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The Pan-African Movement brought about a great political and cultural arousal among the black people all over the world. America too was not left unaffected. The huge population of African immigrants sought an identity of their own which was based on equality and respect from the races which projected themselves to be superior. During the 1920's a major thrust to this movement was provided by leaders like Marcus Garvey who could not stand the plight and misery of the blacks. This thesis encompasses the events during the World War I and rise of Marcus Garvey which led to a large mass movement of African descendants around the world.
The period around the First World War saw many changes in the whole world. Many revolutions appeared on the arena and disappeared. One such insurrection was the movement started by the African Americans that is the Pan-African Movement. Its genesis owes a lot to many people and events which defined its course across the world and especially in America. Marcus Garvey was one of the leaders who radically brought a new wave of fighting back to the unjust and unruly treatment towards people of African ancestry in America and world wide.
The State of African Americans and Jim Crow Laws
The blacks in America had suffered racial discrimination largely due to the bigotness of the whites in the twentieth century. They were promised equal facilities but were provided with inferior amenities as compared to the whites. They were forced to establish themselves as separate entities of the society. Jim Crow laws were greatly motivated by such intolerant sentiments. They resulted in the ushering of a second class citizenship to the black community in America. It provided legit mate grounds to the atrocities unleashed on the Negro population.
Participation of Afro Americans in World War I
The African society of America showed great faith in democracy of America and responded with full zeal during the World War I. The leaders of the African union devised strategies to extend full support to the government in the war, expecting changes in the law and governance in their favor. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had high hopes with the upcoming opportunities and changes after the war. The African American
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extended full cooperation in the food conservation programmes and helped the drafting authorities. Their patriotism was self evident. They had spent millions to buy the Liberty bonds.
The Great Migration and Racial Riots
At the start of twentieth century famine and flood in the Southern states caused migration in large scale towards the North. The poor black population who didn't have many choices dreamt about a better life in the Northern cities. Further the factory owners encouraged the movement as they got the work done at very low wages. The war also caused dearth of workers and so the black community was lured to move towards North. Gradually the population of the blacks increased in the Northern states. The whites in the Southern states were discontent with the job opportunities available to the blacks. This led to racial riots in East Saint Louis and Houston. To add to the agony, was the start of lynching .The black soldiers fighting for America felt that they would be rewarded with freedom from such unlawful activities after the war.
Plight of African American soldiers in War and the Aftermath
During the war the African American soldiers were not dealt with honor. Though the young men had prepared themselves for all the war heroism, they were handed low graded tasks to do. They worked as stewards, laborers. They were not provided any rank and they could not get training as a pilot. The command was solely in the hands of white officers and sometimes the whites refused to work under black officers. Unlike the French troops where the 369th infantry was rewarded, the blacks in the American troops were considered as objects of disgrace. As opposed to the great expectations of the African Americans after the War, the status of the populace still remained inferior and racial discrimination was never checked and prolonged as ever.
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Pan African Movement and the Rise of Marcus Garvey
The servile state of the people of African origin aroused lot of anger all over the world. Many leaders united to fight against the inhuman acts of terror like lynching. The followers of Pan-African idea felt the utter need of solidarity among all people with African ancestory.Marcus Garvey shot to fame during this very time as he was perceived as messiah who was going to emancipate the discontent and hopeless black population. He organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association or UNIA in Jamaica and started a branch in America as well. He was able to bring together the dissatisfied African population of America. The mass movement obtained strength through his speeches and editorial works.Garvey had woven an identity of himself which was ordained with racial pride. He used to arouse racial pride of the Negros through the slogan "Up, you mighty race". He professed the idea of the African homeland. His speeches had mass appeal and the destitute and insulted blacks felt respite in the company of Marcus Garvey. His followers supported him with all the faith and the might, left with them. They wanted freedom from Jim Crow guidelines and looked for equal status or at least human.
Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois
Garvey and Du Bois were both advocates of Pan-African movement but they differed in the way of accomplishing it .While W.E.B wanted a solution which could lead to the Africans coexisting and advancing with the main stream population, Garvey felt the need of an independent powerful existence of Africans. He had outlined the process of deporting the African Americans to Africa which was not supported by W.E.B.W.E.B further did not espouse the meeting of Garvey with Ku Klux Klan, as this group did not believe in social equality and coexistence.
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