CELEBRATING THE CENTENARY 0F GEORGE PADMORE - African Revolutionary
Born in Trinidad in 1902,George Padmore was effectively the leader of the African Revolution from the time the Third Communist International -The Commintern made him leader of their Negro Section, up to the time he died in 1959.
This writer takes the view that George Padmore almost changed the world single-handedly in the last century. He stands out among the African men born in the Caribbean who changed the world for the better in that century.
He had a single purpose in life. That was to free
Africa from colonial domination. He indicated this
early in his life. After his marriage in 1924, he had to leave his pregnant wife in Trinidad to enrol at Fisk University (USA). He left instructions that whether the child was a boy or girl, the child must be named Blyden after Edward Wilmot Blyden. For Padmore, Edward Wilmot Blyden was the Caribbean African non-pariel (he had no living equal).
Having been given power and authority by the
Commintern, with offices in Moscow, Vienna and
Hamburg, he broke decisively with Moscow and the
Commintern when they no longer served his purpose in life. The rise of fascism in Germany in the 1930s led to the Soviet Communist Party changing their anti-colonialist line.
They claimed that there was a distinction between
Democratic Imperialists -Britain, France and the USA and fascist imperialists - Germany, Italy and Japan. Padmore's response was that Germany and Japan did not have colonies in Africa and the United States was the most race prejudiced country in the world.
Moving to London in 1935, he linked up with his
boyhood friend C. L. R. James. Here, he formed the
International African Service Bureau. He wrote, spoke demonstrated and protested against colonialism in Africa while eking out a living as a Journalist. He wrote numerous books and pamphlets. The book for which he is remembered most being PAN AFRICANISM OR COMMUNISM.
It was C. L. R. James who, by this time living in the USA, gave Kwame Nkrumah a letter of introduction to Padmore. Of Padmore, Nkrumah says:
"When I first met George...we thought along the same lines and talked the same language. There existed between us that rare affinity for which one searches for so long but seldom finds in another human being. We became friends at the moment of our meeting and friendship developed into that desirable relationship that exists between brothers."
When the United Gold Coast Convention invited Kwame Nkrumah to return to Ghana to lead the CGCC, it was Padmore who persuaded him to accept the challenge. Having listened to C. L. R. James' lecture "Nkrumah, Padmore and the Ghanaian Revolution" given at The Institute of the Black World in Atlanta (USA) in 1971, this writer is convinced that the plans Nkrumah implemented on his return to Ghana were worked out with Padmore prior to his return.
When Ghana became independent, Padmore became
Nkrumah's Adviser on African Affairs. Padmore
organised the first meeting of Independent Africa's Heads of States, then he organised the first All African Peoples Congress, and then he died in 1959.
He was cremated in London. His ashes were returned to Ghana at Nkrumah's request and interred at Christianborg Castle. Then, Nkrumah said, "One day the whole of Africa will surely be free and united and when the tale is told, the significace of George Padmore's contribution will be revealed." One contemporary British described Padmore as "The silent hero of the Ghanaian Revolution."
Despite the CIA coup that overthrew Nkrumah, Ghanaians never forgot Nkrumah. At the very first opportunity, they established the george Padmore African Research Library In Accra.
Pan Africanists in London will be celebrating
Padmore's centenary on June 13th at the African
Caribbean Cultural Centre at Clarendon road, Hornsey, London N8. Speakers include Thamie Ka Plaatjie, the Secretary general of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. It was Padmore's influence that led Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe to set up the PAC. Other speakers come from Angola, Gambia, Ghana and Zimbabwe. Calypsonian Tobago Crusoe and others will perform the cultural
aspect of this celebration.
I do not see the professors of Pan African Studies
rushing to organise conferences ion George Padmore. I wonder if this is because a study of Padmore's life will show what useless characters they are.
Syuggested Reading: BLACK REVOLUTIONARY - George
Padmore's path from Communism to Pan Africanism.
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