In the summer of 1900, the reformer Henry Sylvester Williams—born in Trinidad but a resident of London—organized the first Pan-African Conference, an international gathering to consider the conditions facing people of African descent. In a keynote address at the London-based conference, the African American intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois spoke directly “To the Nations of the World” when he prophesied that the problem of the twentieth century would be the global color line: that is, the elevation of whiteness that was creating a racially divided world.1 Williams’s staging of the first Pan-African conference and Du Bois’s warning about the color line are examples of how the quickening of globalization offered opportunities for reformers to consider international issues.
Globalization shrinks the world, creating connections outside each individual’s immediate locale and providing opportunities for an expanded understanding of the world and of human experience. In varying degrees of intensity, it promotes an awareness that is directly associated with modernity.2 Powered by industrialization and fueled by imperialism, global interconnectivity increased profoundly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While European nation-states had long been at the forefront of modern imperialism, the United States took part in this global imperial push, despite its long-standing exceptionalist claims to the contrary.3
In an era marked by technological improvements in transportation and communication, the world witnessed increased connections among multiple sites around the globe, links that stretched beyond nation-to-nation or regional interactions. The pace of Euro-American imperialism increased political, economic, and ideational connections, which were framed as evidence of modernity and progress. Williams and Du Bois understood that this connectivity gave them a chance to reflect on the past and predict the future of a modern global world. Yet even as both men sought international forums, they were forced to reckon with the motivating force of imperialism as it emanated largely from specific nation-state interests.
The construction and authority of the nation-state also connect to understandings of modernity in the Euro-American context, which involved the transfer of authority from traditional sources, such as church and crown, to the individual. This shift emphasized the human capacity for awareness and agency and, in turn, promoted new ideas about political life and governing order. In some parts of Europe and the Americas, it helped to initiate the social contracts of the liberal republican revolution whereby individuals agreed to form representative bodies and invest them with authority and the power of governance in exchange for protections and rights.4 By the late nineteenth century, the nation-state—a locus of authority and power with specific sets of practices and interests—was a defining institution of modernity, both the arbiter of imperialism and the main conduit for the realization of political rights.
Race relations overlapped with both Euro-American imperialism and nation-state practices concerning political rights.5 The pace of imperialism only intensified these questions, and race relations informed Du Bois’s description of the problem of the global color line. His characterization remains prophetic as well as an oft-referenced starting point for scholarship.6 Less emphasized, however, is the fact that it occurred at an international gathering of people of African descent. Moreover, “To the Nations of the World” was not a statement of acquiescence but a call to “crown” the work of abolitionism by opening to all individuals, regardless of skin color, the “opportunities and privileges of modern civilization.”7 The 1900 Pan-African Conference and the wider Pan-African network posited the struggle for post-emancipated rights as a global issue transcending borders. Crucially, both the conference and Du Bois’s speech contested the construction of racialized hierarchies and were part of a Pan-African challenge to the global color line.
This book analyzes the Pan-African challenge to the construction of the global color line during a period roughly framed by two international forums: the 1884–85 Berlin Conference and the 1911 Universal Races Congress. At the Berlin Conference, Euro-American powers constructed a normative “standard of civilization” to guide the course of imperialism. It not only called for the fair treatment of colonized peoples but also articulated a language of social equality and political rights. Of course, imperialism was rife with practices that violated these normative standards and Pan-Africanists consistently challenged these transgressions. The Pan-Africanists I study also recognized that post-emancipated people of African descent had legal standing as subjects and citizens of the British Empire and the United States, and they connected their protest of imperial practice to their ongoing claims to their rights.
This protest, however, had difficulty navigating a related Euro-American standard of civilization, one that constructed a template of progress that measured preparedness for equality and citizenship. While this standard presented itself as merit-based and open to all, it was, in fact, connected to the practice of exclusionary racial classification. In a period abounding in quasi-scientific Darwinian language, the belief in biological essentialism informed widespread practices that linked observable characteristics such as skin color to preparedness. This consistently blocked meaningful consideration that people of African descent could meet the level of preparedness established by the standard. Members of this group recognized that biological essentialism and racial categorization continued to shackle their aspirations to rights and equality. As my book documents, while they continued to give evidence of their progress and achievements and asserted concepts of racial destiny, Pan-Africanists denounced the notion that skin color should be the basis for the denial of equality and rights. By the time of the 1911 Universal Races Congress, Pan-Africanism had become more critical of the practices of imperialism and was beginning to question the standard of civilization that these practices violated. Against the background of continued challenges to biological essentialism (as summarized by Franz Boas in an address to the Universal Races Congress), Pan-Africanists were also reinterpreting African history and understanding African cultures in ways that did not demonstrate adherence to Euro-American standards of civilization. These shifts in Pan-African thought prefigured a turn toward anticolonialism as the answer to the problem of the global color line.
World’s Fairs and the Savage South Africa Exhibit
When planning the first Pan-African Conference, Henry Sylvester Williams certainly considered the symbolic power of the first year of the twentieth century, and he explicitly looked to stage it to coincide with the popular international platform of world’s fairs—specifically, the 1900 Exposition Universelle, held in Paris. World’s fairs were pinnacle statements in the late nineteenth century’s explosion of Euro-American international gatherings fashioned as expressions of a connected, fast-modernizing world.8 Inaugurated by the 1851 Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London, world’s fairs, by century’s end, had become very popular, and the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris was a culminating turn-of-the-century international event. It was the highest-attended world’s fair to date, received substantial international coverage, and was an archetypal representation of modern experience.
This modern experience represented at world’s fairs was directly linked to Euro-American imperialism.9 The fairs evoked confidence that such knowledge was central to the mastery of nature and the advancement of science. The exhibitions featured products from the colonies and showcased technological advances in resource extraction, transportation networks, and communication links that informed the Euro-American shrinking of the world. This display of globalizing expertise strengthened a deeper ideological commitment to the measuring of progress according to western norms, which endorsed Europe and America as leaders of the modern world. Further, world’s fairs, while constructing the backdrop of this superiority, also allowed the individual host nations (primarily through the hosting itself) to claim that they were leaders in modernity and progress.
