Blog Four: Pan-Africanism

Pan-Africanism refers to all extensions of Africans. Taking part of this movement was seen as taking pride in your nation. Pan-Africanism began the ongoing movements, bringing blacks closer together. This movement was a global response to much destruction in the world such as imperialism, inequality, disenfranchisement, and global and local laws. Through Pan-Africanism actions were made, voices were heard, and the people were seen. This was a global start with hopes for positive results for the colored, by any means. It was known that a change would soon come, but the people were done waiting. They were going to ensure for their selves, for their children, for their children’s children and so forth that the change would come. It was either now or never to make their move and through Pan-Africanism their goal of equality came.

Beginning in the late 1860’s, about 1865, hopes for growth and reconstruction began to become ideal. The main targets for reconstruction started with the African Americans. This was to help protect the newly freed slaves, starting with their reparations of 40 acres and a mule, a promise that still has not been met to most African Americans. The idea of racial parody in 1877 was another sought after goal, but was added as another aim not achieved. Things seemed unclear and disrupt. It came to mind that there would not come a time of racial equality and once after the Jim Crow Laws were created those dreams of equivalence continued to parish. The Jim Crow Laws, known as Black Codes in the South, were created to limit blacks. One of the main limitations kept blacks working in the field. The whites saw that colored were more fit to work in agriculture because they knew it like the back side of their hands. These African Americans were free, but were still unknowingly in slavery. They hadn’t gotten any closer to freedom.

Commotion began to expand as the case of Plessey vs. Ferguson commenced in 1896. It proclaimed separate, but equal meaning that the whites and colors would not mix, each race would have their own necessities. This meant different schools, different divisions, different bathrooms, different restaurants, even different drinking fountains. Yet, with many different things, everything would still be seen as equal, but that was not the case. The whites saw equality, but to the African Americans that was seen as a 50% down grade. In 1954, the Supreme Court challenged the separate, but equal act. Though Plessey did not prove victorious in the case, the incident began a chain reaction of effects that went against segregation.

It was thought that the best way to achieve racial equality was through two schools of thought, accommodationist and separatist. Both followed under Pan-Africanism, but approached the cause of equal rights in different manners. Accommodationist went down a steadier path. They thought to take a “safer road” in continuing a façade in accommodating to what the whites think the blacks should be. The accommodationist settled for the current situation and waited for change in the US to come when appropriate. One well known accommodationist is Booker T. Washington. Washington stood as a leader to many with his ideas of conforming to what one knew they were able to do. He encouraged others to stick to what they know and not do attempt certain actions because of the consequences that could occur. Washington asserted that if the people did not force equality then it would come, but on its own pace.   In 1985, Washington presented a memorable speech called “The Atlanta Compromise” in Atlanta, Georgia. One of his most famous and remembered states from that speech was “cast down your buckets.” The saying went out to both blacks and whites.

Though accommodationist seemed more accepted with the theory of peace not war, the second school of thought came forth with a different approach. There was no waiting for racial equality when it came to the Separatist. The time for equality was now and they sought for it expeditiously. They seemed to not care as much on segregation, long as they were treated the same meaning they could have separate schools and communities, but they wanted to be seen as equals. The only way to do so was to be rid of the government over the colored, no long did they wish to answer to them. They sought to be independent with a black sponsored society. One of the most noted men apart of the Separatist was W.E.B DuBois, a graduate from Harvard with a Ph.D. Born as a free man in the North, DuBois pursued the idea of equality, head first. In 1909, DuBois help founded one of the nation’s thriving organizations, the NAACP. The NAACP came into confrontation with many apposing people, but stood strong and help build upon the nation awareness and legal challenges by blacks. As the early 1900’s continued, DuBois added his self to the Separatist school. DuBois never stayed faithful to one thought. He transition from Separatist, to Accommodationist, to a new thought of Intergrationalism in 1930 and back to Separatist. During his Intergrationalism period, DuBois fought heavy against the courts in attempt to chip away at segregation. DuBois seemed to be at the height of accomplishment until he started to bump heads with a man Named Marcus Garvey.

Born in Jamaica, Garvey started out as a labor organizer in Jamaica and Costa-Rica. He was inspired by Booker T. Washington. He had dreams of building a black nation, black owned and black governed. Garvey shortly made his way to the US and started an organization of his own called UNIA, Universal Negro Improvement Association. The UNIA stood for Black Nationalism proclaiming there should be a separate territory for Negro people. The people were the goal and Pan-Africanism stood as their unity for all blacks, Negros, and Africans. The motto of the UNIA was “One God, One Aim, One Destiny.” They served God, their aim was to gain basically a separate life for the colored and they believed that they were destined for greatness. The UNIA proved to be bigger that the Civil Rights Movement consisting of millions of members. Though the UNIA Garvey established seemed of great promise, it held many flaws. The UNIA was strictly against the blending of races. They did not condone the marrying of rich blacks marrying poor whites in fear of one being used for their wealth. They were against any rich or poor whites taking advantage of Negro women. Garvey was at the height of achievement, but his past was soon to catch up with him. It was claimed that Garvey had a number of fraud charges against him. Once the legal system got ahold of him, he was imprisoned then deported from the US in 1927.Once Garvey was out of the way, the government began to oppress the UNIA and soon it began to crumble on top of its newly built empire.

Pan-Africanism brought together the blacks, Negros and Africans giving them a greater love of their heritage, history and nation. This continued as an ongoing movement with extraordinary influences from Washington, DuBois and Garvey. This movement was a global response to much destruction in the world and started a chain reaction of fights for equality. Through Pan-Africanism there were many downfalls and many risings where the people’s voices became heard and the world was able to see the power of unity. It was known that a change would soon come, but the people were done waiting. They were going to ensure for their selves, for their children, for their children’s children and so forth that the change would come. It was either now or never to make their move and through Pan-Africanism their goal of equality came.




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