaves to act and claim their own freedom. A constant theme throughout his life was the necessity for blacks to take their destiny into their own hands. Not only did he seek to build up black institutions, he became an advocate of colonialisation in the 1850s and after. He was also a firm Christian who devoted his life to ministry in the Presbyterian Church. His efforts were ably seconded by his oratorical skills which placed him in the front rank among his contemporaries
   

Henry Sylvester Williams

Henry Sylvester Williams was a lawyer, councillor and writer. He was a prominent Trinidadian in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most notably, he was known for his involvement in the Pan-African Movement. Arriving in Britain in 1896, the Trinidadian formed the African Association which was to challenge paternalism, racism and imperialism.

 

Jesse Owen

Jesse Owens was born as James Cleveland Owens, on September 12, 1913. He was an African American Olympic runner who improved human relations in the 1936 Olympics held by Nazi Germany. In the 1936 Olympics, he was able to break multiple world records. When he did this, it proved that the Nazi’s views about African Americans were wrong. Like Jesse Owens, Martin Luther King fought to prove wrong all people who thought African Americans were less than human.

   

Josephine Baker

Overcoming the limitations imposed by the colour of her skin, she became one of the world’s most versatile entertainers, performing on stage, screen and recordings. Josephine was decorated for her undercover work for the French resistance during World War II. She was a civil rights activist. She refused to perform for segregated audiences and integrated the Las Vegas nightclubs. During World War II Josephine Baker worked with the Red Cross, gathered intelligence for the French Resistance and entertained troops in the Africa and the Middle East. After the war, Josephine Baker adopted, with her second husband, twelve children from around the world, making her home a World Village, a “showplace for brotherhood”.

   

John Dube

Dube was founding father of the South African Native National Council (later the ANC) and in 1914 led its deputation to Britain to protest against the Native Land Act. He later resigned the presidency of the Congress. Dube established the newspaper Ilanga Lase Natal in 1903. Inspired by the American educator, Booker T. Washington, Dube excelled as educationist, politician, editor, artist and publicist, and was successful in unifying the historical vision of the African people. His democratic nature as well as statesmanship were evident in his belief that despite the oppression of the African people Europeans, blacks and white would eventually be able to together under a democratic order.

   

John Henrik Clarke
Although he is better known as a historian, his literary accomplishments were also significant. He wrote over two hundred short stories. “The Boy who Painted Christ Black” is his best known short story. Clarke edited numerous literary and historical anthologies including American Negro short stories (1966), an anthology which included nineteenth century writing from writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar and Charles Waddell Chestnut, and continued up through the early sixties with writers such as LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) and William Melvin Kelley. This is one of the classic collections of black fiction. As a historian Clarke also edited a book on Marcus Garvey and edited Africa, Lost and Found (with Richard Moore and Keith Baird) and African People at the Crossroads, two seminal historical works widely used in history and African American studies disciplines on college and university campuses. Through the United Nations he published monographs on Paul Robeson and W.E.B. du Bois.

As an activist-historian he produced the monograph Christopher Columbus and the African Holocaust. His most recently published book was Who Betrayed the African Revolution? In the form of edited books, monographs, major essays and book introductions, Clarke produced well over forty major historical and literary documents. Rarely, if ever, has one man delivered so much quality and inspiring literature. Moreover, Clarke was also an inquisitive student who became a master teacher.  
   

Jomo Kenyatta 
  

KENYATTA…. Taa ya Kenya or Swahili for the ‘Light of Kenya’ was the man who brought the light of independence to Kenya. Indeed, he was a beacon, a rallying point for suffering Kenyans to fight for their rights, justice and freedom. His brilliance gave strength and aspiration to people beyond the boundaries of Kenya, indeed beyond the shores of Africa. Just as one light shines in total darkness and provides a rallying point, so did Kenyatta become the focus of the freedom fight in Kenya for over half a century to dispel the darkness and injustice of colonialism. Before matter can become light, it has to suffer the rigours of heat. So did Kenyatta suffer the rigorous of imprisonment to bring independence to Kenya. As the founding father of Kenya, and its undisputed leader, he came to be known as Mzee, Swahili for a respected elder.

