Pan-African Congress

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Members of the Second Pan African Conference, Brussels, 1921
Members of the Second Pan African Conference, Brussels, 1921

The Pan-African Congress was a series of eight meetings which took place on the back of the Pan-African Conference which took place in Paris in 1900. The Pan-African Congress gained a reputation as a peacemaker for decolonization in Africa and in the West Indies. It made a significant advance for the Pan-African cause. One of the group's major demands was to end colonial rule and racial discrimination. It stood against imperialism and it demanded human rights and equality of economic opportunity. The manifesto given by the Pan-African Congress included the political and economic demands of the Congress for a new world context of international cooperation and to address the issues facing Africa as a result of European colonization of most of the continent.

Congresses took place in order: 1919 in Paris; 1921 in Brussels, London and Paris; 1923 in Lisbon and London; 1927 in New York City; 1945 in Manchester; 1974 in Dar es Salaam; 1994 in Kampala; and 2014 in Johannesburg.


Letter from W.E.B. Du Bois to the NAACP January 1919 about planning the First Pan African Congress.

Pan Africanism as a philosophy was created as early as the late 1700s, seen through the movements of abolition in both the United States and Britain.[1] British writers and former slaves, Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano created the foundations for Pan Africanism in English literature.[2] French speakers, like Léopold Sédar Senghor, created the idea of Négritude.[3] These ideas refuted the inferiority of Black people.[3] Pan Africanists believed that both slavery and colonialism were built on negative attitudes towards people of African descent, which in turn, contributed to racism.[4] African Americans were especially frustrated with their slow progress towards racial equality in the United States.[4]

Trinidadian lawyer, Henry Sylvester Williams created the African Association in 1897 in order to encourage a sense of Pan African unity in the British Colonies.[4][5] The African Association published the discrimination and injustices faced by people in the African diaspora.[6] The African Association's work led to the First Pan-African Conference held in London in 1900.[4] The conference, which brought together people who were against racism and colonialism, attracted international attention, though it did not lead to political action on these issues.[4][7] Attendees of the Pan-African Conference discussed the need to preserve Black cultural identity and for the rights of indigenous people to be recognized by colonizers.[6] W. E. B. Du Bois was one of thirty attendees at this conference where he described "the color line" as one of the most important issues of the 20th century.[4][8] Du Bois' inclusion at the 1900 conference marked him as a developing leader in the Pan-African movement.[9]

During World War I, African American soldiers fought bravely overseas and people like Du Bois felt that they should not face racial violence when they return to the United States.[10] Black soldiers also faced discrimination in Europe at the hands of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during the fighting.[11] Du Bois described the fighting done by Black Americans as a "debt of blood" and that they deserved reparations for slavery and racial violence.[10] He also believed that ensuring a positive future for Africa would be key to helping all Black people around the world.[10] Wilson's Fourteen Points plan gave Du Bois hope that there would be greater opportunities for Black people politically in a future marked by democratic and anti-colonial values.[12] In addition, Du Bois wanted to oppose the influence of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and Marcus Garvey on any potential proceedings.[10] The U.S. saw Garvy and the UNIA as linked to "Moscow" and Black separatism and Du Bois wanted to avoid that connection.[13] Of all groups that were trying to have a voice during the end of WWI, Du Bois believed he could have "positive political influence."[14]

In December 1918, Du Bois went to France as a representative of the NAACP at the same time the Paris Peace Conference was taking place at the end of WWI.[8] Many minority groups, including Black people in Europe and Africa, felt that the creation of a League of Nations would lead to positive outcomes for them politically and socially.[15] Du Bois wrote to President Wilson and asked to be a delegate for the Peace Conference in order to speak on behalf of Black people.[16] Du Bois knew that the fate of some African colonies were going to be discussed at the Peace Conference.[10] He hoped that having a conference of Black representatives from around the world would be heard by the European powers and the European public.[8] He wanted to lobby the governments attending the Peace Conference to ensure better treatment for people of color around the world.[17] Du Bois believed that he could "exert some positive political influence on the power-brokers and decision-makers during the Paris Peace Conference."[14] However, Du Bois was one of many individuals representing various other advocacy groups who also wanted to have a voice at the Peace Conference.[18] Since he was not given permission to speak at the Peace Conference, he decided to create a separate meeting to take place at the same time.[19]

