The month of July marked the 120th anniversary of the first Pan- African conference, held 15 years after the partition of Africa had been sealed at the Notorious Berlin conference. Trinidadian lawyer, Henry Sylvester Williams – who coined the terms ‘Pan- Africa” and “Pan- Africanism”- organized this meeting in London’s Westminster town hall in 1900. The idea was to promote the political, socio-economic and and cultural unity of African association in London in 1897 to lobby the British Parliament and public to oppose the violence of European Colonial rule in Africa, the lynching of black men in America, and the economic exploitation of the Caribbean.
The 1900 conference was where African- American scholar-activist, W.E.B Du Bois, uttered the remarkably prescient prophecy; ” The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.”
The attendees at the conference from U.S, the Caribbean and Africa addressed a message to Queen Victoria, complaining about the ill treatment of blacks in South Africa and Rhodesia. They also far- sighted to called for repatriations to be paid to Africans for slavery and Colonialism, as well as for self- government and recognition of the rights of women. Between 1919 and 1945, five Pan- African conferences were held, with Du Bois as the moving spirit. The western media heaped derision in this efforts.
The First Pan-African conference held in Paris in 1919.