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Kofi Awoonor's works in English focus on life in Ghana following independence from Great Britain in 1957, but they also draw heavily from the traditional literature of the Ewe culture in which he grew up. He published his first work under the name George Awoonor-Williams but has used his birth name since the late 1960s.

Awoonor was born in the coastal town of Wheta. In 1960 he received a B.A. degree in English from the University of Ghana at Legon, near Accra. He then served as managing editor of the Ghana Film Corporation. In 1968 Awoonor went to the United States, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in comparative literature from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1972. He later taught there and at the University of Texas at Austin. Awoonor returned to Ghana in 1975 to teach in the English department ...


Marika Sherwood

in 1898. His father was a politically active barrister, Peter Awoonor-Renner, and his mother was a member of the Elmina royal family. Despite representing Gold Coast organizations protesting against various rulings by the British colonial government, Peter Awoonor-Renner was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1937 for public services to the Gold Coast. Being from a wealthy family, Bankole was sent to the United States to study at the historically Black Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1922. In 1924 he moved to study journalism at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is noted as becoming the first West African member of the British Institute of Journalists that year.

Besides contributing poems and articles to the African-American magazines Crisis and Opportunity Awoonor Renner was the joint editor of Carnegie s student magazine He also began his long life of political ...


David Killingray

Pan‐AfricanMarxist and scholar. Blackman was born in Barbados and won a scholarship to the University of Durham, where he studied theology. He was ordained in the Anglican Church and went to the Gambia as a missionary priest, where he clashed with his bishop over differences of pay for white and black clergy. Having resigned from the Church, Blackman returned to Barbados, but then, in 1938, he settled in London. He joined the leftist Negro Welfare Association, of which he became chairman, and also the League Against Imperialism, being a major speaker on both their platforms. He also became a member of the Executive Committee of the more liberally inclined League of Coloured Peoples, and in 1938–9 editor of its then occasional journal The Keys, writing critically on colonial policy; he also gave evidence to the Royal Commission on the West Indies. In November 1938 ...


Quito Swan

was born in Pembroke (Middletown), Bermuda, to Joel and Henrietta Browne on 28 November 1932. His major political activities included coordinating the First International Black Power Conference (Bermuda, 1969), and a key role in organizing the Congress of African Peoples (Atlanta, 1970) and Sixth Pan-African Congress (Tanzania, 1974). He was also intensely involved in Bermuda’s suffrage movement, the push for Bermuda’s decolonization through the United Nations, and the island’s black power movement, and served as a parliamentarian for Bermuda’s Progressive Labour Party (PLP). During that time, he changed his name to Pauulu Kamarakafego.

An engineer by trade he fused his political worldviews with his technical work across the Americas Africa Europe Asia and Australasia He obtained a Ph D in ecological engineering from the California Institute of Technology Pioneering the modern sustainable development movement he became an internationally renowned ecological engineer UNESCO consultant on rural development ...


Tracey M. Ober

Gratien Candace was born in Baillif, Guadeloupe, into a family of farmers and former slaves. He earned a degree in natural sciences from the University of Toulouse, in France, and entered the education profession teaching technique, journalism, and trade. He served as an agricultural envoy to Tunisia and Trinidad and in 1907 worked in the French government as deputy chief of cabinet for René Viviani, minister for labor in the cabinet of Georges Clemenceau. Candace later edited La Justice, a radical newspaper started by Clemenceau in 1880, and eventually founded the review Colonies et Marine with Henry Bérenger.

Candace was elected deputy for his West Indies island homeland in 1912. He continued to be reelected to the French Chamber of Deputies until World War II.

In the French parliament Candace initially aligned himself with the Socialist Republicans after that with the Radical Left ...


Barbara Bair

writer, educator, and feminist, was born Adelaide Smith on 27 June 1868 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Of mixed Hausa, Fanti, West Indian, and British heritage, she was born into the social world of the Creole professional elite, the daughter of court registrar William Smith and his second wife, Anne. Adelaide Smith moved with her family to England at the age of four (in 1872), and grew to adulthood in Britain. She was educated at the Jersey Ladies’ College, which her father had helped to found. The leaders of the school served as role models for the young Adelaide, who carried the message of female ability she learned at the college into her own adult life. The experience also influenced her lifelong dedication to education as a medium of social change for African women and girls.

Adelaide studied music in Germany for two years before her family s financial circumstances ...


David Killingray

Medical doctor and Pan‐Africanist.

Born in Barbados, Clarke won an island scholarship and came to London in 1914 to study medicine. He graduated from Cambridge in 1918 and qualified as a surgeon two years later. He set up a medical practice in Southwark, south‐east London, where he worked until 1965.

Clarke was a founder member of the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP) in 1931 and active in encouraging and also providing generous financial support for various Pan‐African causes. Clarke was non‐partisan and enjoyed good relations with the left and right Pan‐African factions in the 1930s–1940s, and this enabled him to act as a mediator in planning for the Conference on the African Peoples, Democracy, and World Peace held in London in July 1939 Many Caribbean and African visitors to Britain stayed at Clarke s home in Barnet which was also used for some LCP social functions for ...