A mass meeting in New York City was held on January 19, 1919, by the NAACP on the future of Africa.[20] At the event, there was wide support for Du Bois to discuss Pan African issues in Paris during the Peace Conference.[20] Speakers at the New York meeting included William Henry Sheppard, Horace Kallen, and James Weldon Johnson.[20]

1919 Paris Congress (First)[edit]


In February 1919, the first Pan-African Congress was organized quickly in Paris by W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida Gibbs Hunt, Edmund Fredericks and Blaise Diagne.[21][8][22] Diagne served as the president of the Congress with Du Bois the secretary and Gibbs the assistant secretary.[23] Du Bois created a list of groups he wanted to attend to the congress which included countries who had Black citizens, but he also wanted representatives from other countries as well.[24] Du Bois wanted to petition the Versailles Peace Conference held in Paris at that time in order to make a case for African colonies to become self-ruling.[22][25] Unlike the International Council of Women, the Pan-African Congress was unable to send delegates to the Peace Conference, nor were members permitted to serve on commissions.[26] Delegates to the Pan African Congress had no "official status" among world governments or organizations.[27]

Diagne was able to get official permission for the Congress to take place in Paris by persuading Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of its importance.[28] Dates were set for February 12 and 13 to coincide with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.[29] Funding for the event came from the NAACP and American fraternal organizations.[4][30] Mary White Ovington and James Weldon Johnson raised money through solicitations of prominent NAACP supporters.[29] Despite the funding received, the conference took place on a very small budget.[31]

Once the event had permission, American officials in Paris, such as Tasker H. Bliss and George Louis Beer became alarmed.[29] Beer, who was the chief colonial expert working for the U.S., believed that Black people could not govern themselves.[29] A series of telegrams described as "urgent" and "confidential" began to pass between the United States Department of State and American officials in Paris.[29] The French government even later stated that Clemenceau had never approved of the Congress.[29]

There were 57 delegates representing 15 countries, a smaller number than originally intended because British and American governments refused to issue passports to their citizens who had planned on attending.[32][33] Representatives of the National Equal Rights League including Madam C. J. Walker and William Monroe Trotter were denied passports.[34] It was reported by the U.S. State Department that the French government did not believe the timing was right for a Pan-African Congress.[33][35] A New York Call writer believed that the U.S. was worried it would be embarrassed by discussions of race relations at the Congress in Paris.[34] Many of the delegates who attended did so on short notice, or by getting through on other types of credentials, such as being journalists.[27][28] Others, like Gibbs, were already in Europe.[28]


Pan-African Congress in Paris, February 19–22, 1919

Eventually, the Congress took place between February 19 and 21 at the Grand Hotel.[29] There was greater representation from African countries at the First Pan-African Congress than there had been at the 1900 Pan-African Conference.[36] Africa had twelve delegates with three from Liberia.[37] There were 21 delegates representing Caribbean countries and 16 delegates from the U.S.[37] Delegates to the Congress were middle-class and moderate.[36] Nevertheless, Du Bois was able to create the idea of a Pan African Marxism during the event.[38]

The first speech of the Congress was by Diagne who said that assimilated Black people from America, Britain and France "were far more advanced than indigenous and 'inherently backwards' Africans.[23] In this capacity, he felt that African countries held by Germany should be transferred to a system similar to the colonial system of France.[39] This speech touched on concerns Black intellectuals from Europe and America felt in being compared to the stereotypes of African people as primitive.[40] It also placed significant value on Black people who had been "civilized" by colonizing powers.[41] For Diagne, Germany should give up their colonies not because colonialism was bad, but because German governance was not good.[42] After Diagne's speech, Portuguese representative Alfredo Andrade, praised French democracy and its inclusion of Black people in government.[42] Other representatives to the Pan-African Congress also praised France for having Black representation in politics and good relations with Black people anecdotally.[42] Andrade, Diagne, Gratien Candace, Achille René-Boisneuf, and Joseph Lagrosillière all felt that there was "no room for a diasporan political consciousness because they saw the French Third Republic's empire as the best current opportunity for the realization of black rights within their constituencies."[43] Adherence to a "benevolent" nation was seen as a practical approach to helping improve the lives of Black people they represented.[44]

