Umar Johnson has reached a pivotal point on how his legacy will be written down in history books. There are only 3 possibilities when it comes to his long time, crowd funded FDMG (Frederick Douglas – Marcus Garvey) Academy for boys. He’ll either succeed, fail, or bamboozle us all.
This is not a piece analyzing the viability of his school. This piece is a response to the announcement of the acquisition of the property. A lot of people, mainly his supporters are in high hopes that this will advance the liberation movement.
Johnson is the self proclaimed “Prince of Pan-Afrikanism” He has been on notable platforms like Breakfast Club and DJ Vlad. He travels the world to give speeches and lectures. New people opening up their consciousness to Black liberation will embrace him for his gift of gab.
The average person not schooled in political education will attribute Johnson to Pan-Afrikanism at face value, without realizing or researching the actual history. A lot of misinformation and misconceptions about Pan-Afrikanism float around all the time. I hope to clarify the direction of the Pan-Afrikan liberation movement whether this school is a success, failure, or complete fugazi.
In 1884 the Berlin Conference was a shift in consciousness from slavery to colonization. European barbarians settled their differences and planned the carving of Afrika of land and resources to empower their own countries. Almost as if it were a mystical ancestral response, in 1900, Afrikans in the diaspora began to organize themselves across the globe. The roots of Pan-Afrikanism started with the 1st Pan-Afrikan Conference organized by Henry Sylvester-Williams. This pioneer was a Trinidadian born in London.
W.E.B Dubois was one of the attendees. The conference was organized to deal with the problems facing Afrikans in the diaspora. This conference planted seeds of organization, which didn’t sprout for 19 years. Many of the conference attendees transitioned into the ancestral realm but W.E.B Dubois would continue to build on the format of the Afrikan diaspora getting together to discuss Black liberation.
He organized the 1st Pan-Afrikan Congress and presided over 5 congresses from 1919-1945. The 5th Pan-Afrikan Congress brought the likes of Jomo Kenyatta, C.L.R. James, Amy Garvey, George Padmore and future president of Ghana, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah has influenced by the work of the Honorable Marcus Garvey.
It was concluded that the mass character of the Pan-Afrikan movement was in harmony with the Honorable Marcus Garvey and the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) . The UNIA was founded in 1914. Malcolm X’s father, Earl Little was also part of UNIA.
Garvey embodied the spirit of Pan-Afrikanism with the UNIA but Garvey himself was inspired by Booker T Washington. Garvey represents a crucial characteristic of Pan-Afrikanism, independent organization outside of government. The 5th Congress called for mobile organization of mass political parties as the solution to confronting colonial-imperial-capitalism.
It’s no secret that Garvey had beef with Dubois. However, no matter how any Garveyite may feel, BOTH were critical pioneers of the movement.
Garvey’s RBG flag would inspire the Black star on the Ghanaian flag and influenced other flags on the continent after they gained independence. Dubois was a friend of Nkrumah and became more radical and Garveyite in his ideology later on in his life.
Kwame Nkrumah took Garvey’s spirit and mobilized Pan-Afrikan organization on a government level on Afrikan soil. Martin Luther King Jr went to Ghana for the independence announcement in 1957 and found a deep love for Afrika. Nkrumah would use Ghana as the headquarters to free the rest of the continent. Nkrumah would continue to build Afrikan Unity, he worked with several heads of state who advocated Pan-Afrikanism.
On April 15, 1958, in the city of Accra Ghana, Afrikan leaders and political activists convened at the first Conference of Independent African States, the 1st Pan-Afrikan Conference on Afrikan soil.
Government representation from Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Egypt. Also representatives of the National Liberation Front of Algeria and the Union of Cameroonian Peoples. Kwame Nkrumah revolutionized the legacy of Marcus Garvey’s Pan-Afrikan ambition. This conference laid the foundation to strategize and coordinate the liberation for the rest of Africa, and eventual unification.
The Conference called for the founding of African Freedom Day, a day to :
“mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.”Kwame Nkrumah
Five years later in the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia On May 25, 1963, leaders of thirty-two independent African States met to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU). At this time more than two thirds of the continent had achieved independence from colonialism.
At this historic meeting, the date of Africa Freedom Day was changed from April 15th to May 25th and Africa Freedom Day was declared African Liberation Day (ALD). African Liberation Day has been held on May 25th around the globe since. Many freedom fighters sacrificed for this movement: Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Maurice Bishop, Jomo Kenyatta and many more.
Malcolm X was sharpening his Pan-Afrikan influence by building the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) before he was assassinated. Modeled after the OAU, this was his final chapter of his legacy. Malcolm X going global is what the CIA was truly afraid of.
President of Guinea-Conakry, Sekou Toure gave Nkrumah refuge as co-president after Nkrumah’s government was overthrown by the CIA in 1966. International fears grew of his effective influence of independence.
Kwame Nkrumah’s legacy didn’t end with the downfall of his presidency. He called for the formation of All African People’s Revolutionary Party after he wrote “The Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare” in 1968. The party is still active to this day across the globe.
A well known Black liberation activist Kwame Ture, changed his name from Stokely Carmichael to reflect the architects of A-APRP political ideology, Kwame Nkrumah + Sekou Toure. Over his lifetime he worked with several different movements for the liberation of Afrikan people and he was a proud organizer of the A-APRP up until his death.
We’re the only liberation movement with a history, track record, curriculum and proven results. Even before the birth of Pan-Afrikanism, there is a history of resistance against colonial forces like Queen Nzinga and Warrior Yaa Asentewaa and many known and unknown stories during the time period of 16th century onward.
Our heroes were murdered for Pan-Afrikanism. If not assassinated, they’ve imprisoned, set up, surveilled and ostracized. We have future generations ready to become tacticians in this movement because we have a history, pain, motivation and most importantly, our resolve.
It’s safe to say that Pan-Afrikanism is the only movement that constantly and consistently produces freedom fighters for Black liberation.
I SAY ALL THAT TO SAY THIS
Today we have Umar Johnson who calls himself Prince of Pan-Afrikanism or “Big POPA”, in the final stages of starting his school. . . He has put himself in front of Pan-Afrikan history. He is a sophisticated speaker, he is able to tap into pain of Black people.
The truth is Johnson is still earning his legacy in Pan-Afrikanism. He isn’t the legacy, he isn’t making the legacy. He is attempting to solidify himself as more than just a speaker. Marcus Garvey also traveled the world to speak but he did so to start a mass organization through the UNIA. Mr. Johnson is only building his following as he travels around the world.
Johnson is a one man show, a very effective one for that matter. He goes from city to city, country to country speaking for years now. He has elevated his status into celebrity. Only time will tell what the end result of the school will be. However, whether he succeeds, fails or was a fraud the whole time, the liberation movement will continue.
The future of the Pan-Afikan movement isn’t depending on the FDMG Academy. There are too many groups and lots of other work being done to advance the liberation of our people. Umar has only built his following to be one of the biggest voices today.
Everybody has to make a choice, thousands of people around the world are watching, waiting for the grand opening of the academy.
People who choose to support Umar, the ones who have defended Umar will be the one’s accountable, whether he succeeds or fails.
Long live a United Scientific Socialist Afrika according to Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah.
Forward Ever. Backward Never.
Peace and Blessings