World’s fairs often confirmed confidence in Euro-American leadership and superiority through the notion of the ethnographic other, a dichotomous conception of racial difference with strong connotations of inferiority. In the popular entertainment areas of the fairs (known as the midway), this dichotomy was often displayed in stark depictions of savages and civilized people. Such perpetuation of the ethnographic other was part of the projection and maintenance of difference that, as Frederick Cooper and Ann Stoler argue, “justified different intensities of violence” in an imperial world.10 A rich literature demonstrates how world’s fairs contributed profoundly to the Euro-American control of others during periods of imperialism.11
Constructing racial difference as savage versus civilized sought to cement Euro-American superiority. Of course, this perpetuation of racial difference has a long history. However, quasi-scientific references incorporating language found in Charles Darwin’s 1859 On the Origin of Species significantly empowered the legitimacy of difference based on race. There were two important variants of these social theories, and both placed biological considerations at the forefront. The first, labeled social Darwinism, argued that race was a permanent biological characteristic intimately connected to behavior. The second, labeled scientific racism, argued that, while biology still dictated racial difference, there was capacity for behavioral change resulting from interaction with the environment. This perspective borrowed Lamarckian ideas of adaptive, heritable acquisition of traits to imply that racial groups could advance (or degenerate) along the racialized continuum. The first theory often resulted in “survival of the fittest” discourse, which generated strategies of control and domination, while the second was at the core of uplift strategies. These classifications were constructed partly to help further understanding, and in practice they did not exist in isolation. Indeed, social theorists argued that a host of different permutations concerning race could exist, as long as they were verified by Darwinian sounding terms or logic. Of course, both of these biologically based theories are wrong. Not only do phenotype distinctions have limited, if any, connection to behavior or natural selection, but the idea of Lamarckian inheritance was discredited near the turn of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, racialized pseudo-science intimately linked biology to constructions of so-called savage peoples and lent credibility to the ethnographic other, whether in stark depictions at world’s fairs or in the folds of the temporally open-ended periods of uplift and tutelage. Thus, a fundamental challenge facing people of African descent was debunking biologically based theories that were used to justify the promotion of the global color line.12
The construction of the ethnographic other was evident to the British anti-imperial critic J. A. Hobson, who argued that the flood of imperial propaganda aroused ever-growing fascination with the colonial “wild.” According to him, creating this interest through imperial tropes accomplished two objectives. First, it contributed to the adoption of imperialism’s civilizing mission by the metropole’s cultured and semi-cultured population. Second, it made a sensationalist appeal to the “primitive lusts,” which, for Hobson, referred to the vicarious desire of the popular masses for bloodshed associated with imperialism. That these lusts were framed within the modernity of consumption not only reminded viewers of their own evolutionary path from the primitive but also provided a safe distance to support the imperial project of domination. The phenomenon was at the core of jingoism, which was “merely the lust of the spectator, unpurged [sic] by any personal effort, risk, or sacrifice.” To Hobson, this support from a detached yet superior perspective prepared the way for imperial capitalists to pursue a “policy fraught with material gain to a minority of co-operative vested interests which usurp the title of the commonwealth.”13
While Hobson throughout his career concentrated on denouncing the capitalist exploitation associated with imperialism, he also provided insights on race relations; and in these commentaries, he certainly retained racialized paternalism.14 His insights on forums like world’s fairs captured how spectacle viewing endorsed the superiority of Europe and America and provided an integral backdrop for modern imperialism. The midways’ depiction of the ethnographic other presented modern-day spectators with a journey through the stages of humankind that reified Euro-American imperialism vis-à-vis racialized difference. Historically, African peoples were seen as a readily accessible canvas on which to paint racial difference and had long been subjected to intense Euro-American imperial control and violence.
Only a few miles away from London’s Westminster Town Hall, where the 1900 Pan-African Conference took place, a host of exhibitions and performances catering to imperial sentiment were staged regularly at the Empress Theatre at Earl’s Court Arena during the 1890s.15 In July 1899, a year before the Pan-African Conference, the Greater Britain Exhibition opened. The gathering followed the world’s fair template, offering evidence of material progress in the empire and presenting visual spectacles for fairgoers that pandered to patriotic imperial sentiment. With an emphasis on “loyalty to Mother Country,” the exhibition sought to legitimize claims of empire by creating a sense of unity among people in the colonies and the metropolis.16
This unity was not one of equality. The 1899 Greater Britain Exhibition elevated a standard of whiteness that sought to order the imperial moment by contributing to what Du Bois labeled “a global color line” at the Pan-African Conference. Charles Dilke’s 1868 book Greater Britain, the establishment of the dominion of Canada in 1873, and William Gladstone’s Home Rule Bill for Ireland in 1886 together promoted calls for autonomy from the empire’s settler colonies and stimulated the dominion movement of the late nineteenth century. Accompanying this dominion push was the perception of a rising threat from the “lower races” in the international racial struggle.17 Those sympathetic to dominion argued that colonies with sufficient British settlers deserved latitude regarding local rule as well as distinction from other non-Anglo imperial possessions.18 The dominion movement argued that unity in empire should be in line with racialized worldviews and that whiteness not only linked the colonies to the metropole but also prefigured self-rule in the colonies. While the 1899 Greater Britain Exhibition did not articulate an official position on the dominion movement, it contained disproportionate testaments to advances in Australia, the most recent area to lobby for a realignment of the colonial relationship.19
As the Greater Britain Exhibition lauded the progress of Australia, it also affirmed Anglo loyalty and racial hierarchies using the depiction of the ethnographic other. Indeed, the main attraction at the Empress Theatre, Savage South Africa, was performed twice daily before well-attended audiences at a prime location of the exhibition.20 These performances, the only display at the exhibition that was acted out as a show, presented Africans as a violent threat, accentuated the lines between savage and civilized, and catered to the crude lust of the white metropolitan public. Central to the show was the reenactment of the 1896 Matabele War in Rhodesia. This segment included a scene depicting the Matabele massacre of white homesteaders and Chief Lobengula (reportedly played by the real chief’s son) calling for the annihilation of the white man. The performance ended with the famous Rhodesian settler column defeating the Matabele and restoring white order.21
This trumpeting of racial difference vis-à-vis replications of war and violence took on a charged jingoistic tint because Great Britain was in the midst of the Boer War. In connection with this conflict, the exhibition took another liberty with constructions of the ethnographic other. The Savage South Africa exhibit included Boer peoples within the visual display of essentialized difference; and as the show’s handbill promised, it was “a sight never previously presented in Europe; a horde of savages, direct from the kraals, comprising 200 Matabeles, Basutos, Swazies, Hottentots, Malays, Cape and Transvaal Boers.”22 The Greater Britain Exhibition not only sought to affirm the dichotomy of savage and civilized through the common trope of Africa and its peoples but also used this platform to specifically drum up support for British efforts against the Boers in the South African War.