Liberian delegate, Charles D. B. King, spoke about the importance of developing his country as a free state, emphasizing the importance of a shared African heritage.[44] Because of American support, however, Liberia did not want to agitate against the United States.[44] Helen Noble Curtis gave a speech called "The Use of African Troops in Europe" which described many racist experiences Black soldiers fighting in WWI encountered in hospitals and other institutions.[45] Curtis pleaded for the world to recognize that justice is not separate: it should be the same for all people regardless of skin color.[46] Addie Waites Hunton reminded delegates that it was important to include women in the Pan-African proceedings.[37]


The congress eventually adopted several resolutions, especially related to people living under colonialism.[44] They advocated for self-determination of African people except where "existing practices were directly contradictory to best established principles of civilization."[44] It was felt that Africa should be granted home rule and Africans should take part in governing their countries as fast as their development permits until at some specified time in the future.[47] Resolutions were sent to the press in France, Britain and the United States.[48] The Congress recommended the creation of a multi-lingual, international publication, the Black Review.[4] It was also expected that delegates would plan for the next Pan-African Congress and that this could be a continuing discussion.[49] Du Bois also hoped for the creation of a world organization, the Pan-African Association.[50]

It was reported that there was little news coverage of the Congress in the French press, but one newspaper in Paris called Du Bois a "disciple of Garvey."[51][52] West African colonies under British rule barely reported on the event.[53] However, European press did run information about the Congress in the weeks prior to the event.[54] Black people in the United States "generally approved of the actions of Du Bois as reported in the newspapers."[55] Paul Otlet, a Belgian Peace Activist, wrote an article in La Patrie Belge which advocated for European powers to give German colonies back to African people.[54] When Du Bois wrote about the Congress in the Crisis and in his reports to the NAACP, he did not give a full view of actual nature of the speeches and implied criticism of the United States' racial problems that did not take place at the conference.[44] Instead, he focused on "black solidarity" over reporting other content of the discussions.[44] One attendee of the conference, Maurice Delafosse, wrote that the French government was largely tolerant of the ideas expressed at the Congress.[56] Harry F. Worley, who worked for the U.S. State Department, also attended the Congress and reported his impressions of the event.[57]

Du Bois sent a letter to Winston Churchill in 1921, where he enclosed the resolutions adopted at this first Congress in 1919.[17] Du Bois also sent the resolutions to Beer and Edward M. House who served as advisors to President Wilson.[48]


Among the delegates were:[58][59]

1921 Brussels, London and Paris Congress (Second)[edit]

Session in the Palais Mondial, Brussels, 1921

In 1921, the Second Pan-African Congress met in several sessions in London, Brussels and Paris, during August (28, 29, and 31) and September (2, 3, 5 and 6).[63] As W. E. B. Du Bois reported in The Crisis in November that year, represented at this congress were "26 different groups of people of Negro descent: namely, British Nigeria, Gold Coast and Sierra Leone; the Egyptian Sudan, British East Africa, former German East Africa; French Senegal, the French Congo and Madagascar; Belgian Congo; Portuguese St. Thomé, Angola and Mozambique; Liberia; Abyssinia; Haiti; British Jamaica and Grenada; French Martinique and Guadeloupe; British Guiana; the United States of America, Negroes resident in England, France, Belgium and Portugal, and fraternal visitors from India, Morocco, the Philippines and Annam."[63] There was an Indian revolutionary who took part, Shapurji Saklatvala, and a journalist from the Gold Coast named W. F. Hutchinson who spoke. This session of the Congress was the most focused for change of all the meetings thus far. At the London session, resolutions were adopted, later restated by Du Bois in his "Manifesto To the League of Nations":[64][63]

If we are coming to recognize that the great modern problem is to correct maladjustment in the distribution of wealth, it must be remembered that the basic maladjustment is in the outrageously unjust distribution of world income between the dominant and suppressed peoples; in the rape of land and raw material, and the monopoly of technique and culture. And in this crime white labor is particeps criminis with white capital. Unconsciously and consciously, carelessly and deliberately, the vast power of the white labor vote in modern democracies has been cajoled and flattered into imperialistic schemes to enslave and debauch black, brown and yellow labor.

The only dissenting voices were these of Blaise Diagne and Gratien Candace, French politicians of African and Guadeloupean descent, who represented Senegal and Guadeloupe in the French Chamber of Deputies. They soon abandoned the idea of Pan-Africanism because they advocated equal rights inside the French citizenship and thought the London Manifesto declaration too dangerously extreme.