John Henrik Clarke was a central figure in late-twentieth-century vernacular American black nationalism. As a teacher, writer, and popular public speaker, he emphasized black pride, the African heritage—especially communalism—and black solidarity. From the rural South he rode a freight train to the North, where he actively participated in the literary and political life of Harlem, New York in the 1930s. Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, the black bibliophile, was a major intellectual influence. Largely self-educated, Clarke became professor of Africana and Puerto Rican Studies at New York's Hunter College and president of Sankofa University, an on-line Internet school.

Born to sharecropping parents, Clarke grew up in Columbus, Georgia, and aspired to be a writer. He produced poetry, short stories (notably “The Boy Who Painted Christ Black”), and books on African history (The Lives of Great African Chiefs) and on Africans in the diaspora (Harlem U.S.A An original member ...


Rochell Isaac

educator, nationalist, Pan-Africanist, writer, historian, and poet. Born John Henry Clark to Willie Ella Mays and John Clark, a sharecropper, Clarke changed his name, legalizing Henry to Henrik and adding an “e” to Clark, thereby cementing his admiration of the Scandinavian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The Clark family moved from Union Springs, Alabama, to Columbus, Georgia, when Clarke was four years old. Clarke's mother, a laundrywoman, died of pellagra, a diet deficiency, when Clarke was still very young. With his mother's illness and subsequent death, the Clark family began to feel the effects of poverty.

Though he clearly demonstrated academic ability along with a strong desire to learn and excel Clarke s academic goals encountered much resistance As a teenager Clarke held a number of menial jobs he was a part time student and a part time farmer and worker As a result he ...


Christopher Hogarth

French-African poet associated with the Pan-Africanist Négritude literary movement, was born on 9 July 1927 in Bordeaux France His father was Senegalese and his mother Congolese Diop was thus strictly speaking a European of African parentage but his struggle to affirm his African identity in the face of colonial Europe is reflected in his life and poetry As a child Diop and his family traveled often between France and Africa and he attended some primary school years in Senegal Diop s father died when he was eight years old thus leaving his mother Marie Diop to raise his large family he was the third of five children Diop lived his earliest teenage years in German occupied France and suffered greatly from bouts of tuberculosis meaning that many of his childhood years were spent in hospitals It was in sanatoriums that Diop found his passion for literature and he started ...


Barbara Bair

pan-African activist, was born 18 January 1897 in Port Antonio, Jamaica. She was raised in Panama, where her father operated a print shop, but returned to Jamaica to attend the Baptist Westwood High School for Girls. Class conscious and politically involved, she also identified strongly with her Asante heritage. She met Marcus Garvey while participating in a debating society in Kingston, and she helped him found the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914.

In 1916 Garvey traveled to the United States, where he intended to raise funds to start a UNIA vocational school in Jamaica modeled on Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. Instead he began to build the grassroots Pan-African movement for which he would become famous, receiving mentorship from radical West Indian intellectuals, editors, and labor organizers in Harlem. Ashwood joined Garvey in New York in 1918 She served as UNIA secretary organized the ladies division ...


Cecily Jones

Co‐founder with Marcus Garvey (whose wife she was) of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and member of the London‐based Pan‐African movement. Ashwood was not only a political activist, but also a journalist, music producer, playwright, lecturer, and businesswoman. In 1914 she met Garvey at a debate in Kingston and helped to organize the inaugural meeting of the UNIA. The same year, aged just 17, she became UNIA's first secretary and a member of its management board, and co‐founded its Ladies' Auxiliary Wing. Ashwood married Garvey in New York in 1919, where the couple established the American headquarters of UNIA. Her role as Garvey's chief aide and general secretary helped to build UNIA into an international Pan‐African organization.

After the collapse of her marriage in 1922, Ashwood travelled worldwide, lecturing on black self‐determination, Pan‐Africanism and women s rights In England she found her intellectual home among the ...


Richard Pankhurst

Emperor of Ethiopia, 1930–74, and exile in Britain, 1936–40. Born in Harar province, eastern Ethiopia, in 1892, he was the son of Ras Makonnen, Emperor Menelik's governor of the region, and until his accession to the imperial throne was called Tafari Makonnen. Educated by French Catholic missionaries, and at Ethiopia's first modern school, the Menelik, he succeeded his father as Harar's governor in 1910.

Menelik's young grandson and successor Lij Iyasu adopted a pro‐Muslim attitude, and favoured the Germans and Turks in the First World War. This alienated the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the nobility, and the local representatives of the Allied Powers, Britain, France, and Italy. Iyasu was overthrown by a coup d'état in 1916, whereupon Menelik's daughter Zawditu was appointed Empress, while Tafari became heir to the throne and regent. He was responsible for foreign affairs, while Zawditu presided over court cermonial.

Tafari emerged ...


Robert Fay

Haile Selassie was born Lij Tafari Makonnen in Ejarsa Goro, Ethiopia. His father was Ras (Prince) Makonnen—the governor of Harer Province and a cousin, close friend, and adviser to Emperor Menelik II—and his mother was Yishimabet Ali. Young Tafari received a traditional religious education from Ethiopian Orthodox priests, who also taught him French.

