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was born to free black parents in Santiago de Cuba, in the province of Oriente. Quintín Bandera, as he was commonly known, enlisted as a private in the Cuban Rebel Army, in 1868, just as the anticolonial movement against Spain erupted into a full-scale insurgency, known as the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878). He eventually rose to the rank of general. In 1897, during the Cuban War of Independence (1895–1898), the general was court-martialed and stripped of his rank, an ominous precursor of the shortcomings of Cuba’s colorblind nationalist discourse. So frustrated were Bandera and other blacks with the island’s post-revolutionary political course that he led a group of veteran officers and soldiers in an uprising against then president Tomás Estrada Palma in what was known as the 1906 Constitutional Revolution Shortly after this Bandera was brutally killed by rural guardsmen Today Bandera is ...

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Alonford James Robinson

Paul Bogle is a beloved figure in Jamaica. Although his legal status at the time of his birth is unclear, most scholars believe that he was born free in Stony Gut, Jamaica, in 1822. He operated a small independent farm there and became a lay preacher in the Native Baptist Church. His affiliation with this antislavery branch of the Baptist Church brought him into contact with British and Jamaican abolitionists, including activist George Gordon. Methodist and Baptist leaders, as well as leaders of other religious denominations, were active participants in the antislavery struggle. As a result, members of local black congregations like Bogle's were often exposed to antislavery debates, pamphlets, and sermons.

When slavery was abolished in 1834 blacks in Jamaica were promised freedom at the end of what turned out to be a four year period known as apprenticeship The apprenticeship policy forced slaves ...

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Daniel Acosta Elkan

activist for Cuban independence, resided primarily in New York from the latter part of the nineteenth century and remained politically active through the early twentieth century. The basic biographical details of Bonilla’s life (including more notable life events) remain elusive, but it is known that he was a cigar maker by trade, a common profession among this cohort of Cuban independence activists in the United States. Bonilla is among the most interesting of the Cuban pro-independence activists, a pantheon that includes more radical black figures such as Rafael Serra (y Montalvo), who espoused racial democracy in an independent Cuba and advocated specifically for the empowerment and right of people of color to mobilize. Bonilla was also a contemporary, and indeed a devotee, of José Martí, who, rather than focusing on black consciousness, espoused a generally “raceless” post-independent Cuban nation.

Despite these shades of philosophical difference Martí was a collaborator with ...

Article

Robert Rotberg

colonial Malawi’s first leader of an anticolonial rebel movement, was born in the late 1860s or early 1870s to a Yao father and a Cewa (or possibly Mang’anja) mother. His rising in 1915 was more symbolic than effective, but it frightened whites and British colonial rulers in a manner that was equaled only much later by the Mau Mau movement in Kenya.

A few years after his birth, the family moved from Sanganu, in the Chiradzulu district of southern Malawi, to Blantyre, the only city in what was then the emerging British Protectorate of Nyasaland. Scottish Presbyterian missionaries had arrived in the vicinity of Blantyre in 1876 white farmers had followed and colonial rule quickly became implanted By moving to Blantyre for employment or other reasons Chilembwe was able to become an early student of the Blantyre Mission of the Church of Scotland He was able as ...

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Tim Stapleton

John Chilembwe (c. 1871–1915) was a member of the early Westernized Christian elite in the British colony of Nyasaland (now Malawi). In the early 1890s, during the period of colonial conquest, Chilembwe received his initial education from Scottish Presbyterian missionaries, who were predominant in that area. However, within a few years he became a member of the Baptist Church under the mentorship of the nonconformist British missionary Joseph Booth. Much to the alarm of the colonial authorities, Booth preached against the colonial system and its inherent racial discrimination, and was later expelled from Nyasaland, in 1905.

In 1897 Chilembwe traveled to the United States with Booth and attended a small African American theological college in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was here that he became fascinated with the history of John Brown, a radical white American abolitionist who had been executed in 1859 for attempting to start a ...

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Ari Nave

Nkologo (John) Chilembwe was born in Sangano, Chiradzulu district, in what is now Malawi. He received primary schooling at a Presbyterian mission school in Blantyre, then in 1892 went to work as a house servant for the British Baptist missionary Joseph Booth, an advocate for African self-rule. In 1897 Chilembwe traveled with Booth to the United States and attended the Virginia Theological College, a black Baptist seminary, where he became familiar with aspects of the African American experience, such as segregation and racism, and was influenced by such writers as W. E. B. Du Bois.

In 1900 Chilembwe returned to his homeland By then an ordained Baptist minister he purchased some forty hectares ninety nine acres of land with the help of African American backers and built the Providence Industrial Mission PIM with the goal of educating and encouraging self confidence among his people A number of African ...

Article

Philippe Girard

was a rebel chief and Vodou priest of African origin who played a leading role in the western province of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) during the Haitian Revolution.

Two distinct groups can be identified within the rebel leadership of the Haitian Revolution. The first, often composed of people who were Caribbean-born and had been elite slaves of free people of color prior to the revolution, fought French planters but did not oppose the plantation system itself; Toussaint Louverture was a typical example. The second, often composed of African-born slaves, was less European-leaning in its cultural outlook and more fundamentally opposed to plantation agriculture. Elite mixed-race historians in post-independence Haiti tended to minimize the achievements of the latter faction (including Derance), resulting in a de facto silencing of the Haitian Revolution’s more radical actors.

According to one contemporary Derance began his life as a black servant on the Derance plantation He first surfaced ...