American Helen Noble Curtis acted as the sole representative for Liberia during this conference.[65]


In 1920, Du Bois secured three-thousand dollars from the NAACP for the creation of a "Pan-African fund."[66] He planned to have more African representatives at this event.[66] Paul Panda Farnana introduced Du Bois to colonial leaders in Brussels.[67]


The London meeting took place in Methodist Central Hall, Westminster and the Paris meeting happened at the Salles des Ingènieurs.[68] The Brussels sessions were hosted at the Palais Mondial.[69] The Congress met on August 28 and 29 at the Central Hall with around 113 people in attendance and 41 delegates.[70]


The press in the British colony of the Gold Coast completely denounced the entire 1921 Congress.[53] The Belgian press targeted Garvey and links to the UNIA and the Congress due to "fears of disruption in the Congo."[71] This led to fears among businesses and the government in Brussels that the Congress would be a radical event that would advocate for the overthrow of colonial rule.[67] Panda Farnana even tried suing the newspaper, L'Avenir Colonial Belge, to court for "having smeared and discredited the Pan-African Congress."[72] The smear campaign made many in Brussels see the meeting as a "gathering of dangerous agitators who, like their leader Marcus Garvey, were bent on freeing Africa from European rule."[72] However, Garvey saw the Congress as little more than a joke and sharply criticized it and Du Bois loudly and publicly.[73]

1923 Lisbon and London Congress (Third)[edit]

Helen Noble Curtis - Agreement to hold the third Pan-African Congress in Lisbon, 1921

In 1923, the Third Pan-African Congress was held in London and in Lisbon. Helen Noble Curtis was an important planner of the Lisbon event, which was smaller than the others.[65] The London Congress was held at Denison House.[68] This meeting also repeated the demands such as self-rule, the problems in the Diaspora and the African-European relationship.[74] The following was addressed at the meeting:

  • The development of Africa should be for the benefit of Africans and not merely for the profits of Europeans.
  • There should be home rule and a responsible government for British West Africa and the British West Indies.
  • The Abolition of the pretension of a white minority to dominate a black majority in Kenya, Rhodesia and South Africa.
  • Lynching and mob law in the US should be suppressed.

Before the Congress met in London, Isaac Béton of the French Committee wrote a letter to Du Bois, telling him that the French group would not be sending delegates. However, in one of the reports he published in The Crisis, Du Bois drew on words spoken by Ida Gibbs Hunt and Rayford Logan to imply that the French Committee had sent delegates. As long-time African-American residents of France, Hunt and Logan had travelled independently to the meeting, and Hunt and Béton were perturbed that Du Bois had implied they represented France.[75] Black French people, including Béton and Gratien Candace who resigned from the congress, were worried the event would have "radical tendencies."[76]

1927 New York City Congress (Fourth)[edit]

Delegates from Oregon for the 4th Pan African Congress in New York 1927.


According to Du Bois, an earlier plan to hold the 4th Congress in the West Indies, specifically Port-au-Prince, in 1925 did not pan out due to transportation and other issues.[77][78] Instead, the Congress was held in New York City in 1927.[77]

Women played a significant role in this congress.[78] Addie Whiteman Dickerson, Addie Hunton and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom were key fundraisers for the meeting.[65][79] The Circle for Peace and Foreign Relations of New York City was also one of the sponsors of the 4th PAC.[80][4] Beatrice Morrow Cannady, Dora Cole Norman, Dorothy R. Peterson, and Jessie Redmon were all active in planning for the 4th PAC.[78][81] The Grace Congregational Church served as planning headquarters.[81]


The opening meeting was held at St. Mark's Methodist Church and the Headquarters remained at the Grace Congregational Church.[82] There were about 208 delegates from the United States and other countries.[4] Low attendance from British and French colonies was due to government travel restrictions.[4]

William Pickens gave a speech on the importance of worker solidarity during the opening session.[83][84] Other speakers at the opening session included Chief Nana Amoah, Reginald G. Barrow, Dantès Bellegarde, James Francis Jenkins, H. K. Rakhit, Adolph Sixto, and T. Augustus Toote.[85] Later speeches were given by W. Tete Ansa, Helen Noble Curtis, Du Bois, Leo William Hansbury, Leslie Pinckney Hill, Georges Sylvain, and Charles H. Wesley.[85][78] The final speeches of the congress were given by H. H. Philips, Rayford Logan, and Y. Hikada on politics in Africa.[86]

