African History Reflection Day 2020: Interrogating Language Of Identity

Monday Aug. 31, 6-9pm


A forum for discussing African identity terminologies in the centenary year in which the African History Reflection Day concept was sown.

“We are the only group in the world who deny ourselves, preferring to be known as “Negroes” rather than Africans. In order to know ourselves we must learn about African history and culture. This is one of the most important steps towards creating unity among Africans at home and abroad.” Walter Rodney

History consultant and TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question) co-ordinator Kwaku will lead this African History Reflection Day (AHRD) discussion on identity politics and language, using the backdrop from the first pan-African conference, through to the founding of the UNIA-ACL, its first international convention from which the seeds for AHRD were sown, to today’s Black Lives Matter movement, to underscore his points.

The audience will have a chance to respond and also feedback using a poll to test strength of feeling about certain points.

Here’s some food for thought to get you thinking on the issues, and the importance of language and terminologies when dealing with either identity politics, anti-racism or history:

African, Black, or People Of Colour?

African Origin, African Heritage, or African Descent?

Afro-Caribbean, African-Caribbean, or Caribbean?

African Caribbean, African or African/African/Caribbean?

African British or British African?

Black History, Africana Studies or African History?

BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or AAME (African, Asian, Minority Ethnic)?

Racism, Afriphobia, or Anti-Black Racism?

Caribbean or West Indian?

Black History Month or African History Month?

Slave or Enslaved?

Slavery or Chattel Enslavement?

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade or Trans-Atlantic Trafficking of Enslaved Africans?

Slavery Memorial Day, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, or International Day of African Resistance Against Enslavement?

#BlackLivesMatter, #AfricanLivesMatter or #BlackLivesMatter/#AfricanLivesMatter?

The body that organised the 1900 Pan-African Conference was the African Association, which was led mainly by African-Caribbean people.

Marcus Garvey simultaneously set up the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) and the ACL (African Communities League) as sister organisations in 1914.

When the likes of John Archer and John Alcindor co-founded the African Progress Union in 1918, it was meant to be “an Association of Africans from various parts of Africa, the West Indies, British Guiana, Honduras and America.”

In America, when they talk about Black, that’s in reference to a person of African heritage. But is the same true in Britain? No. So should we consider an alternative to say #AfricanLivesMatter, like #AfricanLivesMatter, or the combination of the two?

Finally, when Marcus Garvey was asked ‘Are you an African or a Jamaican?’ he replied ‘I will not give up a continent for an island.’

See also TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question) Manifesto 2020+ and The Politics Of Racism, Terminologies And Imagery.

There will be African-centred bespoke mugs on sale. Any purchases made during the event will be post free.

The event is part of marking Marcus Garvey/UNIA-ACL 80:100 and UN’s International Decade For People Of African Descent (IDPAD) initiative.

This is meant to be an inter-generational event, so you are welcome to bring young people.

Produced by BTWSC/African Histories Revisited in association TAOBQ (The African Or Black Question). Click here to access our other events.

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