The Diaspora’s Perspective on the Colonialism, Pan Africanism, and the New Negro Movement

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Perspectives from the Diaspora on colonialism, Pan Africanism, and The New Negro Movement are three African Diaspora & the World concepts that should be taught to high school students. As a first-year student in college, it wasn’t that long ago that I was in a high school history class. I know that the curriculum that is taught comes from the perspective of a white patriarchal society. In these curriculums, what is missing are the perspectives and acknowledgement of significant moments history. The perspective of the Diaspora on colonialism, Pan Africanism, and The New Negro Movement are three concepts missing when history is being taught in high school.

Coming to Spelman College and learning about these concepts through the readings from African Diaspora & the World, made me realize that these are concepts and parts of history that I should have known about sooner. Why aren’t these aspects of history taught to high school students? Acknowledging the many dimensions of history in high school classes will encourage the increased knowledge in the areas of culture, identity, intersectionality, and allow the problem solving of deeper issues such as racism and classism. Not only this, but learning about this history can increase the morale and self-confidence in Black students. The opportunity to be informed about such cultural, political, and social movements may prove to increase Black unity and give Black students a better sense of who they are. All in all, the awareness of these concepts can help produce more socially aware people, which will benefit society as a whole.

To go more in depth on the concepts that should be taught to high school students, the perspectives from the Diaspora on colonialism in Africa is a concept that should be included when teaching about colonialism in general. These perspectives are important to include because it will help examine and assess the long-term effects of colonialism in Africa and how this is impacting lives today. In W.E.B. DuBois’ “Worlds of Color,” he elaborates on the geopolitical shifts and colonies in both Europe and in the United States, which have ultimately exploited both race and labor (DuBois). The geopolitical shifts are what are taught in the current high school curriculum but how these affected the colonies in Africa is lost in translation. This reading explores how the unsolved problems of race relations developed as a result of the rivalries of economic imperialism. As another example of the detrimental effects that Dubois was trying to explain, the quote in the beginning of Walter Rodney’s “Some Questions of Development” by Che Guevara exposes the wrath of the exploitation of dependent countries by developed capitalist countries. Guevara explains the nature of a capitalist system in which dependent countries face “the most abusive and barefaced forms of exploitation” (Rodney).

These perspectives from the Diaspora on colonialism are important for high school students to learn. In the process, students are being taught about the root of the issue with race relations. Issues that many students still face. Students will learn how imperialism and the exploitation of dependent countries by capitalist countries contributed to the system that we live in today. This history can help students to develop a critical consciousness about the society we live in. Unraveling these aspects of history for students will allow them to see the global impact of colonialism and why colonialism correlates to experiences of different types of people globally. Altogether, having this knowledge may even encourage students to explore their history more thoroughly, exposing and reconstructing contemporary ideas about race relations.

Another concept that should be taught to high school students is the Pan Africanism movement. Marcus Garvey, the center of this movement, was one of the first Black leaders “in American history to capture the imagination and loyalty of the black masses, the first to profoundly stir their racial pride by asserting that black, too, was beautiful, that theirs was a strong, proud race with its own exciting history, tradition, and culture, and with an equally exciting future to be won through racial solidarity” (Lynch). As the “Introduction” to Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey explains, Marcus Garvey influenced the Black Power movement and other pan-African nationalist. “His paramount political goal was to wrest the continent from the tyrannous European imperialist grasp and build a free, united, black Africa” (Lynch). Another aspect that this concept of Pan Africanism teaches is its impact on the Spanish Caribbean and Central America, an impact that is often overlooked as stated by Pedro R. Rivera in “Carlos A Cooks”: Dominican Garveyite in Harlem.

Pan Africanism is a concept that should be taught to high school students, especially students of color, because this concept dismisses the construction of how history has defined black people. Exposing this complexity will help reshape the views about race and society that many students face. Not only this, but for black students, learning this can assist in increasing diasporic consciousness and cultural confidence. Students learning about the greatness in their history, such as Marcus Garvey and the Pan Africanism movement, will allow them to see greatness in themselves and to critically critique the system in which we live in. This knowledge recognizes the presence of people of color is prominent movements and time periods, which will ultimately globalize the mindset of many students. Lastly, this concept should be taught in high school students because it may encourage the same passion for change that Marcus Garvey or that Carlos A. Cooks had.

The last African Diaspora & the World concept that should be taught to high school students is the New Negro Movement. The New Negro movement is significant because it is evidence of a cultural presence of Blacks in America. The presence is often overlooked when dissecting the history of literature and musical movements. Within the New Negro Movement were publications such as Fire!, which included short stories, poetry, and art by Black artists. The excerpts from Negritude: Black Poetry from Africa and the Caribbean were edited and translated by Norman Shapiro, a professor known for translating from French in theatre, verse, and black francophone literature (Shapiro). The exposure to this aspect of culture had beneficial influences on the black community as a whole when they were published. The language and the lives that these different outlets depicted commemorated a cultural pride and value in the lives of people. It also deconstructed the idea of what was considered to be artistic, that art did not only come from non-black people.

The Negro Movement and other movements like it should be taught to high school students because it exposes them to literature, poetry, and art that’s by different types of people. This is important for two reasons; it teaches students about a presence other than the white-European in major types of art, it also allows black students to identify with other artistic figures than those from white-European background. Just as the art from these movements uplifted black communities, students could also feel uplifted and feel further encouraged to purpose outlets of artistic expression. All in all, high school students should be taught the perspectives from the Diaspora on colonialism, Pan Africanism, and The New Negro Movement, because without the knowledge of ALL of our ancestors we will forever be lost as a society. The ability to acknowledge and understand the complexity of history will prove to benefit the outlooks and ideals of society today.

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