Article

Graham Russell Hodges

Born to petit bourgeois parents in Vého, Lorraine, in rural France, Henri-Baptiste Grégoire was educated at a Jesuit college. He then became a teacher and was consequently ordained as a priest in Lorraine at the age of twenty-five. Frustrated by hierarchical barriers to advancement, he turned to writing.

Grégoire's first essays, published in the late 1770s, advocated tolerance of Jews, a position that placed Grégoire in opposition to the wave of anti-Semitism in France. In 1785 he won awards for a book reflecting his passion for Jewish rights Grégoire contended that temporal salvation by which he meant absorption into the Roman Catholic Church was individual rather than racial or national He defined his duty as working for the creation of conditions under which Jews could convert to Catholicism and be eligible for salvation To avoid social corruption he believed Jews were to be encouraged to migrate to the countryside ...

Article

Kahina  

Allen J. Fromherz

semi legendary queen of the Aures Mountain Berbers who resisted the Arab Muslim conquest of North Africa Her name the Kahina meaning the sorceress in Arabic was ascribed to her by Arab chronicles Indeed the main sources describing the Arab conquest of the Berbers are all in Arabic and are written from the perspective of the conqueror Legends ascribed to Kahina therefore must be seen as part of a conquest narrative even as they often portray her as a noble adversary of the spread of Islam Nevertheless it is almost certain that Kahina represented a historic person a woman or perhaps even a group of different queens or chieftesses who resisted the Arab conquest in the late seventh century Her memory is preserved and celebrated even by the most strident Berber converts to Islam In recent years she has become a powerful symbol of Berber nationalism both within and beyond ...

Article

Kahina  

Marian Aguiar

In the seventh century, the Arabs arrived in the land they called Ifriqiya, in present-day Tunisia, bringing Islam and seeking gold. The Jarawa Berbers in the Aurès Mountains became the main force halting their progress through North Africa. This group was known for their military prowess, and although they offered nominal allegiance to the Byzantine Empire, they in fact ruled their own land. Their chief was the Kahina, a woman who, some said, was more than a hundred years old and had two sons of two fathers, one Greek and one Berber She might have been a Christian or a Jew and some historians have attributed her resistance to religious fervor Or she might have simply been a strong ruler who would rather burn down her own kingdom than let it fall into the hands of an outside force There is little historical documentation of the Kahina s ...

Article

Ryan Ronnenberg

Tanzanian spirit medium, mganga (traditional doctor), political and military leader, and revolutionary, was likely born in the latter half of the nineteenth century. He was a central figure in the 1905 Maji Maji uprising against German colonial forces in southeastern Tanganyika. Most famously, Kinyikitile was responsible for the introduction of maji, or “water,” war medicine, which rendered the blessed impervious to bullets. The Maji Maji conflict itself, owing in no small part to its inclusion of different ethnic and linguistic groups at a very early date, has been the subject of intense interest by nationalist historians, and an appreciation of Kinjikitile’s significance to Tanzania must discern the extent to which he fits the role of proto-nationalist hero.

Kinjikitile may have found fertile ground for his teachings among turn of the century southern Tanganyikan peoples who generally concurred with his assertions of a kind of spiritual hierarchy including a creator ...

Article

Born in Menkwaneng the son of a Sotho leader Moshoeshoe began to gather together refugees from the upheaval in southeastern Africa known as the Mfecane in the early 1820s Retiring to an impregnable mountaintop known as Thaba Bosiu Sotho for Mountain of the Night he fought off several attacks but more often used his formidable diplomatic skills to defend his growing number of Basotho people In the early 1830s French missionaries arrived in the region While continuing to support the traditional customs and religion of the Sotho Moshoeshoe welcomed the missionaries and sought their advice in dealing with the British and the Afrikaner groups or Boers who were seeking to colonize southern Africa Fearing Afrikaner settlement on his lands he asked for British protection but an alliance with the government of the Cape Colony was not enough to prevent armed incursions by settlers into Basotho territory Fighting between the Basotho ...

Article

Chris Saunders

founder of the Basuto nation Relatively little is known of his early life though he probably acquired his name meaning the shaver from his success in capturing the cattle of his enemies Born near the upper Caledon River in what is now Lesotho Moshoeshhoe s success as a junior chief attracted to him refugees and victims of wars during the turbulent decades of the early nineteenth century and he gradually built up a sizeable following He established himself first at Buthe Buthe then at Thaba Bosiu mountain of darkness a mountaintop citadel that his enemies found impossible to capture When attacked by the Zulu he agreed to pay tribute to Shaka in return for being left alone From Thaba Bosiu he skillfully played off the British and Boers in the lands along the Caledon River from the 1830s and won the allegiance of Sotho speakers living as far west as ...

Article

Nanny  

Nanny was said to have used supernatural powers in battles against the British. She was killed by a slave named Cuffe in 1733.

See also Jamaica; Maroonage in the Americas; Nanny Town.

Article

Orombo  

J. C. Winter

Mangi (king) of Keny in the southern Rombo region of Kilimanjaro (in present-day Tanzania) from c. 1800 to 1837, also known as Horombo and Rombo, was famous for having initiated a socio-military revolution and religious reformation in Chagga that brought it in line with the western world at the time, thereby ending Mamba’s rule over eastern Chagga. He unified by conquest all of eastern Chagga under his rule, then met with Mangi Rengua of Machame at the Nanga River between Mochi (Old Moshi) and Kiruwa in 1823, and they agreed that each should rule unmolested over his own half of Chagga.

When Orombo became the Mangi of Keny his realm was tiny and insignificant as for the past one hundred years Mamba succeeding Ugweno had dominated eastern Chagga Each mangidom consisted of localized patrilineal clans having noble warrior and cattle keeping lineages whose male and female youths passed ...