The Pan-African philosophy and movement: Social and educational praxis of multiculturalism
The Pan-African philosophy and movement grew out of the necessary response to re-establish individuals and communities of African ancestry within their social and cultural traditions, as well as their political and economic rights. Through national and international organizations, as well as through various publications, Pan-Africanists advocated for a respectable and equitable re-integration into a shared world community – after the effects of the Slave Trade, the slavery system in the New World, global disenfranchisement, colonialism and neo-colonialism. From its de facto modern existence in the 1700s – and the influences that date back to the experiences of the Middle Passage – to its formal inception in the early 1900s, Pan-Africanism has been inherently multicultural in its philosophy and practice. From the outset, the present chapter will distinctively examine the Pan-African philosophy of the 1700s in relation to the ensuing movement of the 1900s. Moreover, it will offer a comprehensive analysis of the two intrinsic dimensions of multiculturalism within the Pan-African movement: 1) its intra-racial and transnational scopes; 2) its humanist/multiracial and international components. On the one level, Pan-Africanism’s fundamentally diasporic characteristic, which encompasses numerous African ethnicities, languages, religions and cultures within the African continent and among those of African descent throughout the world, fostered invaluable exchanges. On the other level, Pan-Africanists’ forthright and resolve conversation with the global world opened a space – very early on in modern human history – for a multicultural approach to the world, in terms of addressing social and economic ills, as well as promoting humane participation and varying contributions to society. Thus, Pan-Africanism introduced the concept of multiculturalism avant la lettre. Moreover, the Pan-African Movement, and the movements it influenced transnationally,
went beyond the articulation of a multicultural philosophy and framed the blueprint of a multicultural social program that is embedded in education.3 Pan-Africanism’s multi-national/multi-dimensional program set forth the urgent re-evaluation of educational, intellectual, social and political praxis within the global world.