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Writers in a common cause

Across the continent of Africa, a web of laws silenced African speech. On the eve of World War II, a small, impoverished group of Africans and West Indians in London dared to imagine the end of British rule in Africa. Printing gave oppositions a voice, initially through broadsheets, tracts, pamphlets, later through books and articles. The group launched an anti-colonial campaign that used publishing as a pathway to liberation. These writers included West Indians George Padmore, C. L. R. James, and Ras Makonnen, Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta and Sierra Leone's I. T. A. Wallace Johnson. They formed a part of International African Service Bureau (IASB), and the communists saw them as "generals without an army, they have no base and must depend on their pens". Padmore saw 'trusteeship' as a concept invoked as far back as the late nineteenth-century conferences that divided up Africa. Pan-Africa, a monthly periodical T. Ras Makonnen put out, reported that Richard Wright urged his listeners to form an international network of 'cultured progressives'. Labour-powered nationalism was to Padmore more than a drive for self-government. With the Gold Coast political ground so unsettled, neither Nkrumah nor the Convention People's Party (CPP) made Wright privy to their operations. Inspired by the movement for self-government in British West African colonies, French radicals like Leopold Senghor were rebelling against French political control. In 1969, when a small American publisher reissued A History of Pan-African Revolt , James added to it an epilogue explaining the 'rapid decline of African nationalism'.

Carol Polsgrove

Leo Spitzer and LaRay Denzer, ‘I. T. A. Wallace Johnson and the West African Youth League’, International Journal of African Historical Studies , 6: 3 (1973), 418; Hooker, Black Revolutionary , p. 17, Edward Thomas Wilson, Russia and Black Africa before World War II (New York and London: Holmes and Meier, 1974), p. 217

in Ending British rule in Africa
Marika Sherwood

(WANS) was formed. Their aim was to ‘push forward the struggle for West African National Unity and Absolute Independence’. Kwame Nkrumah was appointed secretary. Other officials were I.T.A. Wallace-Johnson, Kojo Botsio, G. Ashie Nikoi, Bankole Awoonor-Renner, an acknowledged Communist, and Bankole Akpata who joined the CPGB in 1948. 40 The first step would be to hold a conference not only of the ‘intelligentsia’, but of workers, trade unionists and farmers. To achieve this, WANS published a monthly journal, The New

in The Red and the Black
Abstract only
Global Pan-African Feminist
Rhoda Reddock

-descended population, 40 and in South Africa, where dock workers refused to service Italian ships. 41 In a move to broaden the group’s focus to the entire African continent, and under the leadership of George Padmore (see Duggan in this volume), the International African Service Bureau (IASB) was established in 1937 as a successor body to the IAFE. This new group, which included Ashwood, James and other future African leaders, such as Sierra Leonean I.T.A Wallace-Johnson and Nigerian L.N. Mbanefo, decided to adopt a “socialist programme and publish a

in The Pan-African Pantheon
Carol Polsgrove

political talent gathered in Manchester that third week of October was formidable. Padmore was there with his inner circle – Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Peter Abrahams, Joe Appiah, Ras Makonnen, and I. T. A. Wallace Johnson. Other delegates included an array of men and a few women who had already played leading roles in African and West Indian political life and some who would go on to head the first

in Ending British rule in Africa
Carol Polsgrove

Spitzer and LaRay Denzer, ‘I. T. A. Wallace Johnson and the West African Youth League’, International Journal of African Historical Studies , 6: 3 (1973), 428. 33 Padmore, How Britain Rules Africa , p. 377. 34 Morgan-Theis, Box 13, Folder 291

in Ending British rule in Africa
Carol Polsgrove

Tobago, as well as to the African nations on which Padmore had fixed his sights. In that last winter of the war, snow fell heavily in London, and coal was scarce. Food was still rationed and queues stretched out of shop doors. Much of London lay in ruins, thousands were homeless, hotels packed. Yet peace was in sight, and the world had been changed. In a sign of the times, I. T. A. Wallace

in Ending British rule in Africa