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What Is Pan-Africanism and How Has It Been Developed?

P an-Africanism was Initially an anti-slavery and anti-colonial movement amongst black people of Africa and the diaspora in the late 19th century. Its aims have evolved through the ensuing decades.

Pan-Africanism has covered calls for African unity (both as a continent and as a people), nationalism, independence, political and economic cooperation, and historical and cultural awareness (especially for Afrocentric versus Eurocentric interpretations).

Some claim that Pan-Africanism goes back to the writings of ex-slaves such as Olaudah Equiano and Ottobah Cugoano. Pan-Africanism here related to the ending of the slave trade, and the need to rebut the scientific claims of African inferiority.

For Pan-Africanists, such as Edward Wilmot Blyden, part of the call for African unity was to return the diaspora to Africa, whereas others, such as Frederick Douglass, called for rights in their adopted countries.

Blyden and James Africanus Beale Horton, working in Africa, are seen as the true fathers of Pan-Africanism, writing about the potential for African nationalism and self-government amidst growing European colonialism. They, in turn, inspired a new generation of Pan-Africanists at the turn of the twentieth century, including JE Casely Hayford, and Martin Robinson Delany (who coined the phrase Africa for Africans later picked up by Marcus Garvey).

Pan-Africanism gained legitimacy with the founding of the African Association in London in 1897, and the first Pan-African conference held, again in London, in 1900. Henry Sylvester Williams, the power behind the African Association, and his colleagues were interested in uniting the whole of the African diaspora and gaining political rights for those of African descent.

Others were more concerned with the struggle against colonialism and Imperial rule in Africa and the Caribbean. Dusé Mohamed Ali, for example, believed that change could only come through economic development. Marcus Garvey combined the two paths, calling for political and economic gains as well as a

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