Pan-African Congress

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Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere convened the last Pan-African Congress June 17–19, 1974, in Dar es Salaam Commonly known as the Six PAC this was the first congress held in Africa Nyerere considered this meeting coming after national liberation had spread throughout Africa and the Caribbean as an opportunity to discuss the “means, and further, the progress, of opposition to racialism, colonialism, oppression and exploitation everywhere and placing these in “the context of a worldwide movement for human equality and national self-determination” Alluding to the new challenges presented by independence Nyerere asked those present to recognize that “an end to colonialism is not an end to the oppression of man,” and to continue working “against oppression by the leaders of those countries which have recently attained freedom whether this is directed against other black men and women or against people of different races”Speeches and debates at the Six PAC focused on race and class and the African Diaspora but the proceedings were punctuated by heated disagreements among delegates from the United States and the Caribbean. Despite the contentiousness the resolution adopted at the Six PAC reflected the efforts of delegates to envision the tasks of a new struggle and a new liberated future This resolution focused on neo-colonialism as the new threat to African diasporic independence and on the continued oppression of Africa; took up the struggle against apartheid in South Africa; class differences and exploitation in Africa; and the Palestinian liberation movement and The Six PAC held several sessions on the oppression and exploitation of women the resolution itself calling for the democratization and “transformat[ion] of gender relations on the continent and in the diaspora” Coming over a half-century after the first Pan-African Congress in Paris, and some eighty-odd years after the Chicago Conference on Africa, the Six PAC showed the imaginative daring that drew those first delegates to London in 1900 and inspired Du Bois to work so diligently on the congresses from 1919 to 1927 In its closing lines the resolution talked of the Six PAC delegates daring “to dream the same dream that has always filled the villages, ghettos, townships and slave quarters with hope, that has always animated the spirit of resistance” It resonated with the optimism of those earlier meetings, if it betrayed in a far more public way the limits of that illusive ideal to racial unity A struggle against new forms of exploration and oppression awaited the African Diaspora and the resolution concluded with a fitting echo of Du Bois 
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30th Anniversary – Maurice Bishop (29th May 1944 – 19th October 1983): The Fight Against Fascism Continues

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Maurice Bishop became Grenada Prime Minister after seizing power from his predecessor Eric Gairy in a coup while Gairy was out of the country on business (March 1979) In the course of his administration Bishop had formed several organisations: the People Revolutionary Government of Grenada (P.R.G.G) People Revolutionary Army (P.R.A) New Jewel Movement (N.J.M) just to name a few.  This development was triggered while studying in the UK  And although he majored in the subjects of Law and Economics it was during this period that he got heavily influenced into campaigning against racial discrimination in Britain as well as being proactive with the Black Power movement of the USA So in the eyes of the Grenadian Population things were looking positive and bright for Bishop once he took charge until he aligned himself with Cuba This initiated an alliance where various projects were to be carried out that he thought would benefit the island  One of the projects involved was the construction of a new international airstrip that was to be located in the southern region of the island.  This was a project that was once proposed by the British while the country was still colonised However it did not favour well with the US, who, as far as they were concerned, believed that it was a plan to be served as a landing strip to accommodate Russian military aircraft etc As well as US opposition, Maurice was also getting a hard time with those within his own administration who thought that these projects and organisations were a waste of the taxpayer money A proposal for joint leadership was refused by Bishop It was in the first week of October 1983 when things grinded to a halt Bishop was placed under house arrest by the Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard His incarceration didn’t last very long once the people got news as to what had happened The protesting got to such a height that he was immediately released  But within two weeks of the protest Bishop as well as close family members and a part of his administration were rounded up once again and taken into custody They were all placed against a wall outside of where they were confined and got massacred by a firing squad later that day  Finally an invasion by the US ultimately took place October 25th, stopping all Cuban participation on building the airport strip and Maurice Bishop will rise up in history as the bravest leader the Caribbean has ever had in recent times.  His stance in favour of working class rights, women rights, and education as well as his stance against racism, Apartheid and sex discrimination has already been noted by those of us who are conscious and concerned in the affairs of the diaspora Come to think of it these ideals are a carbon copy of Thomas Sankara blueprint policies to elevate all of Africa Unfortunately we are living in times where all great revolutionary thinkers get cut down in their prime by their peers especially peers that are suppose to be working with you side by side, each day  The airport was built and was named Point Salines International Airport but was renamed in honour of the New Jewel Movement leader “Maurice Bishop,” in 2009 and Here is a an excerpt from a speech on fascism by Maurice Bishop “the extremely undemocratic, repressive and corrupt nature of the puppet Regimes carefully trained and promoted from among local professionals and bureaucrats by Imperialism to maintain their presence on the backs of our people is a very consistent Caribbean condition”

