With a concept as vast as Pan-Africanism, it can be difficult to know where to start. At the African History Project, our approach is to shift from Pan-Africanism as a political and economic program, to extracting the practical and philosophical values of Pan-Africanism to be used in everyday life, no matter if one is on the continent or in the diaspora.
One example of this distillation is the concept of Pan-African education, or the practice of engaging with African philosophies and history within traditional and non-traditional educational institutions.
Despite this shift, our approach in Pan-Africanism is still deeply grounded in its political history. Understanding the historical impact of the call for a politically unified Africa, repatriation, and Black networks across the diaspora that would unify under the continent is imperative to distilling Pan-Africanism to those pedagogical and philosophical values to be applied to our everyday lives. Here are 5 resources that can ground your historical understanding of the Pan-African movement as you explore the value of a global Pan-Africanism with us at the African History Project.
by Hakim Adi
This seminal book is a comprehensive survey of the Pan-African movement, spanning the examination of influential figures to broader movements. Structured in a mostly chronological order, Adi guides you through the first theories of Pan-Africanism in the diaspora, into the highly organized Pan-African networks like the Organization of African Unity on the continent. The book also touches on the theoretical origins of Pan-Africanism predating the 20th century, grounding the reader in the complex concepts that afforded Pan-Africanism it’s energetic political history.
Related Conversation: Hakim Adi and Apeike Umolu discuss Pan-African development
edited by Adekeye Adebajo
This text is a collection of essays that examine the most influential figures of the Pan-African movement. These essays are both historical explorations of these figures and constructive critiques on their approaches to Pan-African activism. This text both informs the reader of the biographies and streams of thought that moved Pan-Africanism, while also pushing the reader to critically think about the arguments and concepts put forth by leaders in the Pan-African pantheon.
Directed by Shirikiana Gerima
This documentary focuses on Ghana’s role in the Pan-African movement as the first liberated nation in Africa (1957). Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president as an independent nation is regarded as the key figure who led the call for transcending ethnic and national boundaries in favor of a political Pan-African identity and unified Africa. This documentary is a visual resource that illustrates the energetic political movement of Pan-Africanism as it migrated from the diaspora to be fortified on the continent.
- Turning Points in Pan-Africanism – Marcus Garvey
- Turning Points in Pan-Africanism – The Nardal Sisters
- Turning Points in Pan-Africanism – CLR James
The Pan African Movement, 1900-1945: A Study in Leadership Conflicts Among the Disciples of Pan Africanism
by Alexandre Mboukou
This journal article covers the early years of Pan-Africanism as the theoretical foundations were cemented in the diaspora. Examining events from as early as the 19th century, Mboukou discusses the initial calls for repatriation and exploration of a unified Black identity that would later evolve into Pan-Africanism. Though Pan-Africanism suggests a level of unification, the movement was not without conflict. Thus, this text pushes the reader to think critically about the differing streams of thought within Pan-Africanism as Mboukou guides the reader through some of the disagreements leading figures had in organizing the future of Pan-Africanism.
by Kai Mora
This paper discusses how instrumental C.L.R. James was in transforming Pan-Africanism from a localized practice in the diaspora to a social, political and economic movement on the continent. Through examining a selection of his texts including The Black Jacobins, we explore how his prioritizing of political cooperation on a global scale instead of promoting racial insularity in Black liberation movements added another layer to the theory of Pan-Africanism. Through understanding James’ Trotskyist ideologies and the historical context which he was steeped in, we can trace his impact on Pan-Africanism as it transitioned from theories of Black identity in the diaspora to definitive political action on the continent.
Interested in learning more about Pan-Africanism? Study with us here at the AHP.