great historian and departed ancestor, Dr. John Henrik Clarke
described in his classic book, Africans at the Crossroads: African World Revolution, that, “The idea of uniting all Africa had its
greatest development early in this [20th] centur
Clarke wrote that, “In 1900, the Trinidadian lawyer, H.
Sylvester Williams called together the first Pan African Conference
in London. This meeting attracted attention and put the word Pan
African in the dictionaries for the first time.”
to Dr. Clarke there were only thirty delegates to the conference that
came mainly from England, the Caribbean, and the United States. Dr.
W. E. B. DuBois led the small delegation from the United States. When
we use the term Pan Africanism we must be very clear. Pan Africanism
is the belief that people of African ancestry throughout the world
have the same racial and cultural characteristics and the same social
and economic conditions as a result of our African origin.
Pan African component of the Reparations Movement launched its first
international conference on Reparations in Lagos, Nigeria in December
of 1990. After that conference, the Organization of African Unity
(OAU) set up a Group of Eminent Persons (GEP), in June 1992. Its aim
was to work out the different ways in which to proceed, and secure
technical advisors, who would help solve some of the difficulties
associated with the claim for reparations.
second conference on Reparations was held in Abuja, Nigeria in 1993,
attended by representatives from throughout the Diaspora. That
conference issued a declaration, “The Abuja Proclamation,”
which called for a national reparations committee to be established
throughout Africa and the Diaspora. The African Reparations Movement
(UK) was formed in 1993, as a result of this proclamation.
is important that we understand that the idea of Reparations has
caught on with the masses of African people worldwide, in spite of
the opposition of the forces of white supremacy.
delegation from the United States, led by the late Dr. Jacob H.
Carruthers and the late Dr. Ron Walters, participated in Abuja’s
First Pan African Conference and reported back to the leaders of the
Reparations Movement, in this country, their observations and
analysis of the conference.
we think about Pan Africanism and continue our struggle, let us
reflect on the contributions of our ancestor, Malcolm X. We must
remember his role in helping to stimulate the Pan African Movement
that we stand on today as we fight for Reparations for African people
throughout the world.
Malcolm’s last visit to Africa before his untimely departure
from us, he visited the President of Ghana; Osagyefo Dr. Kwamé
Nkrumah. Malcolm gave this account of the meeting in his
autobiography. Malcolm said, “We discussed the unity of
Africans and people of African descent. We agreed that Pan Africanism
was the key also to the problems of those of African heritage…
My time with him was up all too soon. I promised faithfully that when
I returned to the United States, I would relay to Afro-Americans his
personal warm regards.”
is no doubt that the spirits of Malcolm and other great Pan African
leaders are helping to keep the idea of Reparations for African
Abuja Proclamation” should be the basis for our continued
organizing of the Reparations Movement throughout the world. These
ideas are still relevant to our organizing work in the Reparations
Movement today. The following are some of the key points presented in
“The Abuja Proclamation: on April 27-29, 1993:
“Recalling the Organization of
African Unity’s establishment of a Machinery the Group of
Eminent Persons for appraising the reparations in relation to the
damage done to Africa and its Diaspora by enslavement, colonization,
Convinced that the issue of
reparations is an important question requiring the united action of
Africa and its Diaspora and worth of the active support of the rest
of the international community.
Fully persuaded that the damage
sustained by the African peoples is not a thing of the past
but is painfully manifest in the damaged lives of contemporary
Africans from Harlem to Harare, in the damaged economies of the Black
World form Guinea to Guyana, from Somalia to Surinam.
Cognizant of the fact that
compensation for injustice need not necessarily be paid in capital
transfer but could include service to the victims or other forms of
restitution and readjustment of the relationship to both parties.
Convinced that the claim for
Reparations is well grounded in International Law.”
must always remember what Dr. Clarke taught us and that is, “powerful
people never teach powerless people how to take power away from
them!” Reparations for African people will never die!