This is the second
of a two part series discussing the origin and development of
African Liberation Day. The month of May is very important in the
worldwide African Liberation Movement. During this month, throughout
the African world Community, African Liberation Day (ALD) is
It is important that
African Liberation Day be a vehicle to continue to highlight the
problems, challenges and the future of African people everywhere. The
challenges facing Africa and African people worldwide require that we
remain dedicated to the cause of Africa's redemption and liberation.
One way we can continue to showcase that dedication is to actively
participate in all of the African Liberation Day activities
throughout the world.
The colonial period
in Africa, as well as the enslavement of African people who were
captured and brought to North America, had a devastating impact on
Africa and African people.
African people did
not sit idly by. Just as we resisted our slave circumstances in
America, African people resisted their colonial condition. Pan
African meetings were called to plot strategy to end colonial rule.
The Garvey Movement and the Universal Negro Improvement Association
(UNIA) galvanized African people worldwide to embrace the idea of
African independence under "One God, One Aim, and One Destiny."
The Garvey period in our history, more than any other era, laid the
foundation for what we now call African Liberation Day.
African people began
waging a battle to reclaim their lands. This has been a long and
bitter struggle. Resistance to white supremacy and colonial
domination took many shapes and forms.
The Pan African
meetings (1900-1945) provided a mechanism for a small group of
African leaders to plan and plot strategy for African freedom. The
Garvey Movement of the 1920s brought the idea of African freedom and
independence to the masses of our people around the world. “Africa
for the Africans - At Home and Abroad,” was a slogan that
captured the spirit of African people. This slogan gave a clear
understanding of who we are as a people and what we should be
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 to their fight against British colonialism. Shortly after this
successful defeat of the British, Sekou Touré led the people
of Guinea towards their independence from French colonialism. Right
on the heels of this victory was the victory of Patrice Lumumba and
the people of the Congo, who won the battle, for a brief moment,
movement sparked an onslaught of African people reclaiming their
territories and led to the formation of the Organization of African
Unity (OAU) in May 1963. (This is why we celebrate ALD in May.) It
was during this period that Malcolm X linked the struggle of African
people in this country with the struggle of African people worldwide.
It is interesting to
note that the Civil Rights Movement in this country was sparked in
Montgomery (1955) at approximately the same time the independence
movement in Africa began (1956-57). The call for Black Power (1966)
sparked a discussion in the Black Liberation Movement in America that
placed the re-identification with Africa and African people on the
Movement's agenda, once again. This renewed a new phase of the Pan
The call for support
of our brothers and sisters fighting against the Portuguese in
Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea Bissau led to the foundation of the
African Liberation Day held in the country on May 27, 1972 that
attracted over 60,000 African people. African Liberation Day has
become an institution in America since that time.
Day is a day when all Black people should come together. As I have
emphasized many times before, whether you were born in Ghana,
Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, South
Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Belize, Bahia, Germany, England, France, Alabama,
Georgia, or on 4ih Street in Chicago, as long as you are Black, you
are a11 African with a common heritage and a common set of
conditions. We must continue to fight against racism and white
supremacy as we demand reparations for African people in America and
Read Part 1