African Contributions to Science, Technology and Development

Scientific discovery and the application of technology to the natural environment have been essential to the history of Africa and in the development of the African Diaspora throughout the world and especially in the Americas When Africans migrated whether under conditions of slavery or as voluntary travellers they took with them knowledge of agricultural techniques and skills in exploiting the nature environment that were necessary for development As people have done elsewhere in the world as well Africans depended for their survival upon the ability to adapt successfully to specific ecological settings and to apply acquired knowledge in a manner that increased production and otherwise enhanced the quality of life The African contribution to science and technology can be appreciated with respect to the impact on the development of the Americas which suffered severe population destruction through disease and European conquest after 1492 Spain, Portugal and then other western European countries took advantage of military superiority and the demographic catastrophe in the Americas to confiscate vast tracts of land which only needed labour and transferred technology for its development Europeans empires and the generation of enormous wealth depended upon the combination of these ingredients virtually free and very fertile land labour and technology largely from Africa and the ability to garner huge profits through the reliance on slavery in which workers were not paid for their labour or their technology It is crucial to note that none of the major plantation crops in the Americas and only a few of the foodstuffs consumed by people in the Americas came from western Europe while virtually all of the newly introduced crops originally came from Africa or were grown there before their introduction to the Americas Sugar cane was first grown in the Mediterranean and in southern Morocco before spreading to other offshore islands and then to the Americas Cotton was grown and made into textiles in the western Sudan and in the interior of the Bight of Benin for centuries before being introduced to the Americas along with weaving indigo dyeing and the decorative arts Associated with textiles Rice indigenous to West Africa was introduced into the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia as well as the Mississippi valley and Maranhão in northeastern Brazil and elsewhere while numerous foodstuffs and stimulants were transferred from Africa as well

Definition of Pan Africanism

Pan-Africanism is an internationalist philosophy that is based on the idea that Africans and people of African descent share a common bond Pan Africanism therefore seeks the unity and autonomy of African peoples and peoples of African descent it is also a vision dedicated to fulfilling their right to self-determination African diasporas the global dispersion of people of African descent from their original homelands emerged through slave trading, labor migration, commerce, and war Imagining home through a collective identity and cultural identification with Africa Pan-Africanists mobilize for the continent restoration, prosperity and safety Pan-Africanism allows African and African Diaspora communities to transcend the status of ethnic minority or oppressed nationality by replacing it with the consciousness of being a nation within a nation Colonial degradation took many forms in the African world depending on the varying policies of Britain, Portugal, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, or the United States These policies included direct military occupation, economic subordination through labor exploitation and the regulation of trade relations, cultural imperialism, indirect rule using traditional or even manufactured tribal leaders, promises of citizenship for select Africans and seemingly benevolent development programs The attitudes of imperial officials were far from monolithic Some insisted Africans were racially inferior and needed to be controlled through corporal punishment including rape and the chopping off of limbs others saw African peoples as primitive yet noble even potential equals someday with proper mentoring over time An idea of Africa as ”the dark continent” was created over time by both official intellectual and government institutions and popular culture Africa came to be seen as suffering from dependency complexes and as unfit for self-government Importantly, racist viewpoints did not always preclude recognition of African elites who could function on many levels as modern ”credits to their race” or alternatively as keepers of ethnic wisdom and traditions. Close engagement with such elites was inherent to the civilizing mission and a crucial component of “enlightened” imperial government An idea of Africa as ”the dark continent” was created over time by both official intellectual and government institutions and popular culture Africa came to be seen as suffering from dependency complexes and as unfit for self-government Importantly, racist viewpoints did not always preclude recognition of African elites who could function on many levels as modern ”credits to their race” or alternatively as keepers of ethnic wisdom and traditions Close engagement with such elites was inherent to the civilizing mission and a crucial component of “enlightened” imperial government