The Standard of Civilization
Although the Savage South Africa exhibit was wildly popular, it was also subject to a host of criticism, including protests from the organizer of the 1900 Pan-African Conference. Williams was offended by crass depictions of the ethnographic other represented by the exhibit and immediately denounced the production in a letter to the colonial secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, stating that the exhibition was counter to “your policy” and “demoralizing to the race.” Further, Williams echoed Hobson’s arguments when he condemned the sensationalist depiction of African peoples and protested that Savage South Africa was a “spectacle of constant ridicule and caricature.” He argued that the native Africans taken from their “primitive homes” should be introduced to the benefits of civilization during their stay in England. Touting potential British imperial rule as a dramatic improvement for African peoples in comparison to Boer authority, he declared that an introduction to “Christian civilization,” would not only help the African participants in Savage South Africa but also benefit “their people” upon their return to Africa.23
While influenced by racialized hierarchies, Williams implied in these calls that all people of African descent had the capacity to participate in the pursuits of the modern world and potentially meet the accompanying measures of progress. Indeed, a continuum of difference always accompanied stark dichotomies of savage and civilized, especially during imperialism, when the most notable complement to racialized hierarchies was the progressive zeal for uplift.24 The mission of uplift relied on positioning non-Anglos as inferior and sharing the message that their inferior status could be improved. Hence, while world’s fairs invariably depicted non-Anglos in subordinate positions, the very nature of a progressive scale implied that racial difference was not inherent or stable. This language of progressive uplift was in wide use at the meetings and resolutions of the Berlin Conference of 1884–85 and the 1890 Brussels Anti-Slavery Conference, the two international gatherings that officially sanctioned a new era of imperialism known as the Scramble for Africa.
The Berlin and Brussels conferences never wavered from their confidence in Euro-American superiority, promoting self-interest and security as prominent objectives for imperial powers, especially as they related to the continent of Africa. This blueprint sought to extend the marketplace, guarantee access to resources, and weigh balance-of-power objectives. As Gallagher and Robinson argue, this ordering used an array of informal and formal mechanisms, including economic agreements on trading rights and the imposition of political systems ranging from indirect rule to formal annexation.25 Whatever mechanisms and political systems were used, their results fundamentally marginalized colonial peoples through dispossession, exploitation, and violence. Yet the discourse of the conferences did not rely on racial difference as justification for this Euro-American imperial rule or even mention widely available theories of racialized competition and race extinction. Instead, the conferences consistently articulated theories of progress and uplift as part of the standard of civilization that had been constructed to order the international world.26 This standard of civilization did not ignore race or dismiss racial hierarchies, but it made the uplift of non-Anglo peoples a powerful stabilizer of the imperial project. Generally, humanitarian concern for the welfare of colonized people was its main emphasis. However, the conferences circumscribed earlier Christianity-based uplift as the core of the civilizing mission and indeed made allowances for religious toleration in the course of imperialism. This shift was accompanied by clear references to the state’s responsibility to its subjects, including a right-based script that referenced political representation.
The debates and resolutions of the Berlin and Brussels conferences and of the Lausanne Institute of International Law in 1888 did not emphasize Christianity as the bedrock of the civilizing mission. While the redemptive qualities of Christianity retained significant resonance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, all three conferences introduced watered-down support for its civilizing mission. Though the Berlin gathering protected missionaries operating in Africa and the proceedings of all three grounded their language in references to God and Christian morality, article 6 of the General Act of the Conference of Berlin limited the Christian uplift model by guaranteeing religious toleration and freedom of conscience to all “natives.”27 That article is representative of the conferences’ collective withdrawal from the primacy of religion. Moreover, while this shift may not have lessened the missionary impulse in practice, it did contribute to the questioning of long-standing confidence in the Christian imperial mission.
With this official retreat from religious confidences and prescriptions, the imperial conferences augmented the older message of Christian uplift with the articulation of political progress as a crucial aspect of the civilizing mission. Of course, the standard of civilization erected steep paternalist hurdles before colonized people could become full political subjects. However, without question, the language of political rights and agency for colonized peoples crept into the conferences. The committee commentary on the final clause of the Berlin Act, which explicitly guaranteed the “preservation of the native tribes,” also included the requirement that colonial powers had a duty to assist natives to “attain a higher political and social status.” Further, the representative from the United States to the Berlin Conference, John Kasson, argued that the “discoveries” in Africa “should be utilized for the civilization of the native races” and that “modern international law . . . leads to the recognition of the rights of native tribes to dispose freely of themselves and of their hereditary territory.”28 While Kasson’s notion was not included in the final clause of the Berlin Act, it contained a rights-based discourse that is emblematic of the shift away from the religious and toward the political.29
In its 1888 session at Lausanne, the Institute of International Law further defined the conditions under which so-called civilized states could claim sovereignty over a region. Lausanne continued Berlin’s move toward protecting freedom of conscience and religious faith. It also declared that authority over a territory demanded that colonial powers demonstrate respect for all rights—both individual and communal—of indigenous people as well as foreigners. By the time of the 1890 Brussels Anti-Slavery Conference, this discussion of rights intertwined with conditions necessary for European sovereignty had led to a more direct interrogation of colonialism: “The object of the congress is the study of the moral and social questions growing out of colonization.” Further, the conference recognized that the predicament of colonized peoples was a transnational issue: “Certainly, if there be one problem which can be said to be international, it is that of the condition of aboriginal peoples.”30 The participants at Brussels recognized the inextricable links between imperialism and race and understood that the relationship was in flux and subject to interrogation.
The answers to this examination were measures to promote antislavery, an agreement not to introduce alcohol to indigenous people, and the commitment to reduce the entry of firearms into Africa. The Brussels Conference, however, also considered the political conditions of colonized peoples. Pertaining to the retention of native cultural traditions and institutions, it stated, “As respects the organization of their family life, and the use of their property, it is desirable to leave the aborigines the benefit of their own customs.” The conference also argued that “aboriginal subjects” should have the means to defend their rights and seek redress of their grievances from colonial authorities and that “representative institutions” were the surest means of “putting aboriginal populations in a position to defend their rights.” Moreover, the conference’s language implied that colonial subjects should have a direct relationship with the state and that the state could intervene to secure rights. The Brussels conference not only contributed to the process of underwriting the imperial fervor launched by the Berlin gathering but also continued to contemplate its political implications.31
This pronounced shift in the international discourse was rarely reflected in practice and did not result in immediate change for colonized peoples. In terms of agency, the comment of Sir Edward Malet, Great Britain’s representative at the Berlin Conference, seems to have been especially understated: “I cannot forget that the natives are not represented among us, and that the discussions of the Conference will, nevertheless, have an extreme importance for them.”32 Regardless of how these supposedly international conferences considered rights, there was no direct voice for those who were most exploited by the imperialism that the meetings promoted. Moreover, while the language of Christian uplift became less prominent toward the end of the nineteenth century, a paternalist ethos restricted political rights with a distinct language of preparedness that tempered the reference to representative institutions. In the same sentence of the resolution at Brussels that hearkened to rights and representation, the conference added, “[We] consider that the regime of representative institutions is one that presupposes the concurrence of moral, intellectual, and political conditions which can be conceived of as realizable by aboriginal peoples only in a future more or less distant.”33
This statement reflects how the paternalist attachment of temporally open-ended “conditions” circumscribed the promise of political rights contained in the standard of civilization. Furthermore, it illustrates the gap between normative standards of liberal inclusion and exclusionary practice in the late nineteenth century.34 Indeed, the ability of both Europe and America to define the political standard of civilization while using measures of progress to defer sharing its benefits underwrote the projection of difference and the exertion of control and dominance. But Pan-Africanists recognized that the contradiction between promise and practice was where the imperial project was most vulnerable.35 Moreover, because the realization of rights inevitably involved an appeal to the nation-state, people of African descent had unique claims, given that emancipation in the British Empire and the United States had directly contributed to the formal definitions of subject and citizen.
