Reaction Paper to Williams: The Pan African Movement Synopsis In summary, Michael Williams’ article, The Pan African Movement, discusses this multifaceted movement, which is thought to have played a vital role in the decolonization of Africa. It also thought to have improved the welfare of both Africans and African Americans. However, Williams, at some point in his article, thinks that the Pan African movement was quite sluggish in achieving this. He also discusses how the Pan-African Movement failed to build unity among its members, which was necessary to attain the objectives of Pan-Africanism. The article is divided into sections that discuss Pan-Africanism, characteristics of the early emigration attempts of Pan-Africanists and also the principal figures in the movement. Finally, it discusses world events that influenced the movement and also the recent developments the movement has influenced.
Pan-Africanism refers to a movement which seeks to unify Africans and people receding in Africa. The movement seeks to unify these people into one community known as the African Community (Williams 174). The name represents the complexities of intellectual thoughts and black politics over two hundred years. The movement represents a wide range of political views. It, hence, keeps on changing with regards to whether the focus is on ideologies, politics, organizations or culture. At a basic level, Pan-Africanism is a belief that Africans, both on their motherland and in the Diaspora, share not just a common past, but also a common destiny. This logic of a unified past and future has adapted numerous forms, particularly in the formation of political institutions. Pan-Africanism of the 21st century, on the other hand, seeks to respond to globalization and environmental matters regarding Africans. It seeks to create awareness to Africans on these enhancing factors (Williams 174). Therefore, the overall meaning of Pan-Africanism is to bring Africans together and enhance their lives.
Some of the key figures in the Pan-African movement include Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, Edward Wilmot, W. E. B. Du Bois and Haile Selassie among others (Williams 177). Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana or Gold Coast, was an activist of the Pan-African movement. He was the brain behind the OAU. Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican born Pan-Africanist, was a stern backer of the Back-to-Africa movement. He is the father of Pan-Africanism. Historians consider Marcus as the person who led Pan-Africanism to its achievements of uniting Africans. Edward Wilmot, on the other hand, was a Pan-African writer from Liberia. W. E. B. Du Bois was also a writer of the Pan-African movement, but an African-American (Williams 178). His writings are considered to be a significant influence in uniting Africans and tabling their cries of discrimination to the whites. Finally, Haile Selassie was a key figure in the movement, owing to his call to unite the African nations (Williams 180).
After the 80’s, a number of events brought about significant impacts to the Pan-African movement (Williams 184). A number of tragedies led to the creation of the Pan-African Revolutionary Socialist Party. This was a further development of Pan-Africanism. Some negative events that have taken place include the assignation of various African leaders, who were key members in the Pan-African movement. Such events decreased the progress of the movement (Williams 184). Finally, on a positive side, the creation of the OAU increased the influence of the Pan-African movement on African soil.
Williams, Michael. The Pan-African Movement. Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 2005. Web.