I had the pleasure of attending one of Dr. Cornell West’s lectures a while back. He spoke to us about Ferguson, Obama, and even Kendrick Lamar. It really was amazing. During his talk there was something Dr. West said that really stuck to me. He stressed how important it was for young people of color to THINK CRITICALLY about everything that is going on around us. In the world we live in today, it is easy for us to get lost in reality tv and superficial glamour. Those things often distract us from the real issues.
So I put together some black leaders that I have come to admire over the years. To allow us to reflect on our past, and using this past to build a strong future. Reading their work and hearing their speeches has really opened my eyes to some of the inconvenient truths we have gone through as a people. They have also inspired me to become more aware of the world I live in, and what I can do to change it for the people who will come after me.
1. PATRICE LUMUMBA | CONGO
If I could meet someone dead or alive it would most definitely be Lumumba. Patrice is often refered to as the Malcolm X of Africa. He served as Congo’s first prime minister after the Congo gained independence from Belgium in 1963. He was successful in taking steps of making Congo an economic powerhouse by nationalizing its natural resources. unfortunately he was killed murdered before he could do so.
2. WALTER RODNEY | GUYANA
Walter Rodney taught the importance of black power, black liberation, and African consciousness. His teachings helped developed what would later become the Caribbean Black Panther Movement. Rodney was also deeply involved in the fight for African liberation. His book, “How Europe underdeveloped Africa” exposes how Europeans have exploited the richest continent in the world.
3. MALCOLM X | HARLEM
A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of taking a course taught by a black professor, analyzing the life, thought, and death of Malcolm X. Not only did this course change the way that I viewed this Man but, this course also changed my life. Malcolm X is truly an INSPIRING human being. The vision that he had for Black people was powerful and completely realistic. unfortunately, I cannot really explain Malcolm in one tiny article. You have to get to know him yourself. I suggest you read his autobiography.
4. MIRIAM MAKEBA | SOUTH AFRICA
Miriam is just an African songstress to most people but, she is so much more. Makeba grew up in the era of apartheid and she used her platform to fight for her people. Her courage played a major role in shedding light on the social injustices going on in South Africa. Makeba spoke in front of the UN, shared her truth in interviews and her music. Makeba was even banned from returning to South Africa because of her opinions.
5. MUAMMAR GADDAFI | LIBYA
Okay I know what you’re thinking why TF is the man listed?!? I’m not going to act like Gaddafi is an angel because he is not. The man was not perfect. Remember things that happened in Libya happens all over the world it is just covered up better. Gaddafi saw the big picture he had BIG plans for Africa. He wanted to keep Africa African. Under his power the man opened his own state bank, provided free healthcare to all its citizens and made sure everyone had a home in his country.
I hope this article inspires you to take some time out and learn more about our powerful African brothers and sisters. Don’t let their ideas die it is up to us to keep fighting so educate yourself! Because knowledge is something that they can’t steal from you.