The Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission joins the rest of the Caribbean to celebrate Africa-CARICOM Day on September 07th, 2023.
The Caribbean philosopher CLR James, in an essay titled ‘Mighty Sparrow,’ reminds us that ‘the recognition of Africanism, the agitation for recognition of Africa, the literary creation of an African ideology, one powerful sphere of African independence, all were directly the creation of West Indians.’
The yearning for a homeland for Africa, has been strongest among those who were forcibly removed from the continent.
The development of a Pan-African philosophy emerged through the work of great West Indians such as Haitian sociologist Dr Price Mars, Martiniquan politician and writer Aime Cesaire and Edward Wilmot Blyden born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Henry Sylvester Williams, Trinidadian born, as early as 1897 had formed the African Association to promote and protect the interests of people of African descent. Four years later in 1901 he organized the first Pan African Conference.
It was that thinking that led to a re-centering of Africa and thrust the continent on the world stage of the twentieth century.
Prophet Marcus Garvey took the baton, he and others including Trinidad-born George Padmore, political organizer and theoretician worked to ‘achieve the heroic feat of placing Africa and Africans and the people of African descent upon the map of modern history’.
There is much to learn about Africa-Caribbean relationships in the study of the period 1890 to 1940 when there seemed to be a pause to the brilliant individual contributions.
Since then, until recently, African-Caribbean relations were conducted ‘via an array of different groupings and configurations operating within the structures of multilateral organizations as well as at the regional and national levels.’