Most people know about the forced emigration of millions of Africans to the Americas as slaves. Far fewer think of the voluntary flow of the descendants of those slaves back across the Atlantic to visit or live in Africa.
This traffic began during the slave trade and escalated briefly in the late 1700s during the settlement of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Over the years, a number of African-Americans have either moved to or visited various African countries. Many of these trips had political motivations and are seen as historical moments.
Lets take a look at seven of the more prominent African-Americans to visit Africa in the past sixty years.
William Edward Burghardt W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was a prominent African-American intellectual, activist, and pan-Africanist who emigrated to Ghana in 1961.
Du Bois was one of the leading African-American intellectuals of the early twentieth century. He was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a professor of history at Atlanta University. He was also one of the founding members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
In 1900, Du Bois attended the first Pan-African Congress, which was held in London. He helped draft one of the Congresss official statements, Address to the Nations of the World. This document called on European nations to grant a greater political role to African colonies.
For the next 60 years, one of Du Boiss many causes would be greater independence for African people. Finally, in 1960, he was able to visit an independent Ghana, as well as travel to Nigeria.
One year later, Ghana invited Du Bois back to oversee the creation of the Encyclopedia Africana. Du Bois was already over 90 years old, and he subsequently decided to remain in Ghana and claim Ghanaian citizenship. He died there just a few years later, at the age of 95.
Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X were the leading African-American civil rights activists of the 1950s and 60s. Both found they were welcomed