During the late 19th century, many African Americans were striving for their freedom, equality and promoting the importance of political, social and economic self-reliance within their community.
There were many African American leaders who brought changes and impacted society in a positive way. William Edward Burghardt DuBois, born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1868, was a scholar, writer, teacher, activist and an intellectual leader who aimed for the social, economic and political rights for the African Americans. W. E. B. DuBois graduated from Fisk University and was known as the first African American to a doctoral degree from Harvard University. DuBois was the co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which promoted the importance of basic human rights and freedom along with the need for self-reliance and independence among African society.
He also associated himself with the theory of the talented tenth which showed that he was a reliable African American leader to handle the responsibility for the emerging African community (Azevedo 131). He inspired African Americans to speak up for their rights, equality, and freedom by promoting the idea of self-reliance and self-help. Born in Jamaica on August 17, 1887, Marcus Garvey was a political activist and another African American leader to bring changes among the African society. He was the founder of the Negro World newspaper that taught people about African culture and helped them to learn about the importance of strong economy and self-determination.
Gravey also organized Back to Africa movement which encouraged African Americans to be proud of who they are and return back to their homelands (134). His contribution was significant because helped the African community by motivating them to be proud of their race and defend their freedom and rights. African American female leader Ida B.
Wells born on July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, was a journalist and one of the founders of NAACP. Wells used her position as a journalist to speak about the lynching which was used as a cruel punishment for African Americans. “.
..Wells discovered that most of the black men, women, and children lynched were murdered for “incendiarism,” “race prejudice,” “quarreling with Whites,” and “making threats” “(Azevedo 132). This made Wells aware of the human and civil rights violation happening in the African American society.
She wanted to spread awareness about the injustice and cruel treatment African community was receiving such as lynching and the rape of African American women. Her contribution was significant because she raised her voice for the people who were not able to do so regarding the racial and gender issues within the African American community even though she was threatened by white people every time she spoke about these issues. Mary Eliza Church Terrell born on September 23, 1863, in Memphis, Tennessee, was an African American female activist for the civil rights, self-help women empowerment movement. Terrell was also the part of the National Black Women’s Club Movement that encouraged African women empowerment through self-reliance and independence. Terrell was also the president of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club that supported the anti-lynching movement and motivated women to raise their voice for their rights and equality (Azevedo 133). She also spoke up about the importance of rights, freedom, education, and equality among the African American community.
Her contribution was significant because she motivated people to speak up for their rights, be independent and women empowerment.There have been many discussions regarding the factors that led to the decline of slavery and the emancipation in the Caribbean. Some people believe that the plantation owners got the sense of humanity in themselves and decided to give them freedom in the late eighteenth century. While some people believe that the religious people thought God would not like the horrible treatment of the plantation owners towards the slaves which made them fight for the freedom of Africans in the Caribbean. In my opinion, all these beliefs are not true because the slave owners were getting benefits from the slaves due to free labors which shows that there is no reason for them to fight against that for the freedom of their slaves. Their own struggles and wants for the freedom and independence led Africans in the Caribbean to the decline of slavery and emancipation.
They fought by themselves for their own freedom and rights in different countries such as Haiti, Trinidad, and Jamaica by establishing their own societies and organizations that influenced other African communities (Azevedo 153). They wanted their basic human rights and equality which are not provided to them due to the white supremacist society and discrimination based on the race. The three African Nationalist leaders who played vital roles in the African independence movement are Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, and Jomo Kenyatta.
Nkrumah led Ghana to gain independence from British colonialism. Nyerere took the lead to move on towards the independence for Tanzania and Kenyatta gained the independence for Kenya. Nyerere was against imperialism and colonialism, Nkrumah supported Marxism whereas Kenyatta supported capitalism. Nkrumah former Convention People’s Party in 1949 and strived for self-government, Kenyatta organized Kenya African Union (KAU) which had the main target of gaining independence from the British (Azevedo 167). Nyerere formed Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) which also strived for the political independence (Azevedo 168). These were the important roles they played to gain independence from colonialism. They wanted to provide political, social and economic independence to every people of African descent.
The Pan-African Movement made a great impact in the African society with the help of different leaders. The 3 major figures in the Pan-African Movement are Marcus Garvey, W. E. B.
DuBois, and Kwame Nkrumah. “That Garveyism had a profound impact on the thinking and behavior of millions of African descendants struggling to be free during the 1920s and 1930s is unquestionable” (Azevedo 178). Garvey’s organization Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) influenced many Africans to be proud of their race and descendants and inspired them to fight for their rights and freedom (Azevedo 178). DuBois created Back to Africa movement which encouraged African Americans to be proud of who they are and return back to their homelands. The Garveyism and Back to Africa movement both influenced African Americans to be proud of their race and also made them aware of the colonialism. Nkrumah played a vital role in gaining independence from the British colonialism in Ghana. He also organized the Pan-African Congresses in 1919, 1921, 1923, and 1927, which was against the racial discriminations, colonialism. This organization was also created in order to improve the conditions of human rights for African Americans along with the opportunities they had in the white supremacist society.
These leaders wanted African societies to be aware of the importance of political independence. Cooperation between the people of African descent was one of their major targets through the Pan-African movement. All the efforts made by these leaders was to build a strong and independent nation with human and civil rights along with the no racial discrimination.