   

Julius Nyerere

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was the first president of Tanzania. Nyerere entered politics in 1954 and founded the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). He became the chief minister of British-ruled Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as Prime Minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. In 1964 Nyerere formed Tanzania – a union of Tanganyika and the island of Zanzibar – with himself as president. He stepped down as president in 1985 but continued as head of the ruling party until 1990. Committed to African liberation, he offered sanctuary in Tanzania to members of African liberation movements from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and Uganda. In 1978 he sent Tanzanian troops to depose Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Tanzania hosted the African Liberation Committee from its inception in 1963. Tanzania gave land and other assistance to the African National Congress of South Africa for its headquarters in Morogoro, and for the Solomon Mahlangu School and otjher projects.

 

Kwame Nkrumah

He generally took a non-aligned Marxist perspective on economics, and believed capitalism had malign effects that were going to stay with Africa for a long time. Although he was clear on distancing himself from the African Socialism of many of his contemporaries; Nkrumah argued that socialism was the system that would best accommodate the changes that capitalism had brought, while still respecting African values. He specifically addresses these issues and his politics in a 1967 essay entitled “African Socialism Revisited”. Nkrumah was also perhaps best known politically for his strong commitment for the promotion of Pan-Africanism. Having been inspired by the writings and his relationships with black intellectuals like Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. du Bois and George Padmore; Nkrumah went on to himself inspire and encourage Pan-Africanist positions amongst a number of other African independence leaders such as Edward Okadjian, and activists from the Eli Nrwoku’s African Diaspora. With perhaps Nkrumah’s biggest success in this area coming with his significant influence in the founding of the Organisation of African Unity.

 

Lillian Ngoyi

Lillian Masediba Ngoyi “Ma Ngoyi”, was a South African anti-apartheid activist. She was the first woman elected to the executive committee of the African National Congress, and helped launch the Federation of South African Women. Ngoyi joined the ANC Women’s League in 1952 and a year later she was elected as President of the Women’s League. On August 9, 1956 Ngoyi led a march along with Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn of 20 000 women to the Union Buildings of Pretoria in protest against the apartheid government requiring women to carry pass books as part of the pass laws. Ngoyi was not an intellectual, rather she was known as a strong orator and a fiery inspiration to many of her colleagues in the ANC. She was arrested in 1956, spent 71 days in solitary confinement, and was for a period of 11 years placed under severe bans and restrictions that often confined to her home in Orlando, Soweto.

A community health centre in Soweto is named in her honour. On August 9, 2006, the 50th anniversary of the march on Pretoria, Strijdom Square from which the women marched, was renamed Lillian Ngoyi Square.
 

Martin Delany

Martin Delaney was a physician, author, abolitionist and early Black Nationalist. Delany began publication of a black newspaper in Pittsburg in 1843. This paper suspended publication, after which Delaney briefly worked as co-editor of the North Star in Rochester, New York. In 1850, Delany and two other black men entered Harvard Medical School. Complaints from several white students, who objected to the presence of the three blacks, soon ended Delany’s stay there, however. Delany turned once again to writing and published The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, Politically Considered in 1852. This book supported the emigration of blacks outside the United States, and Delany himself moved to Chatham, Canada, in 1856. During the Civil War, Delany recruited black troops in Massachusetts and other New England states. He also became the first black field officer in the Union Army in 1865 when he was commissioner major.

   

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States and he frequently referenced as a human rights icon today.

   

Malcolm X

Malcom X, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was an African American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist. To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for rights of African Americans, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. His detractors accused him of preaching race hatred and violence. He has been described as one of the most influential African Americans of the 20th century.