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How was Marcus Garvey important in African history?
Marcus Garvey was important to African history in several ways He led the largest black-led political movement in world history and his movement’s “Africa for the Africans” slogan exemplified its primary mission of African politico-economic independence, black control of religious educational and cultural institutions and an audacious worldview that linked the destinies of Africa and its diasporas Of course Garvey was part of a centuries-long history of diasporic blacks that sought re-connection with, and return to the African continent For continental Africans, Garveyism became a vehicle to express popular discontent with white rule, to animate and in some cases, reinvigorate their political organizations, their trade unions, etc to create and control black-led churches and schools and to spark a prophetic liberationist Christianity that placed godly black people at the center of a divinely-ordained historical drama that would lead to African redemption It is so ironic that Garvey’s extensive travels throughout the Atlantic World did not include Africa (though it should be noted several colonial states in Africa banned him) since Garveyism became such a vital ideology that linked continental Africans with diasporic blacks as they constructed transnational racial identities in their attempts to eliminate the global color line Garveyism was also an important bridge between the post-1890 African resistance movements and nascent Pan-African movements associated with diasporic blacks like Henry Sylvester Williams and the post World War Two anti-colonial and Pan-Africanist movements exemplified by future African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Jomo Kenyatta all of whom were influenced by Garvey and Garveyism in their respective youths For historians of African history Marcus Garvey and Garveyism illustrates how African history can be fruitfully studied beyond continental borders how Africa and Africans should be more central in African Diaspora Studies and how African American and Caribbean history remained linked to African history long after the Atlantic Slave Trade

July 25th is the International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women Day: The day to celebrate the resistance to racism and sexism of black women in Latin American and the Caribbean

With the establishment of neoliberal capitalist development models and their policies of exclusion that only further degrade the living conditions of the oppressed in recent years people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean have seen their historically compromised status grow even worse As a result, poverty and marginalization increasingly affect this population even more severely, hindering their access to the resources needed to live in dignity and to participate in the benefits of development However, this discrimination tends to be hidden and ignored by the rest of the population and even by social movements claiming to defend the rights of all people
In fact black women endure an even greater impact compared to men of African descent as the factor of gender intersects with race/ethnicity worsening their situation of segregation And discovering proof of this double discrimination has led black women to raise their voices to demand that their agenda and social demands be met with specific and necessary remedies at appropriate levels including within the black movement African-descendant women have also brought their situation to the attention of the feminist movement urging their sisters to take up and endorse urgent priorities for black women
Recent decades have seen the emergence of many networks and coalitions of black women working to promote and establish strategies for action and collaborating efforts In this context following the First Meeting of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women in the Dominican Republic in 1992 the date of July 25 was established as the International Day of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women. Since then, this date has served as a mechanism for increasing awareness about the oppression of gender and race/ethnicity as experienced by millions of women in our region especially in those countries where African-descendant women constitute a high percentage of the total population. The most representative cases are Brazil and the Caribbean although there are populations of African descendants throughout in most of our region
Moreover on the international scene it is important to highlight the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban South Africa in 2001where the problems and needs of the African diaspora were recognized and explicitly linked to presence of a deeply engrained structural racism.At this international event led by the United Nations people of African descent and women in particular were identified as a priority sector in the fight against racism, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance
The International Day of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women is an opportunity to evaluate the living conditions of black women, to demand redress for the inequality, racism, sexism and social exclusion that has affected them for thousands of years and to renew the commitment to ongoing efforts of solidarity and support call for their rights to respected in all areas

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Hair and grooming have always played an important role in the culture of Africa and the African Diaspora The traditional African comb or pick has played a crucial role in the creation, maintenance, and decoration of hair-styles for both men and women
In many African societies ancient and modern the hair comb symbolizes status group affiliation, and religious beliefs and is encoded with ritual properties The handles of combs are decorated with objects of status such as the headrest, human figures, and motifs that reference nature and the traditional spiritual world In the twentieth century Afro combs have taken on a wider political and cultural message perhaps most notably in the form of the black fist comb that references the Black power salute
By looking at archaeological records of burials and through recording oral histories in modern societies it is hoped the project will provide a much better understanding of the status of this iconic object and the spiritual and societal status it can hold This project aims to trace the history and the meaning of the African hair comb over a period of 5500 years in Africa through to its re-emergence amongst the Diaspora in the Americas, Britain and the Caribbean,Origins of the Afro Comb This exhibition looks so awesome with some of the oldest Afro combs (from ancient Egypt about 6000 years ago) and modern takes on the combs all from diverse communities in Africa and the African Diaspora