Post-Emancipation and Citizenship
Rights for peoples of African descent in the British Empire and the United States originated in emancipation. In Great Britain, the 1833 Act for the Abolition of Slavery freed slaves throughout the empire, making all people in Britain and the colonies equal subjects of the crown.36 In the United States, the Thirteenth Amendment (1865) abolished slavery, and the Fourteenth Amendment (1868) granted citizenship and equal protection under the law to all people born or naturalized in the United States. These acts transformed the struggle over slavery into a discussion of what freedom meant in the British Empire and the United States. As such, debate over how ex-slaves might fit into the political body of a nation emerged on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet the attachment of voting rights—perhaps the most important symbol of modern political agency to these categories of citizenship—was contested throughout the nineteenth century. The British reform acts of 1832, 1867 and 1884, while progressively expanding the electorate, also retained property requirements and were applicable only to males. The Fourteenth Amendment in the United States prescribed penalties for the denial of voting rights to adult males, and the Fifteenth Amendment clarified that voting was a right of citizenship. While neither amendment mandated property requirements, both excluded women.37 The expansion of franchise in the British reform acts applied only to the people of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. In addition, reflecting the hesitancy regarding the expansion of the franchise to colonized peoples, voting rights in the colonies largely devolved to the control of the Colonial Office or the legislatures of the self-governing colonies.38 In 1877, the withdrawal of federal enforcement severely compromised the intended effect of the Fifteenth Amendment on voting rights and political participation for male ex-slaves in the former Confederate states. These conditions demonstrate that both Great Britain and the United States articulated some expansive but not wholly inclusive meanings regarding the rights connected to citizenship. And as this book emphasizes, the effects were conditioned by local contexts.
While subject and citizen had some basic formal definitions, what they meant and symbolized remained largely open-ended, which encouraged expansive understandings of rights. Crucially, these understandings were most readily seen in the discourse of those who were excluded from the privileges.39 After emancipation, the meaning of citizenship coalesced around the symbolic power of the ballot, which implied an entire host of rights: protections of corporal integrity; rights to freedom of speech, assembly, and contract; participation in the public sphere of civil society; and recognition of political equality. Thus, citizenship, in the modern sense, and especially for those outside its pale, meant valid and active participation in society.40 The scripts of Berlin and Brussels largely reflected the normative scripts of Anglo-American liberalism. And while the realization of the scripts was a process that was subject to the interests of the nation-state and refracted through both the global color line and local lenses, the notion of subject and citizen was a powerful symbol in post-emancipated reform.41
Although highly contested, subject to local conditions, and not uniformly enjoyed, there were real gains in the expansion of political rights in the British Empire after emancipation. In the British Cape Colony in southern Africa, for example, African males were given the vote—with relatively minimal qualification standards—in the Cape Constitution of 1853. The most notable experiment in citizenship for people of African descent in the British Empire occurred in Jamaica. By the 1840s, men of African descent had limited voting rights and small representation in the colony’s House of Assembly. Whatever inclusive promise these rights achieved and portended soon slipped amid the specific fears prompted by the violence of the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion and its subsequent reprisals and the 1857 Indian Mutiny. For much of British society, Morant Bay and the Indian Mutiny reaffirmed the argument that colonized peoples were unprepared for political participation, and the events intensified sentiments of inherent, permanent difference. In March 1866, Parliament declared Jamaica a crown colony and excluded all of the island’s African-descended population from selecting its governing legislative council.42
In the United States the experiment with African American citizenship began shortly after the Morant Bay Rebellion. With the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, the search for citizenship rights became a major focus of Reconstruction policies following the Civil War. There were initially some dramatic gains for people of African descent. Full possibilities of citizenship, however, remained elusive, and the end of activist Reconstruction in 1877 was a severe setback for post-emancipated rights. The perceived failings of post-emancipated experiments in both the United States and the British Empire highlight the Anglo-American retreat from expanded notions of citizenship for people of African descent.43 Crucially, however, despite the supposedly experimental nature of rights and their eventual reduction, they did accumulate some rights in the post-emancipated period.
These events in Jamaica and after Reconstruction illustrated that it would be an uphill struggle to permanently crown abolitionism with political rights. In some ways mainstream abolitionism contributed to this post-emancipated struggle. While voices within the movement clamored for post-emancipated political rights, a deep religious message was the primary building block of abolitionism. Relying heavily upon the ubiquitous mantra “am I not a man and a brother?” the movement fundamentally appealed to equality before God. Abolitionists also argued that slavery violated a basic conception of liberty—the freedom to dispose of one’s labor. The calls for free labor hearkened to a Lockean tradition, which argued that society and government had a responsibility to protect the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property.44 To many abolitionists, emancipation fulfilled the providential claim of equality before God and freed the chains of bondage labor. As abolitionists took solace in the fact that emancipation had achieved the goals of free labor and equality before God, post-emancipated urgency waned, especially as experimental rights were curtailed. While references to abolitionism never left the language of reform, a decidedly muted version of its application to people of African descent was the post-emancipated legacy of what was arguably the most successful reform movement of the modern era.45
The quickening of Euro-American imperialism, however, only increased contact among regions and peoples of the world and intensified the discourse on race relations. Evoking the transatlantic abolitionist focus on emancipation in the United States, post-emancipated conditions in the American South became a popular case study as the global racial encounter ensued. Just as the South was a central target of abolitionism, post-emancipated conditions in the United States comprised the main comparative context for the consideration of race relations in Great Britain and its empire.46
As Great Britain’s imperial encounter with Africans intensified in the late nineteenth century, the language of progress and citizenship—lost in the tumult of Morant Bay and the Indian Mutiny—slipped back into the discourse. As the empire negotiated race relations within its colonies, many in Great Britain (the self-proclaimed moral leader of the nineteenth century) were especially concerned with the progress of African Americans. In a 1882 article, the Pall Mall Gazette reprinted parts of a report from the American South that celebrated their advancement. Aligning with the imperial mission’s endorsement of the civilizing aspects of labor, the article stressed that “there is no better labourer than the negro to be found among any race of the world. . . . They are particularly suited for labour in semi-tropical climates.” The article also opined that African Americans were “fast-learning” and, “as they acquire education, they will become better citizens.”47 In 1889, the British Anti-Slavery Reporter reprinted an article from the London Times, which commented that “chiefs like Khama and Sechele and their people have shown themselves so capable of progress, and of assimilating civilised ideas and habits, that there is every good reason to hope that, under good guidance, they may become creditable British citizens.”48 Clearly a paternalist uplift agenda informed the “good guidance” of the Anti-Slavery Reporter, and the Pall Mall article reflects another popular strand in imperialist conversation—the distinctions made regarding the suitability of different races to the temperate and tropical zones—and overtly conflates uplift with labor efficiency. However, these statements indicate that the logical end of the civilizing mission—citizenship—was part of the era’s discursive debate about Euro-American imperial encounters with people of African descent, and the American South was often a comparative case.