   

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is a former President of South Africa, the first to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African National Congress and its armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. He spent 27 years inprison, much of it in Robben Island, on convictions for crimes that included sabotage committed while he spearheaded the struggle against apartheid. Among opponents of apartheid in South Africa and internationally, he became a symbol of freedom and equality, while the apartheid government and nations sympathetic to it condemn him and the ANC as communists and terrorists. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, his switch to a policy of reconciliation and negotiation helped lead the transition to multiracial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, he has been widely praised, even by former opponents. Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela’s clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela.
   

Nnamdi Azikiwe

His time in politics spanned most of his adult life and he was referred to by admirers as “The Great Zik of Africa”. His motto in politics was “talk I listen, you listen I talk”. The writings of Azikiwe spawned a philosophy of African liberation Zikism, which identifies five concepts for Africa’s movement towards freedom: spiritual balance, social regeneration, economic determination, mental emancipation and political resurgence. He once described Nigeria’s achievement of independence from Britain as “the consummation of my life’s work.” But despite his anti-colonialism struggle, he retained friendship with Britain.

After his American studies he went to the Gold Coast now Ghana as a propagandist for the nationalist cause. One of his pupils was the late Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s future president. Within 10 years he had become president of the National Council for Nigeria and the Cameroons, a political party which joined radical elements that emerged during World War Two. Azikiwe became the first Prime Minister of Eastern Nigeria, one of the then colony’s three regions. Adult suffrage, a wide program of economic and social development, and administrative reorganization were introduced under his premiership.
 

OR Tambo

He was the President (1961-1991) of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC). In 1944, with Nelson Mandela and others, he cofounded the Youth League of the ANC. He became the ANC’s deputy president in 1958 and was forced into exile in Zambia when it banned in 1960. He was elected ANC president in 1969 after the death of Albert Luthuli. He returned to South Africa in ill health in 1990 and yielded the party presidency to former President Nelson Mandela.

 

Patrice Lumumba

Patrice Emery Lumumba was an African anti-colonial leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo after he helped to win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis. He was subsequently imprisoned and murdered under controversial circumstances.

   

Pixley Ka Isaka Seme

Pixley Ka Isaka Seme and three colleagues laid a foundation of modern South Africa when they organised the South African Native National Congress in 1912. Renamed the African National Congress in 1923, the group has led the struggle for political, social and economic rights for black South Africans. Seme was a major force in the Congress, serving as its first treasurer and as president-general from 1930 to 1936. He also launched its newspaper Abantu-Batho, the country’s first for black readers, and led the movement to buy land for black settlers.

   

Prince Hall

Prince Hall is one of Boston’s most prominent citizens during the revolutionary period, was the founder of the African Lodge of the Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons of Boston, the world’s first lodge of black Freemasonry and the first society in American history devoted to social, political and economic improvement. Hall was active in the affairs of Boston’s black community, using his position as “Worshipful Master” of the black Masons to speak out against slavery and the denial of black rights. For years, he protested the lack of schools for black children and finally established one in his own home.


 

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was a South African political dissident, who founded the Pan Africanist Congress in opposition to the apartheid regime. He was a strong believer in an Africanist future for South Africa and rejected any model suggesting working with anyone other than blacks, despite the large non-black minorities in the country. He later left the ANC and formed the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), where he was elected the first President in 1959. Robert Sobukwe became known as the Professor to his close compatriots and followers. This was witness to his educational achievements and powers of speech. He spoke of the need for black South Africans to “liberate themselves: without the help of non-blacks. His strong conviction and the active resistance inspired generations of South Africans, and also inspired many organisations involved in the anti-apartheid movement, notably the Black Consciousness Movement.

   

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

She was an African American civil rights activist whom the US Congress later called “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”. On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her action was not the first of its kind: Irene Morgan, in 1946, and Sarah Louise Keys, in 1955, had won rulings before the Supreme Court and the Interstate Commerce Commission respectively in the area of interstate bus travel. But unlike these previous individual actions of civil disobedience, Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This movement turned Parks into an international icon of resistance to racial segregation and launched boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr. to national prominence in the civil rights movement. Parks eventually received honors raging from the 1979 Springarn Medal to a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.

