This is the first of
a two-part article on the origin and development of African
Liberation Day (ALD). The celebration of African Liberation Day (ALD)
in the United States began in May 1972 in Washington, D.C. More than
60,000 people participated in this historic event.
In 1973, ALD was
decentralized and Chicago sponsored its first ALD celebration in May
of that year. Since that time, we have celebrated ALD in various
ways, with parades, rallies, and cultural programs.
From the 1980s
through 1997, NBUF Chicago Chapter sponsored African Liberation Day
on the Westside, where we marched down Madison Street and culminated
with a rally and cultural program in Garfield Park. These ALD events
were very successful and we were very honored to sponsor them. Other
groups are now sponsoring African Liberation Day celebrations and
activities throughout the United States.
Day has become an institution throughout the African world. It is a
day when all people of African ancestry should come together. Whether
you were born in Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Ethiopia, South
Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Jamaica, Mississippi, Alabama,
Georgia, Belize, Bahia, Canada, Cuba, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Paris,
or Chicago, as long as you are Black, you are an African, with a
common heritage, and a common set of conditions.
As we prepare to
participate in the upcoming weekend of events and activities, we must
always remember the origin and development of African Liberation Day.
Our ancestor, Kwame Ture, explained, “ALD was founded by Kwame
Nkrumah on the occasion of the First Conference of Independent States
held in Accra, Ghana and attended by eight independent states. The
15th of April was declared African Freedom Day to mark each year the
onward process of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the
determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign
domination and exploitation.”
Further, the AAPRP
(All-African People ' s Revolutionary Party) points out that, “On
the 25th of May 1963, 31 African heads of state convened a summit
meeting to found the Organization of African Unity. They proclaimed
May 25th as ALD and called for mass demonstrations and manifestations
in every comer of Africa and the African Diaspora.”
The idea of ALD has
its origins in the long history of African people to break free of
the yoke of European domination and white supremacy. This is a time
in which we emphasize our oneness as a people with a common past,
common set of problems, and a common future.
The capturing of
millions of African people, who were placed in slavery and introduced
into the western hemisphere as property and commodities, is the
backdrop upon which we commemorate African Liberation Day.
It was the slave
trade industry of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth-centuries
involving Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and Germany that
served as the foundation for these western powers and provided them
the margin of profit in getting the greatest return off of their
investment. The western world still seeks to keep Africa and African
people worldwide in bondage, so they can continue to maximize the
greatest return off of their initial investment.
slavery was abolished in England and the United States, the slave
trade industry began to wind down. The former slave-trading nations
found themselves no longer needing slaves, but yet stumbled upon the
other natural resources of Africa. They began to fight each other
over the gold, diamonds, and other mineral and plant resources they
This resulted in the
calling of the Berlin Conference in 1884, where the European powers
united to divide the continent of Africa among themselves. It has
been discussed, historically, that those who control Africa, control
the world. Therefore, the Berlin Conference was a crowning blow in
African history. The results of this conference led to the carving up
of Africa so that France, Britain, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and
Germany controlled separate territories throughout the continent.
This became known as the colonial period in African history. The
colonial period in Africa, just as the enslavement of African people
captured and brought to North America, had a devastating impact on
Africa and African people. It was not until the early 1950s that the
first African country gained political independence in the movement
to reclaim Africa. That country was Ghana under the leadership of
Kwame Nkrumah who led the Ghanaian people in their fight against
I will continue the
discussion of the origin and development of African Liberation Day in
my next column. Many groups around the country and the world where
African people reside will be hosting ALD Celebrations this year.
Don't forget to support African Liberation Day activities in your
area of the world.
Read Part 2