Others did not search for evidence of progress but linked conditions in the South to the transgressions of late-nineteenth-century imperialism. The positivist movement, as I will discuss, offered a distinct critique of race relations. A representative passage in the Positivist Review lumped together lynching in the United States with a host of other affronts suffered by colonized peoples: “The sufferings of the natives of India, the practical slavery of thousands in South Africa, the lynchings in America, the horrors of the Congo, must make the most convinced optimist hesitate and qualify his statements.”49 Theoretical understandings of colonialism emphasize the metropolitan-colonial distance but also allow for concepts of internal colonialism.50 The conditions facing people of color in the British Empire and the United States, while subject to local variation, had similar characteristics of marginalization. These conditions not only suggest that the South qualified as a colonial space but also reiterate that the color line was global in nature.51 This helps explain why Pan-Africanists directed their protest across nation-state boundaries.
Pan-African activists who challenged the global color line were transnational actors.52 Beyond critiquing similar conditions across nation-state boundaries, they also used the historical legacy of slavery, the common post-emancipated position of people of African descent in modernity, and new understandings of Africa as a platform of connectivity. Further, they crafted their protest in an international fashion. This global activism was not only expressed in a vibrant Atlantic-based print culture but was also pitched toward a changing Anglo-American progressivism that was navigating the dislocations of modernity.53 This progressivism distanced itself from the classic liberal concentration on individual freedom and instead conceptualized society as a social organism. The shift did not completely jettison individualism, and many social theorists were suspicious of ideologies that suggested a social path toward realizing individual rights. Yet the emphasis on organic holism created an ethical commitment to mutual responsibility. This progressivism also encouraged immediate statist intervention into the workings of society and pushed the consideration of the state’s responsibility to its citizens. The belief in the interconnectivity of society, the commitment to ethical responsibility, a sense of immediacy, and an understanding of the interventionist role of the state combined with the implications of the standard of civilization to reinvigorate discussions of reform and rights.
Nonetheless, the use of the term organism in the language of progressivism was a reminder of the continuing relevance of Darwinian language. Transatlantic progressive ideology suggested a discussion of reform and rights and did not support overt platforms of competition and control. Aspects of obdurate racialized essentialism reflected in strategies of imperial control and represented in displays of the ethnographic other were readily available. The ubiquity of, at the minimum, racialized hierarchies prevented mainstream reformer efforts from fully considering what was obvious to Pan-Africanists: the pressing need for post-emancipated equality and rights. Thus, the Pan-African activists whom I focus on in this book had a difficult relationship with mainstream progressivism, usually feeling in but not of the conventional reform movement. Reflective of this tension was the inclusion of Du Bois’s American Negro exhibit in a turn-of-the-century statement of transatlantic reform—the Musée Social at the 1900 Exposition Universelle—that took place against the backdrop of the display of the ethnographic other on the midway of the world’s fair.
The American Negro exhibit coincided time-wise with the first Pan-African Conference in London. Both were important markers for people of African descent who were conversant with the standard of civilization and used transnational networks and forums to critique the processes of rights accumulation within particular nation-state frameworks. Historians today study such networks to consider the specific discursive content and policy successes of the actors and to investigate the cultural context of the participants.54 Network studies often take a transnational focus, and an understanding of Pan-African activism contributes to this investigation.
Indeed, historiography has long reflected the transnational nature of Pan-Africanism. One of the most formative contributions to the field, George Shepperson’s 1962 article “Pan-Africanism and ‘Pan-Africanism’: Some Historical Notes,” made the distinction between Pan-Africanism and pan-Africanism.55 He characterized the former as a formal movement with institutional strength and a political agenda and the latter as a broad and vibrant understanding of the struggles of African people that did not coalesce into a significant, politically targeted movement. Using this test as an evaluative tool, Shepperson centered his analysis of the beginnings of twentieth-century Pan-Africanism on the struggle between two important historical figures: W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey. He argued that the Du Bois–led Pan-African congresses between 1919 and 1945 achieved Pan-Africanism partially by minimizing Garveyism to pan-Africanism. It was not until Du Bois’s influence waned that post-1945 African leadership rehabilitated Garvey into an important building block of Pan-Africanism. Regardless of the differing emphasis on leadership, Shepperson and most other scholars concentrate primarily on post–World War I Pan-African political manifestations, especially those connected to growing anticolonialism, decolonization, and the resulting questions facing African nation-states. The Pan-African scion George Padmore reiterates this post-1919 emphasis with his contention that Pan-Africanism lay dormant until revived by Du Bois after the war.56
While neither Padmore nor Shepperson accord the 1900 Pan-African Conference large-P status, both acknowledge the gathering as an important moment in the history of Pan-Africanism. The German historian Imanuel Geiss agrees and has credited the assembly with sparking a narrower political Pan-African movement. He also overtly uses pan-Africanism as an umbrella term for “cultural and intellectual movements” and locates the concept in the history of the modern slave trade and the abolitionist campaign. Further, he notes that the continued emphasis on religious arguments in the immediate post-emancipated period was partially indebted to the cultural traditions of abolitionism.57 Shepperson, Padmore, and Geiss have provided invaluable and lasting insights on the study of Pan-Africanism yet they have also contributed to familiar political-cultural divisions that characterize historical inquiry. Political history focuses on behaviors of actors in the formal political realm, while cultural history concentrates on the more quotidian expressions of human activity. This division deeply affects the historiography of Pan-Africanism. Moreover, it elucidates another difficulty in the larger scholarship. Historians traditionally concentrate on the great moral campaign of the nineteenth century—abolitionism—and post-1919 political Pan-Africanism and the associated history of the civil rights movement (especially in the U.S. context). These concentrations skip over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, deeming the era as relatively insignificant in the history of Pan-Africanism.
