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(1914) John Edward Bruce, “Sons of Africa”

In 1913, 57-year-old John Edward Bruce, one of the leading black nationalist figures in the United States, founded the Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa with the goal of freeing the African continent from colonialism and unifying its people.  In the speech below, given at an undisclosed location, Bruce describes the organization.


About a year ago, I conceived the idea of organizing a society of Black and Colored men, to be known as the “Sons of Africa” and to be international in scope and to embrace in its membership men of all the darker races who have a grievance of any sort against the race which is now dominating the earth and reaping where it has not sown. In talking the matter over with Dr. Martin our host, he suggested, and I think well of the suggestion that we make the organization an order and enjoin upon the members secrecy. The psychological moment has I believe arrived for Negroes and colored men the wide world over to get together and to fight for every right with all our might. We must organize to secure uniformity of utterance and action among the darker races and to meet organized wrong with intelligently organized resistance.

The Slogan of the patriots of the American Revolution was:

Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty. The black and colored races can well afford to adopt it as their slogan for the liberties of both the wide world over were never more endangered by the grasping nations of the world than at the present time. The settled policy of the dominant race for the past one hundred years or more has been, and still is, to dominate and control all other races who wear “the shadowed livery of the burnished sun!” India, Africa, the West Indian Islands, the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico. And wherever the white man has been permitted or has forcibly inserted the thin edge of the wedge he has left a withering blight all along his pathway. His consuming desire is to pose as a world power at the sacrifice of the rights and interests of the so-called backward races. His