Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Ta-Nehisi Coates: "The Negro Sings of Zionism", 2008

As a dude who came up banging Malcolm's "Ballot or The Bullet" like it was the Wu-Tang Forever, who recited Garvey's "Look For Me In The Whirlwind" at the school assembly, Israel is like a parallel universe, what Liberia could have been with the alteration of a few key historical variables.

I'd mentioned it before, and updated my response, but it still didn't sink in. He apologized later for ignoring Palestinians. I don't think he's said anything about Liberia. I encouraged people to follow the links, but that's my father on the right of the bottom pic, with my uncle and grandmother. And I guess I should add at this point that the upper left is Ed Koch.

Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It, 2014 

The UNIA envoy soon uncovered something even more insidious at work. “While in Monrovia, I went to a dry goods and bought several yards of khaki to have two pairs of trousers made,” Garcia reported to Garvey. “As I was stepping out of the store, my companion (an Americo-Liberian) told [me]: ‘Why, I don’t suppose you are going to carry this bundle yourself?’ ‘Why not?’ said I; ‘it is a very small parcel.’ He answered that it was not the custom in Liberia for any gentleman to carry parcels; therefore the usefulness of having slaves.” Visitors to Liberia, particularly white ones, had long accused the Americoes of mistreating the natives, but a similar assessment from Garcia would likely spark a controversy.
A South African filmmaker on Key and Peele, 2013 
What’s not included in the video above was their introduction to the live studio audience where Peele announces: “OK, so Africa is a fucked up place.” To which Key, seemingly surprised, responds in a disingenuous defense of Africa: “You wouldn’t want to see the Nile? The plains of the Serengeti?” Which is really just the vehicle for which Peele’s lambasting can continue: “You have flyover states. Now, to me that’s a flyover continent.” And the pièce de résistance: “Slavery was an awful thing. Silver lining? It got my ass out of Africa.” The follow up to which was the skit depicting two slaves who get increasingly jealous that no one is bidding for them at the slave auction.

Garvey in 1924

"we are asking the world for a fair chance to assist the people of Liberia in developing that country as the world is giving the Jew a fair chance to develop Palestine" 

Yogita Goyal, "Black Nationalist Hokum: George Schuyler's Transnational Critique", 2014

Du Bois in 1919: 

"The African movement means to us what the Zionist movement must mean to Jews, the centralization of race effort and the recognition of a racial front"  

In 1924 on Liberia

"[I]t was absolutely necessary for the Government to take a high hand with them [indigenous peoples] in order to assure them that it really was a government otherwise the tribal chiefs would take matters into their own hands."

Tamba E. M'bayo, "W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Pan-Africanism in Liberia, 1919–1924", 2004

Du Bois May 1948: 

"Young and forward thinking Jews, bringing a new civilization into an old land and building up that land out of the ignorance, disease and poverty into which it had fallen, and by democratic methods to build a new and peculiarly fateful modern state".

Michael W. Williams, "Pan-Africanism and Zionism: The Delusion of Comparability", 1991


Almost no trauma was powerful enough to shake Du Bois' faith in Liberia. In 1931, an investigation by the League of Nations revealed the extensive use of unpaid labor in Liberia and the continuing trade in forced labor between Liberia and the Spanish cocoa plantations on Fernando Po, conducted under the tolerant eyes of President King and Vice-President Allen Yancey. Nevertheless, Du Bois did not direct the main force of his criticism at Liberia. In March, 1931, he lashed out at those who singled out Liberia for attack while ignoring forced labor in European-occupied Africa. Du Bois' apology for the Liberians moved George Schuyler to pose a rhetorical question for the editor of the Crisis: "are we not to expect that Negro colonists who are so excessively religious and shout 'The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here' will be more humane to their black native wards than would white colonists?" "Right is right and wrong is wrong," Schuyler insisted, "regardless of the color of the individuals or groups involved, and admiring you immensely as I do for your courage and tenacity in persistently championing the cause of colored he informed Du Bois, "I am sorry that you permitted your belligerent and commendable Negrophilism to warp your vision in the case of the Liberian racketeers."

Frank Chalk, "Du Bois and Garvey Confront Liberia: Two Incidents of the Coolidge Years", 1967

Cedric Robinson "W.E.B. Du Bois and Black Sovereignty", 1990, at Verso

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