Although Geiss argues that the 1900 Pan-African Conference established a political narrowness, Pan-African reform at the turn of the century remains understudied, sitting uneasily amid this historiographical framing. The immediate post-emancipated period is not included in the study of abolitionism but is also not seen as fully political and hence not included in large-P studies.58 Yet while the dichotomy between the political and the cultural helps our understanding, Shepperson warns that, in practice, the boundaries between the two domains are often blurred.59 Of course, the overlap between the political and the cultural is a fundamental feature of cultural studies. Paul Gilroy’s seminal work, The Black Atlantic, argues that the metaphoric Atlantic operates as an analytical field in which to consider the unique modern experience and resulting worldview of people of African descent, neither of which fall into clean categories of political or cultural. Gilroy makes a distinction between the “politics of fulfillment” (the practice of articulating claims on modern society) and the “politics of transfiguration” (the more organic and opaque expressions that transcend modernity). For him, the profound experience of slavery and the transition to citizenship have enabled people of African descent who have been exposed to western norms to deny the separation of “ethics and aesthetics, culture and politics” in ways that provide space for a countercultural sensibility.60
The Black Atlantic provocatively suggests that the experience of slavery and oppression along with the modern struggle for post-emancipated agency provide a rich terrain for an invigorated study of Pan-Africanism. Moreover, when combined with cultural studies scholars’ flattening of the boundaries between politics and culture, the academic contest between small-p and large-P is mitigated considerably. This study concentrates on how the politics of fulfillment animated Pan-African calls for political rights and argues that these calls emanated from a shared cultural space that expressed Pan-African unity.
Holistic understandings of Pan-Africanism temper the dichotomy between the cultural and the political. Such approaches view it as a broad cultural unity based on both common African roots and the dislocations caused by western-driven modernity. This shared worldview produces particularized expressions dependent on historical context that seek to improve the position of African peoples. Thus, holistic Pan-Africanism provides the malleability necessary to link initial lamentations about the oppression of the slave trade to contemporary political manifestos about postcolonial conditions in twenty-first-century Africa.61 The holistic investigation of Pan-Africanism combines with explorations of the Black Atlantic, post-emancipated studies, diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, and the history of human rights.
In this book, I use a holistic approach to analyze Pan-Africanism during a period roughly bookended by two international forums: the 1884–85 Berlin Conference and the 1911 Universal Races Congress. At this time, Pan-Africanism mixed the moral ethos of abolitionism with appeals for secular participation in society for post-emancipated subjects and citizens. These claims on citizenship were empowered by imperialism’s normative standard of civilization and its constant violation of this standard. Pan-Africanism saw the marginalized position of people of African descent as a phenomenon transcending nation-state boundaries and consistently sought international forums to air grievances. In doing so, the movement collapsed the distinctions between domestic and international politics, a division that worked to obviate full recognition of the global nature of the color line. While nation-states promoted the standard of civilization at world’s fairs and other global conferences, they consistently sought to minimize international censure of practices, either domestic or international, that violated the standard. Pan-Africanism always recognized that nation-states consistently transgressed the standard of civilization, both in practices that violated fair treatment of colonized people and in their refusal to recognize progress and grant full rights.
Over time, however, Pan-Africanists began to realize that the nation-states were also largely ignoring censure of such practices. By the 1911 Universal Races Congress, they were beginning to argue that white-led societies were using the standard of civilization as a tool of oppression. In response, they moved some of their discourse away from criticism of practices to a protest that denounced the broader imperial project and prefigured later expressions of anticolonialism. This critique unfolded against ongoing questioning of biological essentialism, most notably articulated by Franz Boas at the Universal Races Congress, where his address suggested a worldview of cultural pluralism. Pan-Africanism used this shift to reinterpret African history and understand African cultures in ways that were unhindered by the need to demonstrate adherence to Euro-American standards of civilization. Nonetheless, this reinterpretation did not reduce the Pan-Africanists’ belief in the empowerment conferred by citizenship. They continued to argue that modern political participation was central to both decolonization and the civil rights movement. This Pan-Africanist reform, caught in the contradictions that constructed the global color line, often had difficulty providing tidy answers to complex problems. Its ideologies remained powerful especially in a period often described as “the nadir” for people of African descent. Thus, these actors kept alive a voice of human rights.62
Chapter 1 of this book looks at the building blocks of Pan-Africanism in the 1890s through the lens of the people of African descent who participated in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. African American women at the Chicago event used the forum of the World’s Congress of Representative Women to appeal for inclusion in the broader women’s movement and to critique race relations in the United States. At the Congresses on Africa, held in both Chicago and Atlanta, people of African descent began to express dissatisfaction with the prescriptions of the 1884–85 Berlin Conference concerning the imperial mission in Africa. Instead, these reformers argued that control of the Christianizing mission should belong to people of African descent.
Chapter 2 demonstrates that the summer of 1900 was a propitious occasion for Pan-African protest. The American Negro exhibit at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris was part of the official U.S. contribution to the halls of the Musée Social, which was a crowning statement of transatlantic reform. The first Pan-African Conference in London not only included Du Bois’s discussion of the global color line but also offered several Pan-African ideas and platforms to battle that line’s construction. The chapter contextualizes these events against the backdrop of a changing transatlantic progressivism movement, which included challenges to the widespread acceptance of the link between biology and progress.
Chapter 3 revisits the critique of Euro-American Christianity through an analysis of the writings of Pan-Africanist reformers connected to the African American journalist John Bruce. These testimonies reiterated the power of Ethiopia as a unifying concept of Pan-African identity and continued to encourage the rescue of African history and the continent’s people in a way that transcended pervasive Dark Continent stereotypes. The chapter also analyzes the protests against imperial practices in the Congo by both traditional reform societies and people of African descent, including the direct observations of George Washington Williams.
Chapter 4 argues that both turn-of-the-century imperial conflicts—the Spanish-American War and the South African (Boer) War—provided an opportunity for people of African descent to make claims on equality and political rights by participating in the so-called legitimate violence of nation-state warfare. In the South African War, people of African descent derided Boer injustices and saw British imperial rule as a dramatic improvement. These claims were constructed around the notion of manliness, which was a core component of Pan-African protest. However, Clause 8 of the Treaty of Vereeniging that ended the war expressly delayed the question of African enfranchisement in the annexed colonies until after the achievement of responsible government, dashing hopes for full citizenship. Participation in the Spanish American War also failed to change domestic conditions for African Americans.
Chapter 5 considers the voices of female reformers through their analysis of the “Negro problem,” which was perhaps the most debated aspect of race relations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The protests of Ida B. Wells, Catherine Impey, Anna J. Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, and Pauline Hopkins emphasized rights and equality for all people of African descent, including women.
The conclusion analyzes the 1911 Universal Races Congress, the last major international conference dedicated to race relations before the outbreak of World War I. This congress was the culmination of many of the intellectual currents of Pan-Africanism analyzed in this study and included a summative statement from Franz Boas questioning biological essentialism. The conclusion also details Dusé Mohamed Ali’s African Times and Orient Review, which shifted from criticism of imperial practice to more radical anticolonial claims in its writings. This shift indicated a new era of Pan-Africanism that began to embrace distinctly anticolonial platforms, most clearly represented in the figure of Marcus Garvey. The conclusion also summarizes how this book contributes to Pan-African studies and the history of human rights
Introduction: Pan-Africanism, the Savage South Africa Exhibit, and the Standard of Civilization
1. On whiteness in this context, see Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
2. Robert O. Keohane and Joseph Nye, Jr., characterize this intensity within the valences of “thick” and “thin” (“Globalization: What’s New? What’s Not?” Foreign Affairs, no. 118 [Spring 2000]: 104–19). For a powerful historical perspective on globalization, see Emily S. Rosenberg, ed., A World Connecting: 1870–1945 (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012).