Committees were formed during the event, including the creation of a resolution committee headed by Bellegarde, Cannady, Du Bois, Hunton, and Reverdy C. Ransom.[86]


The Fourth Pan-African Congress was held in New York City adopted resolutions that were similar to the Third Pan-African Congress meetings.[87] Resolutions called for the liberation of various colonized countries, including Haiti, China, and Egypt.[86] A call for working class solidarity across racial lines was also included, but no plans for how to accomplish this were made.[78]


There were 208 delegates from the United States and 10 different foreign countries.[4] Africa was represented by delegates from the Gold Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.[4]

1945 Manchester Congress (Fifth)[edit]

The commemorating plaque at Chorlton-on-Medlock Town Hall, Manchester.

Following the foundation of the Pan-African Federation (PAF) in Manchester in 1945,[88] the Fifth Pan-African Congress was held at the Chorlton-on-Medlock Town Hall, Manchester, United Kingdom, between the 15 and 21 October 1945.

Although forming a part of a larger Pan-African movement at the beginning of the century, this event was organised by people in Manchester, and they brought in the people from all over the world."[89] Whilst the previous four congresses had involved predominantly members of the African diaspora, including those in the United Kingdom, Afro-Caribbeans and Afro-Americans."[90][91] the fifth included more representatives from the African continent.

It was the wish of the West African Students' Union that the event be hosted in Liberia and not in Europe, however having originally been scheduled in Paris to coincide with the 1945 World Trade Union Conference, it was switched to August in Manchester. The Conference took place in a building decorated with the flags of the three black nations under self-governance at the time Ethiopia, and Liberia and the Republic of Haiti.[92]

The Fifth Congress is widely viewed by commentators as the most significant, being held just months after the end of World War II which had been fought in the name of freedom. At the end of World War II, around 700 million people lived under imperial rule and were 'subject people', with no freedoms, no parliaments, no democracy, and no trade unions to protect workers.[93] Many felt betrayed after being promised movement towards self-government if they fought for European colonial powers during the First World War – only to have such promises later denied so a new militancy had emerged with demands for decolonization as well as condemning imperialism, racial discrimination, and capitalism.[94][95]


Planning began in 1944 after Du Bois corresponded with Amy Jacques Garvey and Harold Moody on an idea for an "African Freedom Charter."[96] This correspondence led to Du Bois calling for a fifth Pan African Congress to be held in London.[97] Du Bois was unaware that George Padmore had also called for a Pan African Congress to be held after WWII, but once he found out, he was interested in working with Padmore.[98] Additional plans were made with the NAACP, and the congress was tentatively scheduled for Paris at the same time as the World Trade Union Conference.[99] Plans changed again in August 1945, when Du Bois announced that the fifth PAC would be held in England, one week after the trade union conference.[99]


There was a much greater representation of African delegates and attendees from Continental Africa at this conference.[100] Marika Sherwood notes that "There were also eleven listed 'fraternal delegates', from Cypriot, Somali, Indian and Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) organisations, as well as the Women's International League and two British political parties, the Common Wealth Party and Independent Labour Party". Historian Saheed Adejumobi writes in The Pan-African Congresses, 1900–1945  that “while previous Pan-African congresses had been controlled largely by black middle-class British and American intellectuals who had emphasized the amelioration of colonial conditions, the Manchester meeting was dominated by delegates from Africa and Africans working or studying in Britain.” Adejumobi notes that “the new leadership attracted the support of workers, trade unionists, and a growing radical sector of the African student population. With fewer African American participants, delegates consisted mainly of an emerging crop of African intellectual and political leaders, who soon won fame, notoriety, and power in their various colonized countries.”[4] Amongst attendees were Hastings Banda, Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta who would go on to be the first Presidents of their newly independent countries. Commentators estimate that 87–90 delegates were in attendance at the Congress, representing some 50 organisations, with a total of 200 audience members present.[89][94] Whilst Nnamdi Azikiwe did not attend the conference he is on the record saying how important it was for the momentum of independence movement at the time.[93]

Delegates Fifth Pan-African Congress include:[93][94][89]

Fraternal delegates, observers and other attendees include:[93]

Other Attendees include: Raphael Armattoe,[109] Kojo Botsio,[110] Cecil Belfield Clarke[93] and Dudley Thompson.[111]

Issues addressed[edit]

Among the issues addressed at the conference were:

