That Martin Luther King Jr fought for civil rights, which made Obama’s advent possible, is well known. Less known is the role played by African American pathfinders among them William Edward Burghardt DuBois (1868-1963). Born free in the wake of the Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (1863), DuBois witnessed the Plessy v. Fergusson Supreme Court decision (1896) that kicked off the Jim Crow law period instituting legal segregation against blacks in public accommodations such as parks, hospitals, cemeteries, public transportation, schools etc.
In protest against Booker T. Washington’s Uncle Tom attitude, DuBois initiated the Niagara Movement (1905) leading to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) in 1909, twenty years before King was born.
The NAACP’s crowning achievement was the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court decision of 1954. When word of the December 1, 1955, incident – Rosa Parks’ arrest for refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger – reached the NAACP, its president quickly called a meeting of local community leaders. The result was the designation of King to lead the bus boycott in Montgomery. Following the success of the boycott, Martin Luther King became the great leader we all know. But for the NAACP handpicking him at the time, would his history have taken the same course?
DuBois had to confront another black leader as regards the solution to the plight of blacks in the western hemisphere. Marcus Aurelius Garvey (1889-1940), a Jamaican, not satisfied with what he termed "the unproductive tactics of the NAACP", launched his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in New York in 1917 with the militant slogan "Africa for Africans at home and abroad". Garvey’s "Back to Africa" was opposed to DuBois’ and NAACP’s "Negro rights by peaceful means in the USA".
As to the fate of Africans in Africa, unlike Garvey, DuBois revived the Pan-African Movement initiated by Henry Sylvester-Williams (1869-1911). Along the lines of the Pan-African conference the latter convened in Westminster Hall in London in 1900, the former called five Pan-African congresses, starting in 1919 in Paris and ending in Manchester (England) in 1945.
Pan-Africanism is, so to speak to Africans in Africa, what the civil rights movement was to Africans in America. Hence, the Obama success story is the way forward for Cameroon and Africa. We have to emulate our overseas kith and kin exemplary and steady struggle by accurately implementing the Pan-Africanist blueprint for society adopted by the 5th Pan-African Congress in 1945 as follows: Free African States from Western stranglehold and rule them according to universal democratic standards and unite those States that fulfil the above prerequisites so as to form the nucleus of the United States of Africa, destined to welcome the others as they fulfil the same yard-sticks.
After its so-called independence, Cameroon remains a country under the colonial pact because, instead of giving that independence to the nationalists who had fought for it, the French colonial masters preferred to grant it to the stooges in order to maintain us in a new form of subjection.
So, whither Cameroon? Let me borrow the answer from Barrister Sam Elad Ekontang (The Post N° 0953 Friday, May 23, 2008). Question: "One of the issues the SCNC has been advocating for is secession. Do you see Southern Cameroons seceding one day? Is the SCNC worthy of carrying the Anglophone course and succeed in their liberation struggle?" Answer: "If you believe in the vision of late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, late Nnamdi Azikiwe, they saw Africa as a bloc.
Frankly speaking, in today’s world where China is emerging as a major power, India, the United States of America, Europe, it doesn’t make a lot of sense imagining that because of all these deprivations Africans have suffered, there can be any force to reckon with. So, I really think that further fracturing these smaller unique states we have is not going to help Africans. I think that Cameroon should remain as it is and join other African countries so that we become a contending force in the world. The idea to secede is a result of the intransigence of La République to dialogue or accept that there is something to listen to."
We now know what tasks await us. Let us unite, organize and act. With a free Cameroon, let’s build the United States of Africa. That is, free Cameroon from France’s and her local proxies’ stranglehold by taking over power come 2011 and denouncing the accords forced on our country, namely the November 13, 1960, Cooperation treaty signed in Yaounde.
It would then be possible to implement our economic miracle in the likes of the South and East Asian dragoons and tigers, while joining other African States towards our genuine unity. Africa’s Obama will be the first President of the United States of Africa. That is Obama and way forward for (Cameroon and) Africa. It’s the Pan-Africanist revolution, a great vision! In a nutshell, the African Dream! Yes We Can!