The Pan African Consciousness

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“I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free” (Garvey). These words by Marcus Garvey perfectly illustrate the spirit of unification that characterized the attitude of many people of African Descent as a direct result of the callous treatment that Africa as a whole suffered at the hands of Europeans. Europe not only ravished Africa of a significant resource in the millions of lives that it stole and enslaved. Europe also pillaged the continent with the brutal institution of colonization. The manacles of colonization inspired great suffering in the lands and lives of Africans examples include Land exploitation, labor exploitation and most significantly exploiting the minds and spirits of Africans through inhumane treatment. The disabling affliction imposed upon Africa by the White race was the driving force behind the idea of a Pan-African awareness.

The narration at the beginning of the documentary King Leopold’s Ghost best articulates the driving force behind European Colonialism. “Natural resources inspire the most unnatural greed”. Natural resources account for the primary reason that Europe deemed it necessary to lay claim to Africa. As Cesaire points out in his essay Discourse on Colonialism there were many surface excuses given by Europeans for traveling to Africa, like missionary work, extending the rule of law, and curing diseases. Cesaire argues, “no one colonizes innocently” (Cesaire 39). This statement holds especially true for the Belgian colonizers of The Congo. Belgium nearly destroyed the land of The Congo with the implementation of cash crops. The colonizers forced Africans to specialize and grow cash crops. These crops were not...

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...upon the consciousness of Black people.

Both Africans stolen from their homeland and Africans who had their homeland stolen from them share a sense of common grief with a common perpetrator in the White man. These shared sentiments are what gave rise to the Pan-African movement. The whole idea behind Pan African movement is that “Africa must be redeemed and all of us must pledge our manhood, our wealth, and our blood to this sacred cause” (Lynch). Africa needed to be redeemed from the ramifications of the exploitation that it suffered at the hands of Europeans. Examples of these ramifications are poverty, food shortages, corrupt political systems and the displacement and separation of Africa’s children. This reasoning leads to the conclusion that a Pan African consciousness developed as a direct result of the inhumane exploitation of people of African descent.
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