Was King a Pan-Africanist? Martin Luther King and the African Liberation Movements

3962 Words16 Pages
Hist 101. 12/14/12 Was King a Pan-Africanist? Martin Luther King Jr. and the African Liberation Movements. By Kenechukwu Nwosu The King-era civil rights movement coincided closely with the peak of freedom struggles on the African continent. When the Montgomery bus boycott began in December 1955, all but four African nations were under colonial rule; when King delivered his last public speech on April 3, 1968, thirty-six African countries had gained their independence. Most scholarship on King’s international involvement neglects his relationship with Africa, focusing instead on his dealings with India and Vietnam. The few scholarly works that exist tend to paint far too simplistic a picture of this relationship, suggesting that the…show more content…
It was heartbreaking.” From Accra, King flew to Nigeria to spend a night. There, the abject living conditions of some Nigerians greatly aroused his concern. He was enraged at the “exploitation of the Africans by the British,” and “he compared the grandeur of England and the Empire to the conditions in Nigeria.” Such experiences fueled King’s infuriation with colonialism. Martin Luther King returned to the States armed with this new sense of kinship with, and increased concern for the liberation of, African peoples. His sermon the Sunday after his return highlighted this development. He expressed his hope that some Americans would immigrate to Ghana to assist its progress. “Right now,” King told his Dexter Baptist congregation, “is the time that American Negroes can lend their technical assistance to a growing new nation.” He likened colonialism in Africa to discrimination in America, and advocated a unity in the fight against them. “We got orders now,” King preached, “to break down the bondage and the walls of colonialism, exploitation, and imperialism.” His words that Sunday attested to the profound effect the Ghana visit had on him. It is no coincidence that a few months after his trip, King decided to join the American Committee on Africa, the only organization in America existing chiefly to address issues in Africa. Under the leadership of George M. Houser, the organization, established in 1954, aimed to “create a concern for

More about Was King a Pan-Africanist? Martin Luther King and the African Liberation Movements

Get Access