Tafari proved his ability and responsibility in 1905 at the age of thirteen when his father appointed him governor of one of the regions of Harer Province. Upon his father's death the following year, Tafari was summoned to the court of Emperor Menelik, who appointed him the governor of a small province. Tafari set out to modernize the government by instituting a paid civil service, lowering taxes, and creating a court system that recognized the rights of peasants. Menelik rewarded Tafari's success by giving him a larger province to govern in 1908.

Upon Menelik s death ...


Christopher Clapham

emperor of Ethiopia, was born Tafari Makonnen; his father was Ras Makonnen, first cousin of Emperor Menilek II and governor of Harar in southeast Ethiopia. Educated by Jesuit missionaries and at secondary school in Addis Ababa, he was appointed governor of Harar at the age of 17. In September 1916 Menilek’s grandson and successor Yasu was ousted in a palace coup, and his daughter Zawditu installed as empress, with Tafari (whose role in the coup has remained obscure) as regent and heir to the throne with the title of ras, thus gaining the name by which he was to be known to the Rastarafians.

Over the next fourteen years, Tafari gradually built up his power through a capacity for skillful political maneuver that he never lost, steadily reducing the power of formerly quasi-independent regional governors. He was instrumental in securing Ethiopia’s admission to the League of Nations in 1923 ...


Allison Blakely

Hunt was born Ida Alexander Gibbs on November 16, 1862, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Her father, Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who had achieved great success as an entrepreneur in California and then in British Columbia. In the late 1860s, while he continued business ventures in Canada, he sent the family to live in Oberlin, Ohio, where Ida's mother, the former Maria Alexander, had attended college. Ida completed two degrees at Oberlin College, specializing in English. She received a B.A. degree in 1884 and an M.A. degree in 1892. A classmate and friend in Ida's class of 1884 was Mary Church Terrell, later known as a civil rights leader. Ida's younger sister, Harriet Gibbs Marshall, likewise later became well known as the founder of the Washington, D.C. Conservatory of Music After college Ida Gibbs taught ...


John H. McClendon

AfricanAmerican scholar, educator, Pan-Africanist, political journalist, labor organizer, and Marxist. William Alphaeus Hunton Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to William Alphaeus and Addie Hunton. His grandfather Stanton Hunton had been born a slave in Virginia and had migrated to Chatham, Ontario, in Canada in 1843 after successfully purchasing his freedom. From Chatham, Stanton Hunton closely worked with John Brown in the preparation of Brown's historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

Alphaeus Hunton's father, William Alphaeus Hunton Sr. (1863–1916), had a lifelong career working with the YMCA, serving as its first African American secretary. William Hunton moved from Ontario to Norfolk, Virginia, in 1888 and he married Addie Waite in 1893 A native of Norfolk Addie Waite Hunton had graduated from the City College of New York and later received a degree in linguistics from the Sorbonne After her marriage to ...


Amon Saba Sakaana

Adopted name of George T. N. Griffith, Pan‐Africanist born (c.1900–1983 in Buxton British Guiana now Guyana His background provides an insight into his later political development His paternal grandfather was reported to be been born in Tigre Ethiopia and taken by a Scottish miner to British Guiana In the village of Buxton many of the African descendants owned their own plot of land and the tradition of cooperative work existed which enabled families to plant and harvest together His maternal grandmother was one of the founders of a village possibly Buxton itself and wielded tremendous power in its social and cultural organization She shared a husband with two or three other women Makonnen commented that nobody cared much about this sort of thing and that their marriage had survived slavery intact His father was a gold and diamond miner It was perhaps from his father that ...


Cyprian B. Adupa

Tom Mboya was a nationalist politician and union organizer whose role was critical to the achievement of Kenyan independence in 1963. At the continental level, Mboya was a strong advocate of African unity, but his approach differed from that espoused by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, as Mboya favored regionalism as a first step toward the unity of the continent.

Born in August 1930 in Thika, where his father, Leonard Ndiege, worked as an overseer in a sisal plantation, Mboya started his formal education at the Catholic mission in Thika, where the lessons were mainly prayers and catechism. In 1942, Mboya was then transferred to St. Mary’s mission school at Yala in Central Nyanza, from where he sat for his Kenya African preliminary examinations in 1945 Mboya passed and joined the Holy Ghost College at Mangu in Central Province At the Holy Ghost College he became a student ...


David Goldsworthy

Kenyan political leader, was born Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya near Thika, north of Nairobi, on or about 15 August 1930. He was the eldest of the six children of Leonardus Ndiege, a sisal cutter from Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, and Ndiege’s wife Marsella Awuor. By ethnic identity Mboya was a Suba Luo. He was baptized a Catholic and was given the additional name of Joseph at his confirmation. Between the ages of 7 and 17, he attended Irish-run schools in widely dispersed parts of the country. In his book Freedom and After (1963), he maintained that his nontribal outlook in later life owed much to a childhood during which he lived among and learned the languages of several of Kenya’s major ethnic communities, notably Luo, Kikuyu, and Kamba.

From 1948 to 1950 Mboya attended the Jeanes School a vocational training college at Kabete near Nairobi There ...