Citation

The Black Star Rises: Ghana and Black Radicalism in the US, 1957-1968

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Abstract:

The emergence of Ghana as the first independent African republic and the inauguration of the Post-Colonial Era was a time of tumultuous historical change throughout the Africana world. At the very same historical moment that Kwame Nkrumah became Ghana’s “Osagyefo”, figures like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Williams were rising to prominence in the US and the various strands of the black liberation struggle—which later become known as “Civil Rights,” “Black Power,” and “Human Rights”—gained a renewed visibility in the world arena. The political reverberations of Ghana’s move towards independence were mirrored, in previous eras, by the presence of the Haitian Republic in the 18th century and Ethiopia in the early 20th century—two stalwarts against the various incarnations of European/white supremacy. In the black imaginary, these Diasporic spaces inspired liberation movements, continued activism against white supremacy and European imperial domination, and distinct yearnings for Pan-African political collaboration.

In light of this context, this paper will analyze the various impacts Ghana’s independence had on the political activism and consciousness of African-American activists in the period between 1957 to 1968. While focusing on figures like W.E.B. DuBois, Robert F. Williams, Kwame Ture, and Fanny Lou Hamer among others, this research will illuminate the specific ways that Ghana influenced and positively shaped modes of black radicalism in the US. It will also seek to complicate the analysis recently offered by Kevin Gaines by showing the bilateral relationships forged during this era. Indeed, similar to Haiti in the 18th and 19th centuries, Ghana not only stimulated a revolutionary impulse throughout the Diaspora, but its place in the black imaginary led many to visit or repatriate to the republic. In this regard, this presentation will become part of a larger effort to situate particular Diasporic spaces (e.g., Egypt, Haiti, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Jamaica) within the context of Africana conceptualizations of freedom and historical agency.
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Association:
Name: 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies
URL:
http://www.ncbsonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p302502_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Rucker, Walter. "The Black Star Rises: Ghana and Black Radicalism in the US, 1957-1968" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA, Mar 19, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p302502_index.html>

APA Citation:

Rucker, W. C. , 2009-03-19 "The Black Star Rises: Ghana and Black Radicalism in the US, 1957-1968" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p302502_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The emergence of Ghana as the first independent African republic and the inauguration of the Post-Colonial Era was a time of tumultuous historical change throughout the Africana world. At the very same historical moment that Kwame Nkrumah became Ghana’s “Osagyefo”, figures like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Williams were rising to prominence in the US and the various strands of the black liberation struggle—which later become known as “Civil Rights,” “Black Power,” and “Human Rights”—gained a renewed visibility in the world arena. The political reverberations of Ghana’s move towards independence were mirrored, in previous eras, by the presence of the Haitian Republic in the 18th century and Ethiopia in the early 20th century—two stalwarts against the various incarnations of European/white supremacy. In the black imaginary, these Diasporic spaces inspired liberation movements, continued activism against white supremacy and European imperial domination, and distinct yearnings for Pan-African political collaboration.

In light of this context, this paper will analyze the various impacts Ghana’s independence had on the political activism and consciousness of African-American activists in the period between 1957 to 1968. While focusing on figures like W.E.B. DuBois, Robert F. Williams, Kwame Ture, and Fanny Lou Hamer among others, this research will illuminate the specific ways that Ghana influenced and positively shaped modes of black radicalism in the US. It will also seek to complicate the analysis recently offered by Kevin Gaines by showing the bilateral relationships forged during this era. Indeed, similar to Haiti in the 18th and 19th centuries, Ghana not only stimulated a revolutionary impulse throughout the Diaspora, but its place in the black imaginary led many to visit or repatriate to the republic. In this regard, this presentation will become part of a larger effort to situate particular Diasporic spaces (e.g., Egypt, Haiti, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Jamaica) within the context of Africana conceptualizations of freedom and historical agency.


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