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Pan-Africanism is an anti-colonial movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diaspora ethnic groups of African descent. Pan-Africanism can be as broad as mere cooperation among Africans and as specific as the unification of Africa under a union government.

In May 2013, the African Union (AU) held its 20th summit, for which is defined Pan-Africanism in that issue of the Echo as follows[1]:

"As defined Pan-Africanism is an ideology and movement that encouraged the solidarity of Africans worldwide. It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social and political progress and aims to ‘unify and uplift’ people of African descent. The ideology asserts that the fates of all African peoples and countries are intertwined. At its core, Pan-Africanism is ‘a belief that African peoples both on the continent and in the diaspora, share not merely a common history, but a common destiny."

Most writers agree that the phenomenon emerged in the modern period (albeit some contend it has ancient roots and is only given a formulated concrete expression with the rise enslavement and colonialism)[2] and is concerned with the social, economic, cultural and political emancipation of African peoples on the African continent and in the African diaspora.[1]

Central to the development of Pan-African thinking and action was the creation of the modern African diaspora, resulting from the trafficking of enslaved Africans. Pan-Africanism as a developing line of thought can be said to have its origins in the struggles of the African people against enslavement and colonization via slave rebellions etc. and the "Back to Africa" movements of the 19th century.[3] This idea was given concrete early expression by early abolitionists, but especially by figures such as Martin Robinson Delany, James Africanus Horton and Edward Wilmot Blyden[4] etc, and in the development of Ethiopianism. "Ethiopia" via its reference to a bible verse came to be used as a synonym for Africa or black people, first used in print by Prince Hall in 1797, out of which later (starting 1829 via Robert Alexander Young) the ideological current/movement of Ethiopianism developed.[4]

Pan-Africanism as an international movement emerged at the latest with the organisation of the Pan-African Conference in 1900 in London (organised by Henry Sylvester Williams)[5], and the first First Pan-African Congress by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1919.[6] W.E.B Du Bois already says in 1897:

"If the Negro were to be a factor in the world's history it would be through a Pan-Negro movement."[7]

The Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) was established in 1963 to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its Member States and to promote global relations within the framework of the United Nations. The African Union Commission has its seat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the Pan-African Parliament has its seat in Johannesburg and Midrand, South Africa.[8]

History[edit | edit source]

Early History of Panafricanism (until 1900)[edit | edit source]

Pan-Africanism and Garveyism[edit | edit source]

Pan-African Congresses and Du Bois[edit | edit source]

Pan-Africanism and Communism[edit | edit source]

Precursors to Negritude and Negritude[edit | edit source]

From the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia to the Manchester Congress (1935-1945)[edit | edit source]

Pan-Africanism between World War II and Decolonization[edit | edit source]

Founding of the Organisation of African Unity[edit | edit source]

Black Power[edit | edit source]

The Formation of the African Union[edit | edit source]

Pan-african thought[edit | edit source]

Cultural History of Pan-Africanism[edit | edit source]

The Structure and Function of the African Union[edit | edit source]

Important Thinkers and (Revolutionary) Leaders[edit | edit source]

Some important thinkers and leaders situated broadly within the Pan-african tradition are listed here as follows[9]:

Contemporary Pan-Africanism and Pan-African Organizations[edit | edit source]

Former Pan-Africanist Organisations[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Hakim Adi (2018). Pan-Africanism: A History (pp. 1-3). London: Bloomsbury Academic. [LG]
  2. John Henrik Clarke (1988). Pan-Africanism : A Brief History of An Idea In the African World. Présence Africaine, Nouvelle série, No. 145, 22-56. doi: 10.2307/24351577  [HUB]
  3. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1996). Pan Africanism: Politics, Economy and Social Change in the Twenty-first Century: 'Introduction: Reclaiming Africa for Africans- Pan Africanism: 1900-1994' (pp. 1-25). London: Pluto Press.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hakim Adi (2018). Pan-Africanism: A History: 'The forerunners' (pp. 12-16). London: Bloomsbury Academic. [LG]
  5. J. R. Hooker (1974). The Pan-African Conference 1900 (p. 20). Transition No. 46, 20-24. doi: 10.2307/2934952 [HUB]
  6. Clarence G. Contee (1972). Du Bois, the NAACP, and the Pan-African Congress of 1919 (p. 13). The Journal of Negro History, Vol.57, No.1, 13-28. doi: 10.2307/2717070 [HUB]
  7. Colin Legum (1965). Pan-Africanism: A Short Political Guide: 'Chapter II: Growth in the Diaspora, 1900-1958' (p. 24). Revised Edition. [PDF] New York: Frederick A. Prager, Publiishers.
  8. Peter Kuyla (2023-07-11). "Pan-Africanism" Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2023-08-10.
  9. Hakim Adi & Maika Sherwood (2003). Pan-African History: Poltical figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787. London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group). [LG]