3. See Thomas Bender, A Nation among Nations: America’s Place in World History (New York: Wang and Hill, 2006).
4. The social contract provided an edifice for the authority of the modern nation-state in certain geographic areas. Of course, the depth and breadth of representative government is always subject to context, and state building did not have to occur along republican lines. However, the two nation-states at the center of this study, Great Britain and the United States, were substantiated by the republican model. For an excellent discussion of “the long century of modern statehood” (defined as about the 1850s to the 1970s), see Charles S. Maier, “Leviathan 2.0: Inventing Modern Statehood,” in Rosenberg, A World Connecting, 29–40.
5. Robert Vitalis has long argued that race relations deeply influenced international relations in practice and as a discipline. See, for example, White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015).
6. In Drawing the Global Colour Line, Lake and Reynolds open their introduction with Du Bois’s observation, 1. Their book not only details the construction of the global color line but also explains how many saw its development as a time of crisis.
7. The Report of the Pan-African Conference (London, 1900), 11, 10.
8. Rosenberg, A World Connecting, 887.
9. See Raymond Corbey, “Ethnographic Showcases, 1870–1930,” Cultural Anthropology 8, no. 3 (1993): 338–69. and Gwendolyn Wright, “Building Global Modernisms,” Grey Room 7 (Spring 2002): 124–34.
10. Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler, eds., Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 4.
11. Seminal works include Robert W. Rydell, World of Fairs: The Century-of-Progress Expositions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993); Robert W. Rydell, All the World’s a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876–1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984); Paul Greenhalgh, Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions, and World’s Fairs, 1851–1939 (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1988); and Bernth Lindfors, ed., Africans on Stage: Studies in Ethnological Show Business (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999).
12. As Robert Wald Sussman makes clear, the attachment to biological understandings of race remains a fundamental aspect of our modern world (The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014]). Also see Jerry Gershenhorn, Melville J. Herskovits and the Racial Politics of Knowledge (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004); Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man, 2nd ed. (New York: Norton, 1996); Tommy Lott, The Invention of Race: Black Culture and the Politics of Representation (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999); Audrey Smedley and Brian Smedley, Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview, 4th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2012); George Stocking, Jr., Race, Culture, and Evolution: Essays in the History of Anthropology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982); and Vernon J. Williams, Jr., The Social Sciences and Theories of Race (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006).
13. See John A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study (New York: Pott, 1902), 225, 227, 233, 234.
14. See David Long, “Paternalism and the Internationalization of Imperialism: J. A. Hobson on the International Government of the ‘Lower Races,’” in David Long and Brian C. Schmidt, eds., Imperialism and Internationalism in the Discipline of International Relations (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005), 71–92.
15. On Earl’s Court and the construction of the Empress Theatre, see Ben Shepard, Kitty and the Prince (Johannesburg: Ball, 2003), 36–38.
16. Official Catalogue of the Greater Britain Exhibition (London: Spottiswoode, 1899), 2.
17. See Lake and Reynolds’s analysis of Charles Pearson’s 1892 National Life and Character: A Forecast, in Drawing the Global Colour Line, 75–94.
18. On the dominion movement, see John Darwin, “A Third British Empire? The Dominion Idea in Imperial Politics,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 4, The Twentieth Century, ed. William Roger Louis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 64–87. On the concept of Greater Britain, see Duncan Bell, The Idea of Greater Britain: Empire and the Future of the World Order, 1860–1900 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007).
19. The Times of London announced that the Greater Britain Exhibition was a “high-sounding title” for an exhibition dominated by collections from Australia (May 9, 1899).
20. On the key to the map of the grounds, the Empress Theatre is labeled with the description “Frank Filliss’s Savage South Africa.” The key attaches no similar description to any of the other buildings (Official Catalogue of the Greater Britain Exhibition, 4–5).
21. Shepard details the performance in Kitty and the Prince, 76–79.
22. There are several full-page advertisements for Savage South Africa in the Official Catalogue of the Greater Britain Exhibition that were surely posted in public places.
23. Henry Sylvester Williams, letter to Joseph Chamberlain, CO (Colonial Office) 417/279, 1, 2.
24. As Duncan Bell argues, “binaries” such as civilized and savage were “complemented, supplanted, and occasionally undermined by other attempts to classify and order the world” (“Empire and International Relations in Victorian Political Thought,” Historical Journal 49 [March 2006]: 283).
25. John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson, “The Imperialism of Free Trade,” Economic History Review Second Series, 6, no. 1 (1953): 1–15.
26. The seminal work is Gerrit W. Gong, The Standard of “Civilization” in International Society (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984).
27. General Act of the Conference of Berlin, art. 6, in Arthur Berriedale Keith, The Belgian Congo and the Berlin Act (1919; reprint, New York: Negro Universities Press, 1970), appendix.
28. “Report of the Secretary of State on the Independent State of the Congo,” in Alpheus Henry Snow, The Question of Aborigines in the Law and Practice of Nations (1919; reprint, Northbrook, IL: Metro, 1972), 151, 152.
29. Although Kasson signed the Berlin Act, it was not ratified by the U.S. Senate due to worries that an international treaty would weaken the unilaterally established Monroe Doctrine. The United States did ratify the General Act of the Brussels Conference of 1890. Most view Brussels as an extension of Berlin. On the relationship of the United States to the Berlin Conference, see Peter Duigan, “The USA, the Berlin Conference, and Its Aftermath: 1884–1885,” in Bismarck, Europe, and Africa: The Berlin Africa Conference, 1884–1885, and the Onset of Partition, ed. Stig Forster, Wolfgang J. Mommsen, and Ronald Robinson (London: Oxford University Press, 1988): 321–31.
30. Snow, The Question of Aborigines, 109.
31. Ibid., 110–11.
32. See Neta Crawford, Argument and Change in World Politics: Ethics, Decolonization, and Humanitarian Intervention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 209.
33. Snow, The Question of Aborigines, 111.
34. On the gap between imperial liberal promise and practice, see Uday Singh Mehta, Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Jennifer Pitts, A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005); and Richard Price, Making Empire: Colonial Encounters and the Creation of Imperial Rule in Nineteenth-Century South Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
35. My thoughts about the exposed nature of the global color line and imperialism in general are indebted to Roxanne Doty’s Imperial Encounters: The Politics of Representation in North-South Relations (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), especially 27–51.