   

Walter Rubusana

While serving as a pastor, Dr Rubusana edited as isiXhosa language newspaper and acted as spokesperson for black pressure groups. He served on several naïve delegations to England to expose the cause of downtrodden South Africans. He was held in high esteem by both white and black people in South Africa. In 1909, he joined the protest against the terms of the proposed Union Constitution. In 19010, Dr Rubusana became a candidate in the Provincial Council election, which was viewed as a bold step for a “native”. He was the first African to be elected to serve as a member of the Provincial Council when he won the contest for the Thembuland constituency. He made an important contribution to African literature through his book Zem’ inkomo Magwalandini, which is a rich collection of isiXhosa poetry, clan prises, essays and proverbs. Dr Rubusana was a co-founder of the South African Native National Congress(SANNC), which later became the African National Congress.

In 1914, he went to Britain with the SANNC delegation to protest against the Native Land Act and was coordinator of the Movement’s constitution. Dr Walter Rubusana was not only a gifted intellectual with many talents; he was also a political activist who put his intellectual aptitudes to the service of his people. In the face of racial dogma and state-sanctioned discrimination, he never tired of helping his people overcome the barriers of racial oppression and lack of education.
 

Tiyo Soga

Tiyo Soga was a South African Journalist, minister, translator and composer of hymns. He translated John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress into Xhosa, and also helped translate the Bible. Soga was born in Tyume, Cape Colony, and attended mission school and was later educated at Lovedale. He also studied at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and qualified as a teacher and then as a minister. He became the first Xhosa to be ordained in the Christian ministry in 1868 and Tutura from 1868 until his death there in 1871.

   

Samora Machel

Samora Machel was a prominent leader of FRELIMO and president of Mozambique. In 1962 Machel joined left-wing FRELIMO guerilla movement and received military training. He became leader of FRELIMO in 1968. In 1969 he became its president. He advocated the formation of society based on Marxist ideals. On October 19, 1986, Machel was on his way back from an international meeting in Lusaka in a Tupolev 134 plane when it crashed into the hillside in the Lbombo Mountains. Ten people survived but Machel and 33 others died, some of them members of his government. The accident was attributed to the error of a Russian pilot but there has been speculation of complicity of South African security forces and that the plane had been intentionally diverted by a false navigational beacon signal.

   

Steve Biko

Stephen Bantu Biko was a noted anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and early 1970s. A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilise much of the urban black population. At the time of his death clandestine negotiations were in progress sounding Biko out as deputy leader of the Maoist-orientated Pan Africanist Congress. Since his death in police custody, he has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement.

   

Sol Platjiee

Plaatje was born near Boshof, Orange Free State (now Free State Province, South Africa). As an activist and politician he spent much of his life in the struggle for the enfranchisement and liberalisation of African people. He was a founder member and first General Secretary of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which would later become the African National Congress (ANC). He was editor and part-owner of Koranta ea Becoana (Bechuana Gazette) in Mafikeng, and in Kimberly Tsala ea Becoana (Bechuana Friend) and Tsala ea Batho (The Friend of the People). As a writer Plaatje was the first black South African to publish a novel in English- Mhudi. He also wrote “Native Life in South Africa”, which Neil Parsons describes as “one of the most remarkable books on Africa by one of the continent’s most remarkable writers”; and Boer War Diary that was first published 40 years after his death.

   

Stokely Carmichael

Stokely Standiford Churchill Carmichael, also known as Kwame Ture, was a Trinidadian-American black activist active in the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. He rose to prominence first as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “Snick”) and later as the “Honorary Prime Minister” of Black Panther Party.  Initially an integrationist, Carmichael later became affiliated with black nationalist and Pan-Africanist movements.

