Pan-Africanism, Race and a Social Constructed Africa

Topics: Africa, African diaspora, Black people Pages: 5 (1775 words) Published: December 10, 2012
Pan-Africanism, race and a social constructed Africa

Based on culture, identity and world view: slavery, slave trade and the African Diaspora

Pan-Africanism, race and a social constructed Africa
‘What is Africa to me? Once I should have answered the question simply: I should have said "fatherland" or perhaps better "motherland" because I was born in the century when the walls of race were clear and straight in the United States.’ (Du Bois:1968, 115) This citation describes the Pan-Africanist feeling of Du Bios in his autobiography. Du Bios grew up in the United States (U.S.) and was the First African-American who graduated from Harvard (Du Bois:1968, 18.). This feeling of Pan-Africanism can be traced back for centuries in different regions in the world. This research answers the question: to what extent can we speak about one global feeling of Pan-Africanism? This article analyzes the changing opinion on Pan-Africanism from the colonial period until now. Moreover, it will elaborate on the different opinions on Pan-Africanism in different regions in the world. In this article the focus lies on African-American Pan-Africanism and Pan-Africanism on the African continent. To elaborate on the whole African Diaspora is beyond the scope of this article. This research will first discuss the origin of Pan-Africanism, followed by the development of Pan-Africanism now. Lastly, this research will analyze the different experiences of Pan-Africanism around the world. The origin of Pan Africanism and the link to race

Pan-Africanism is about the complexities of black political and intellectual opinions over the centuries. The philosophies and politics of the Pan Africanists depend on the era they lived in. Moreover it depends on whether their focus is on politics, ideology or culture. However, at the basic level, Pan-Africanists share the call for solidarity on the African continent and in the Diaspora, such as the African-Americans in the U.S. (Sherwood: 2012, 106). Interestingly, the first ideas of Pan-Africanism originated outside the African continent. The oppression of African-Americans in the U.S., who were raised in a segregated society, discriminated and excluded from daily life, leaded to debates about race and destiny (Appiah:1993,6). Alexander Crummell, an African-American professor who lived in the 19th century was one of the founders of Pan-Africanism in the U.S. Crummell defines ‘Africa as the motherland of the negro race’. Crummell stated that there was a ‘common destiny for the people of Africa’. The reason for this was according to Crummell not because they shared a common history, or a common threat of imperial Europa, but because all Africans belong to a common race. The linkage between race and Pan-Africanism shaped the discourse on Pan-Africanism (Appiah:1993,5). To put differently, as Kitson states Pan-Africanism is a reaction to ‘counteract the denial of full humanity for Africans and African-Americans (Kitson:1999, 91). Assumed that Pan-Africanism is linked to race, it has consequences for the whole African population. Race means that people who belong to the same race, have the same sort of characteristics, so this would mean that there is a continent called Africa with a homogenous group of people living on this continent. In addition, according to Crummell, people who lived outside the continent but share the same ‘race’ have the same sort of characteristics. Development of Pan-Africanism and solidarity during the centuries This section briefly discusses the developments of Pan-Africanism on the African continent and in the U.S during the last two centuries. The main reason for doing so is to elaborate on the process how Pan-Africanism changed from a more political movement to a more ideational movement nowadays.

Looking at the African continent, the colonial period is an interesting starting point. Europeans started living in small settlements in Africa. However over the years...
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