  • "The Colour Problem in Britain", Including issues of unemployment among black youth; abandoned mixed-race children fathered by black ex-servicemen and white British mothers; racial discrimination, the colour bar and discriminatory employment practices. These topics were discussed at the first session of the Congress held on October 15, 1945, chaired by Amy Ashwood Garvey.[93]
  • "Imperialism in North and West Africa". All present demanded independence for African nations; delegates were split on the issue of having political emancipation first or control of the economy. Kwame Nkrumah advocated for revolutionary methods of seizing power as essential to Independence. From this session onwards the chair was taken by Dr W. E. B. Du Bois.[93]
  • "Oppression in South Africa". Including the social, economic, educational, health and employment inequalities faced by Black South Africans. All present expressed support and sympathy which included a number of demands outlined.[93]
  • "The East African Picture". Focusing on the issue of land, most of the best land had been occupied by White settlers; working conditions and wages for Africans reflected the same inequalities as South Africa. This session was open by Jomo Kenyatta.[93]
  • "Ethiopia and The Black Republics". Discussing the issue of Britain exercising control over Ethiopia although Emperor Haile Selassie had been restored to the throne; the United Nations not offering help to Ethiopia whilst Italy (which conquered Ethiopia in 1935 under a fascist regime) was receiving UN help.[93]
  • "The Problems in the Caribbean" This session was addressed by a number of trade union delegates from the Caribbean; some delegates demanded "complete independence", some "self-government" and others "dominion status".[93]

Women's contributions[edit]

Women played an important role in the Fifth Congress. Amy Ashwood Garvey chaired the opening session and Alma La Badie, a Jamaican member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, spoke about child welfare. Women also supported in behind-the-scenes roles, organising many of the social and other events outside the main sessions. Historians Marika Sherwood and Hakim Adi have specifically written about women involved in the Fifth-Congress.[112]


The British press scarcely mentioned the conference. However, Picture Post covered the 5th Pan African Congress in an article by war reporter Hilde Marchant titled "Africa Speaks in Manchester", published on 10 November 1945. Picture Post was also responsible for sending John Deakin to photograph the event.[113]


This conference shifted the discussion about Pan-Africanism to focus more on African leaders and the people of Africa as "primary agents of change in the anti-colonial and anti-imperial struggles."[114] Du Bois attempted to enlist the NAACP into further support for Pan-Africanism and aid to Africa, but the results were tepid.[115] Du Bois continued to work towards the creation of a Pan-African movement in the United States throughout 1946.[115] Due to the Red Scare, the NAACP stepped back from its support of Pan Africanism.[116]


  • Red Commemorative Plaque. It is suggested by commentators that Manchester community leader and political activist, Kath Locke, persuaded Manchester City Council to place a red plaque commemorating the Congress on the wall of Chorlton Town Hall.[88]
  • Black Chronicles III: The Fifth Pan African Congress. Autograph ABP hosted the first exhibition showcasing John Deakin's photographs from the Fifth Congress. The exhibition marked the 70th anniversary of the Congress in 2015 and included film screenings exploring Pan-African history and ideals curated by June Givanni.[117]
  • "Pan African Congress 50 years on". The project interviewed attendees of the 1945 Pan African Congress who were still living in Manchester in 1995. The project was part of the 50th commemorative event held in Manchester in 1995.
  • "PAC@75". Manchester Metropolitan University held a four-day celebration in October 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the 5th Pan-African Congress. Curated by Professor of Architecture Ola Uduku, the anniversary celebrations involved both creative and academic events.[118]
  • Archive material relating to the 1945 and the subsequent celebratory events in 1982 and 1995 are held at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre at Manchester Central Library.[119] Len Johnson's papers at the Working Class Movement Library has records and documents from the 1945 Congress.[120]

1974 Dar es Salaam Congress (Sixth)[edit]

The sixth Pan-African Congress, also known as "Sixth-PAC or 6PAC," was hosted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in June 1974.[121] This was the first time the event took place in Africa.[121] The event was originally proposed by Pauulu Kamarakafego in order to challenge neocolonialism and apartheid.[122]


