[Documents menu] Documents menu
Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 12:59:32 PCT
Reply-To: H-NET List for World History <H-WORLD@msu.edu>
Sender: H-NET List for World History <H-WORLD@msu.edu>
From: "Daniel A. Segal" <DSEGAL@bernard.pitzer.edu>
Organization: Pitzer College
Subject: Africa in the World conf. England, Oct 1995
To: Multiple recipients of list H-WORLD <H-WORLD@msu.edu>

The 1945 Pan-African Congress and its Aftermath

The Manchester Civic Celebration, October 13th to 15th, 1995

By Simon Katzenellenbogen
2 May 1995

The Fifth Pan-African Congress, held in Manchester in 1945, now belongs to world history. Dubois, Padmore, Appiah, Nkrumah, Kenyatta - all were outstanding delegates. Seen in retrospect, the Pan- African Congress has won the reputation of a pace-maker for decolonization in Africa and in the British West Indies. It marked a significant advance in the participation of workers in the Pan African cause. It demanded an end to colonial rule and an end to racial discrimination, while it carried forward the broad struggle against imperialism, for human rights and equality of economic opportunity. The Pan-African Congress manifesto itself positioned the political and economic demands of the Congress within a new world context of international co-operation, arising from `the grim ordeal of the war of liberation against Fascism'.

The fiftieth anniversary, coming in October 1995, calls for a major civic celebration at Manchester. This celebration is to commemorate the global importance of the Fifth Pan-African Congress. It is also to recognise what has too long been ignored - the contribution made by the people and the city of Manchester, most prominently by the city's people of African and Afro-Caribbean origins.

Plans for this civic celebration promise a great variety of public events. Some will be part of a conference including keynote addresses, workshops and public debates at Manchester Town Hall. Others, will take place at the city's universities, colleges and museums, include exhibitions, a research project of archival and oral history, and a wide range of community-based activities. Still others will be artistic events performed at leisure and cultural centres. All, taken as a whole, will illuminate the visions and the realities of Pan-Africanism in the present, no less than in the past.

An effort will be made to strike a balance, representing artistic, popular and intellectual movements, both in the continent and also across the far flung African diaspora in the wider world.

At the heart of the conference titled, Pan-African Directions, will be sessions with papers distributed in advance. Some will recall the themes of the Fifth Congress sessions, which were: `The Colour Problem in Britain'; `Imperialism in North and West Africa'; `Oppression in South Africa'; `Ethiopia and the Black Republics'; `The Problem in the Caribbean'; `Women in the West Indies'.

These issues are still with us. Conscious of that, we plan sessions on: The Diaspora, Pan-Africanism and Liberation Movements, Racism and Black People in Britain, Women in the Struggle, Trade Unions, and Pan-Africanism approaching the Twenty-First Century. This is not intended to be merely an academic meeting, but rather to involve as wide a range of people as possible. Less formal sessions will debate many of the same themes in workshops centered on panel discussions, but without formal papers. Our overall concern is to understand the past, reflect on the present, and consider the future of Pan- Africanism.

For further information, contact:

Simon Katzenellenbogen
Department of History Tel: 44 (0)161-275-3112
University of Manchester Fax: 44 (0)161-275-3098
Oxford Road e-mail: simonk@man.ac.uk
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom