Patrice Lumumba

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More than Words Since the late 1800’s, almost all of Africa had been under European colonial rule, but this changed drastically in 1960. Sixteen African nations gained their independence that year, including the former Belgian Congo, which became the Democratic Republic of the Congo on June 30. One of the key personalities that made this possible was Patrice Lumumba, who experienced widespread support in gaining independence and became the first Prime Minister of the DROC. However, he lost much of this support once he was in office, and lasted fewer than 200 days. Lumumba’s ability to communicate was a key reason for his success and failure. Patrice Lumumba was born in the Kasai Province of the Belgian Congo on July 2, 1925 as a member of the Batetela tribe, and received his primary education from a Catholic mission school. At age 18, Lumumba moved to Kindu and became a corporate clerk. After moving to Leopoldville for vocational school, he moved to Stanleyville to work as a postal clerk (Lemarchand 199). It was in Stanleyville that Lumumba began his political career, and according to Crawford Young, he had become “president or secretary of no less than seven associations in Stanleyville in 1953” (295). Lumumba’s involvement in these organizations also had a strong impact, he increased membership in the Association des Evolués de Stanleyville from 162 to over 1,000 members in four years, and was “regarded as the most eminent spokesman of Liberal ideas” by 1959 (Lemarchand 202). Lumumba’s public presence was not limited to his political organizations, he was also the editor of L’Echo Postal, and often wrote about the “problems of racial, social, and economic discrimination” in three other newspapers (Lemarchand 199)... ... middle of paper ... ... Collected Essays. Ed. Toni Morrison. New York: Library of America, 1998. 296-347. --. “Notes of a Native Son.” 1955. James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Ed. Toni Morrison. New York: Library of America, 1998. 63-84. Heinz, G., and H. Donnay. Lumumba: The Last Fifty Days. New York: Grove Press, 1961. Hoffmann, Paul. “Stanleyville Seizes 12 Belgians To Avenge Jailing of Lumumba.” New York Times 21 Jan. 1961: 4. Lemarchand, René. Political Awakening in the Belgian Congo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964. Lumumba. Dir. Raoul Peck. Videocassette. Zeitgeist Films. 2001. “Lumumba Moved; Reported Beaten.” New York Times 19 Jan. 1961: 7. Lumumba, Patrice. Congo, My Country. 1962. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969. Young, Crawford. Politics in the Congo: Decolonization and Independence. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965.
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