Activists involved in the Washington, D.C. Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) were involved in organizing and hosting the congress.[121][123] Charlie Cobb, Courtland Cox, and James Garrett, who were involved with the SNCC, helped plan the event.[121] C. L. R. James played a role influencing the congress.[121] Other key organizers included Geri Stark Augusto, Judy Claude, Julian Ellison, Kathy Flewellen, Sylvia I. B. Hill, Loretta Hobbs, and James Turner.[121][124][114] Flewellen and Hill, who served on the international secretariat, conducted meetings to select delegates for 6PAC.[124][122] James traveled to Tanzania to talk to Cox and Mwalimu Nyerere about hosting the congress there.[125]

Augusto and Edie Wilson moved to Dar es Salaam in 1973 where they served as the head of the International Secretariat for 6PAC.[124] Planners had to decided whether 6PAC would pick up right where the 5th congress left off, which meant recommitting to opposing various forms of colonialism still present in Africa.[126] Focusing on colonialism and imperialism was an important decision because it was possible that it could alienate Caribbean governments and delegates from the United States.[127]


Hundreds to thousands of participants met at the University of Dar es Salaam from June 19 to June 27, 1974.[124][122] Around 50 different sovereign governments and political organizations sent delegates to 6PAC.[128] Delegates from liberation movements from several colonized countries also attended.[128]

Hill served as the secretary general for North America.[124] It was part of the original planning that groups working towards liberation have time to network and "build international solidarity."[129] Activists such as Mae Mallory, Queen Mother Moore, Brenda Paris, and Florence Tate all attended 6PAC.[124] For Black British activists Zainab Abbas, Gerlin Bean, Ron Phillips, and Ansel Wong, attending the conference allowed them to express the solidarity of the Black activists in Britain with anti-colonialists activists in the rest of the world. A highlight of the conference was the resolution on Palestine, which was the congress' formal recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.[130]: 136–137 

The opening address was given by Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere.[128] His speech focused on promoting "nonracialism" at the congress because it is more important for all people to work together to free themselves from oppression in Africa.[131]

Event planners also hoped that the Congress would support the creation of a Pan African Center of Science and Technology.[132] Several men associated with Howard University, Neville Parker, Don Coleman, and Fletcher Robinson, all worked towards the development of a Pan African Center of Science and Technology during the congress.[132] However, there was not enough support for the plan and it didn't make the final resolution.[128]


The Los Angeles Times reported that the Congress was very divided and often too "militant."[133]


A General Political Statement was created at 6PAC which called for an end to all forms of colonialism, including neocolonialism.[134] The statement also called for a unification of African people to work towards socialism throughout Africa in order to end oppression.[134] It explicitly called out all kinds of racism and nationalism.[135]

Augusto stayed in Dar es Salaam after 6PAC in order to edit the proceedings of the event for the Tanzania Publishing House.[136]

Several North American activists from the 6PAC went on to Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1974 in order to lobby the United States to take action against apartheid in South Africa.[129]

1994 Kampala Congress (Seventh)[edit]

The seventh Pan-African Congress was held in Kampala, Uganda from April 3 to April 8, 1994.[137] The theme of the event was "Facing the Future in Unity, Social Progress and Democracy."[138]


There were more than 2,000 participants at the event, which included a Women's Pre-Congress meeting.[138] President Yoweri Museveni spoke at the opening of the congress, where he listed five criteria for defining who is an "African."[139] The criteria, which included people of many backgrounds and nationalities, helped define "African" as something that was not just a racial category.[139]

2014 Johannesburg Congress (Eighth)[edit]

The eighth Pan-African Congress was held at the University of the Witwatersrand from January 14 to January 16, 2014, in Johannesburg.[140]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geiss 1969, p. 187.
  2. ^ Geiss 1969, p. 188.
  3. ^ a b Geiss 1969, p. 189.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Adejumobi, Saheed (30 July 2008). "The Pan-African Congresses, 1900–1945". Black Past. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  5. ^ "Henry Sylvester Williams and the Origins of Pan-Africanism". UCLA African Studies Center. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  6. ^ a b Kentake, Meserette (19 February 2018). "Henry Sylvester Williams: The Father of Pan-Africanism". Kentake Page. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  7. ^ a b Dunstan 2016, p. 135.
  8. ^ a b c d e Reft, Ryan (19 February 2019). "African-American History Month: First Pan-African Congress". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  9. ^ Adi 2018, p. 43.
  10. ^ a b c d e Adi 2018, p. 44.
  11. ^ Moore 2018, p. 113.
  12. ^ Contee 1972, p. 13.
  13. ^ Moore 2018, p. 119, 123.
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