African-American Reactions to war in Ethiopia, 1936-1941

Overview

In the early years of this century, the kingdom of Ethiopia captured the attention of many African Americans who saw in that small country's attempts to maintain its independence in the face of colonial encroachment a reflection of their own efforts to achieve freedom and equality in American society. Indeed, Ethiopia's history as an important African civilization had long made it the anchor upon which both continental and diaspora Africans based much of the Pan-African tradition. African-American sympathies with...
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Overview

In the early years of this century, the kingdom of Ethiopia captured the attention of many African Americans who saw in that small country's attempts to maintain its independence in the face of colonial encroachment a reflection of their own efforts to achieve freedom and equality in American society. Indeed, Ethiopia's history as an important African civilization had long made it the anchor upon which both continental and diaspora Africans based much of the Pan-African tradition. African-American sympathies with Ethiopia reached a particularly high level during the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1936-1941, which, pitting an aggressive European power against a much weaker, unoffending African country, symbolized for many the ongoing struggle between the races. In this diligently researched and illuminating book, Joseph E. Harris discusses the efforts of black Americans to assist Ethiopia and to claim their common heritage with Africans. Of particular importance were the efforts of African Americans to lobby the reluctant United States government to support Ethiopia. It was through such appeals that many groups and individuals - including Ralph Bunche, the Reverend William Imes, and William Leo Hansberry - found their political voices and discovered a new sense of identity and purpose that served them in subsequent battles for justice. This study, based on years of research in previously unanalyzed sources as well as on the author's personal acquaintance with many of the principal players in the events, makes an important contribution to our understanding of Pan-Africanism and the self-realization of American blacks through their identification and involvement with Africa. It also sheds light on how African Americans and Italian Americans affected domestic and foreign policy decisions of the United States government.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Harris (history, Howard U.) describes how African-Americans saw a symbolic microcosm of racial conflict and an analogy to their own struggle for freedom in Italy's military attempt to colonize Ethiopia in 1936-41, and how they organized protests, raised relief and support money, and even travelled to Ethiopia to join the resistance. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807118320
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1994
  • Pages: 185
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
I Early Encounters Between African Americans and Ethiopians 1
II Ethiopia and the Pan-African Connection 19
III Black Protests, Volunteers, and Recruitment 34
IV Fund Raising 63
V Italian-American Reactions 93
VI African-American Envoys to England 104
VII The Emperor's Special Envoy for the Western Hemisphere 120
VIII African Americans in the Reconstruction of Ethiopia 142
Conclusion 153
Appendix A: Ethiopian World Federation Locals: A Partial List 161
Appendix B: Aviation Cadets Trained by John Robinson's Team 167
Bibliographical Note 169
Index 171
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