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Jan. 24th, 2017


In 19th century, Pan-Africanist thinkers/advocates were originated from American slaves and those who were freed by the Emancipation. The first Pan-Africanist Conference was held in London in year 1900 by Edward Wilmot Blyden.

Sylvester-Williams was interested to see all those originated from the continent of Africa to identify themselves as Africans, therefore being able to unify against oppression and form stronger forces in expressing demands to governments of the world.

"Pan-Africanism is a worldwide intellectual movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all people of African descent. Based upon a common fate going back to the Atlantic slave trade, the movement extends beyond continental Africans, with a substantial support base amongst the African diaspora in the Caribbean and the United States. 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 fate 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'."

A core ideal of this way of thinking was that "Blacks in the Americas, and those in Africa shared the common history of oppression". A category was therefore formed with experience. Most Africans might not have thought that themselves were Africans, but would rather identify themselves as people of certain tribes, kinships, and nations.

Another important component of Pan-Africanism is the belief of a shared destiny, in which they believed that political leaders of African descent would lead, or at least push for the eventual liberation and independence of all black people.

Pan-Africanists called for eradication of national borders in Africa, and instead create a meta-state - where "Africa" stands alone as a single nation - but the idea was soon dropped. The reason we have already discussed from the last lecture, in the fact that Africa holds great ethnicity and cultural diversities. While the colonial partition seemed "ridiculous" to these politicians, to a certain degree, this sort of partitioning recognized the diversified reality of African people and societies.

Pan-Africanism was the introduction to peoples originated from the continent, the ownership of a larger identity - "African".

Carl Linnaeus and his "Four Races"

"In the first edition of Systema Naturae, Linnaeus subdivided the human species into four varieties based on continent and skin colour: 'Europæus albus' (white European), 'Americanus rubescens' (red American), 'Asiaticus fuscus' (brown Asian) and 'Africanus Niger' (black African). In the tenth edition of Systema Naturae he further detailed stereotypical characteristics for each variety, based on the concept of the four temperaments from classical antiquity, and changed the description of Asians' skin tone to "luridus" (yellow). Additionally, Linnaeus created a wastebasket taxon 'monstrosus' for 'wild and monstrous humans, unknown groups, and more or less abnormal people'."

Carl Linnaeus: Four Races

Further classification were made in the late 18th century, even inside the "White European" category - Italians, Irish, etc. - seen barely "superior" to "Black Africans". The case of Jewish population was then used in eugenics for a regime that we all know well of the holocaust...