Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Tanzanian Who Helped Change the Course of African American History

Samuel Daniels claimed that he was born in Tanganyika (Tanzania) sometime around 1908. He stated that he moved to the USA around 1924. Samuel Daniels started one of the largest movements in Harlem, New York, to rally African American support for Ethiopia when Italy was preparing to invade Ethiopia in 1934. He followed  Marcus Garvey and was a staunch Pan-Africanist. Samuel Daniels established the Pan African Reconstruction Association (PARA) in New York in 1934. PARA was reported to have over 35,000 members and branches in twenty-two cities in the US in 1935. His organization eventually disappeared as quickly as it started. Nevertheless, for a brief period, Daniels made significant contributions to raising Pan-African consciousness among African Americans. He rejected the name “Negro” in his speeches. As he remarked in one speech: “I like the word African. No More Negroes an’ shines an’ coons. African!” Daniels helped raise awareness of connections to Africa by rallying support for Ethiopia and championing economic and political liberation. This son of Africa, son of Tanzania, left his mark in US history. He will be remembered for his contributions in connecting African Americans with Africa.

© Azaria Mbughuni

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