 

Toussaint L’Ouverture

Although he never set foot in Britain or the British West Indies, Toussaint L’Ouverture had a large, albeit indirect, influence on the end of slavery in the British Empire. L’Ouverture was the leader of history’s largest slave revolt, a dozen years of bloody, brutal fighting, starting in 1791, which transformed the French colony of St Dominigue into the independent country of Haiti. By eliminating France as a major slaveholding power, Haitian independence cut the ground from under a prime argument in parliament against abolition that if Britain abolished the slave trade, its rival France, would take over.

   

Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth (originally named Isabella Baumfree), was born a slave in Ulster County, New York State, in about 1797. At the age of nine she was auctioned off to an Englishman named John Nealey. Over the next few years she was owned by a fisherman in Kingston and then by John Dumont, a plantation owner from New York County. Between 1810 and 1827 she had five children with a fellow slave. She was dismayed when one of her sons was sold to a plantation owner in Alabama. After New York State abolished slavery in 1827, Quaker friends of hers helped her win back her son through the courts. She moved to New York City and obtained work as a servant. She became friends with Elijah Peterson, a religious missionary, and eventually moved into his home. In 1843 Isabella took the name Sojourner Truth. With the help of a white friend, Olive Gilbert, she published her book, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth. In an introduction to the book, William Lloyd Garrison wrote that he believed it would “stimulate renewed efforts to liberate all those still in slavery in America”.

Over the next few years Truth toured the country making speeches on slavery. After meeting Lucretia Mott, she also spoke at meetings in favor of woman’s suffrage. When a white man told her that her speeches were no more important than a fleabite, she replied, “Maybe not, but the Lord willing, I’ll keep you scratching”. At the beginning of the American Civil War she helped recruit black men to help the war effort. In 1864 she moved to Washington where she organized a campaign against the policy of not allowing blacks to sit on white trains. As a result of this, she was received in the White House by President Abraham Lincoln. Sojourner Truth died at Battle Creek, Michigan, on 26th November, 1883.
 

Walter Rodney

Dr Rodney was a teacher, writer and political activist. From an early age he was involved in anti-colonial and nationalist politics. He was an excellent scholar and won a scholarship to study history at the University of West Indies. That combination of commitment and skills encouraged Rodney to think about the ways in which history could be used to help ordinary working people. He went to England to study African history, where he also experienced the crude racism of the period. At the same time, he gained better understanding of the world-wide nature of the struggle against racism and what he could contribute to it. Through his educational work and political work, Rodney became a leader of the Black Power movement in Jamaica, which he defined to include Caribbean people of both African and East Indian heritage.

The government banned Rodney’s reentry on his return from a Black Writers conference in Canada and he returned to the University of Dar es Salaam. At the time, Dar es Salaam was the centre for a great political thinking and activity. This environment inspired Rodney to think more deeply about solving practical political, economic and cultural problems. He lectured and published widely on African history, contemporary African affairs and imperialism during this period, which also saw the publication of his best known work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. However, he came to realize that there was only so much he could do as a foreigner in Tanzania and decided to commit himself to working for change in Guyana.
   

W.E.B. du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was am American civil rights activist, leader, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor, poet and scholar. Du Bois’ life and work were an inseparable mixture of scholarship, protest activity and polemics. All of his efforts were geared toward gaining equal treatment for black people in a world dominated by whites and toward marshalling and presenting evidence to refute the myths of racial inferiority. Du Bois received many honorary degrees, was a fellow and life member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He was the outstanding African American intellectual of his period in America.

 

Yosef Ben-Jochannan

Ben-Jochannan, also known as “Dr. Ben”, is the author of numerous books, primarily on ancient Nile Valley civilizations and their impact on Western cultures. In his writings, he states that the original Jews were black, while the “white Jews” later adopted the Jewish faith and its customs. Dr. Ben is founder and high priest in the Craft of Amen-Ra and holds the distinguished title/rank of 360° Grand Master in the Craft of Amen-Ra based upon his intensive research in Masonic history and culture.

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