The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited

The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited


By Hakim Adi & Marika Sherwood edited by George Padmore. The Fifth Pan-African Congress was held in Chorlton Town Hall, Manchester, England from 15 - 21 October 1945, and it marked the historic moment when Pan-Africanism became an idea whose time had come. The Second World War had led to an almost universal feeling among Africans and people of African descent that colonial liberation was the order of the day, and this struggle would be achieved by force if necessary. The conference reflected the new militant leadership in Africa who would make the fine words of the Congress a reality, though delegates from French-speaking territories were absent. While the delegates included the likes of Kwame Nkrumah (future leader of Ghana), Jomo Kenyatta (future leader of Kenya) and Dr. Hastings Banda (Malawi), as the Pan-African Congress Chair, W.E.B. Du Bois, remembered, ‘George Padmore was the organising spirit of that congress.’ The Fifth Pan-African Congress, Du Bois insisted, made 1945 ‘a decisive year in determining the freedom of Africa’ and Padmore’s history of the congress ‘carries messages which must not die, but should be passed on to aid Mankind.’

By Hakim Adi & Marika Sherwood

Society, Politics & Philosophy, Published by New Beacon Books

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