36. An Act for the Abolition of Slavery, 1833 (3 and 4 Will. 4 c. 73). The act immediately freed all slaves under the age of six but designated all over that age to varying periods of apprenticeship. Parliament officially ended apprenticeship by 1840. The act also authorized compensation for slaveowners. See Nick Draper, “‘Possessing Slaves’: Ownership, Compensation, and Metropolitan Society in Britain at the Time of Emancipation, 1834–1840,” History Workshop Journal 64 (Autumn 2007): 74–102.
37. Proposed on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment prohibited slavery. Proposed on June 13, 1866, and ratified on July 9, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed the rights of citizenship and prescribed reduced representation in Congress for states that denied voting rights to any male over twenty-one years of age. Proposed on February 26, 1869, and ratified on February 2, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment ensured the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous servitude, but not sex.
38. See Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination, 1830–1867 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002). Although he argues that imperialism was not as important to the Reform Act debates (especially in 1867), Alex Middleton provides an overview of the subject in “The Second Reform Act and the Politics of Empire,” Parliamentary History 36 (February 2017): 82–96.
39. In Disputing Citizenship (Bristol, UK: Polity, 2014), John Clarke, Kathleen Coll, Evelina Dagnino and Catherine Neveu argue that claims making by those excluded from citizenship is a site of struggle and a crucial moment in “recentering citizenship.” They borrow from Étienne Balibar stating that the “practical confrontation with different modes of exclusion . . . always constitutes the founding moment of citizenship, and consequently its periodical litmus test” (96, 22).
40. Other works on citizenship include Judith Shklar, American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991); Rogers Brubaker, Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); Richard Bellamy, Dario Castiglione, and Emilio Santaro, eds., Lineage of European Citizenship: Rights Belonging and Participation in Eleven Nation-States (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004); Catherine Hall, Keith McClelland, and Jane Rendell, Defining the Victorian Nation: Class, Race, and Gender and the Reform Act of 1867 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Frederick Cooper, Thomas C. Holt, and Rebecca J. Scott, Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000); Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996); and T. H. Marshall, “Citizenship and Social Class,” in T. H. Marshall and Tom Bottomore, Citizenship and Social Class (London: Pluto, 1992), 3–51.
41. Cooper et al. argue this point but also remind us that citizenship was a “moving target,” often more exclusionary than inclusionary (Beyond Slavery, 14).
42. Catherine Hall, “The Nation Within and Without,” in Hall et al., Defining the Victorian Nation, 200–210, 227, 224–25. Britain stripped twelve of the fourteen West Indies possessions of their local charters, converting them to crown colony status by 1877. See James Patterson Smith, “The Liberals, Race, and Political Reform in the British West Indies, 1866–1974,” Journal of Negro History 79, no. 2 (1994): 141.
43. See Cooper et al., Beyond Slavery, 19.
44. Paul Gordon Lauren notes that the protection of natural rights was contained in the English 1689 Bill of Rights and strengthened by Locke and other philosophers, culminating in the creation of what was known as positive national law by the end of the eighteenth century (The Evolution of International Human Rights: Vision Seen, 2nd ed. [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003], 14–21).
45. On the waning of post-emancipation urgency, see Christine Bolt, The Antislavery Movement and Reconstruction: A Study in Anglo-American Co-operation, 1833–77 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969).
46. As Paul Kramer argues, the United States looked to British imperialism for the administration of U.S. rule in the Philippines (The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006], 11).
47. “The Negro as a Labourer,” Pall Mall Gazette, February 5, 1883, 11.
48. Khama and Sechele were native chiefs in the British protectorate of Bechuanaland. “British Zambesia,” Anti-Slavery Reporter 9 (October 1889): 216. Reprinted from “British Zambesia,” Times (London), October 15, 1889.
49. “Our Treatment of the Weaker Races,” Positivist Review (October 1, 1900): 172.
50. On the definitions and theories of colonialism, see Jürgen Osterhammel, Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview (Kingston, Jamaica: Randle, 2003). On internal colonialism, see Robert J. Hind, “The Internal Colonial Concept,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 26, no. 3 (1984): 543–68.
51. This concept of the global color line is central to Robin D. G. Kelley’s “‘But a Local Phase of a World Problem’: Black History’s Global Vision, 1883–1905,” Journal of American History 86 (December 1999): 1045–77. Kelley’s title is from Du Bois’s phrase first articulated in W. E. B. Du Bois, “Atlanta University,” in From Servitude to Service: Being the Old South Lectures on the History and Work of Southern Institutions for the Education of the Negro (Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1905), 195. Reiland Rabaka argues that Du Bois offered an ongoing comment on the nature of colonialism that not only expanded its meaning outside of traditional definitions but also deeply informed postcolonial theory (W. E. B. Du Bois and the Problems of the Twenty-First Century [New York: Lexington, 2007], chap. 3).
52. On transnational history, see “AHR Conversation: On Transnational History,” American Historical Review 111 (December 2006): 1441–64; Patricia Clavin, “Defining Transnationalism,” Contemporary European History 14 (November 1993): 421–39; and Akire Iriye, “The Rise of Global and Transnational History,” in Global and Transnational History: The Past, Present and Future (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 1–18.
53. Seminal works on the progressive reform in this period include Michael Freeden, The New Liberalism: An Ideology of Social Reform (Oxford: Clarendon, 1978); James T. Kloppenberg, Uncertain Victory: Social Democracy and Progressivism in European and American Thought, 1870–1920 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); and Daniel T. Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
54. See Ian Tyrell, Reforming the World: The Creation of America’s Moral Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 5.
55. George Shepperson, “Pan-Africanism and ‘Pan-Africanism’: Some Historical Notes,” Phylon 23, no. 4 (1962): 346–58.
56. George Padmore, Pan-Africanism or Communism (New York: Doubleday, 1971), 96.
57. Imanuel Geiss, The Pan-African Movement: The History of Pan-Africanism in America, Europe, and Africa (New York: Africana, 1974), 7–8, 105–14.
58. Geiss also discusses the “fifth plane” of Pan-African studies, which analyzes the tension between the “national” and “supra-national” in the political aspects of the movement (ibid., 5).
59. Shepperson, “Pan-Africanism,” 347.
60. Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 39. The long paragraph that contains this quotation is one of the most powerful statements on counterculture in modern scholarship.
61. John Henrik Clarke champions the holistic approach in Africans at the Crossroads: Notes for an African Revolution (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1991), especially 3–25. Kurt B. Young cites Clarke’s importance in “Towards a Holistic Review of Pan-Africanism: Linking the Idea and Movement,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 16, no. 2 (2010): 141–63. Young also extends Clarke’s emphasis, adding his own definition of holistic Pan-Africanism that highlights the link between consciousness and politics and stresses the context-driven nature of the expression. Hakeem Adi and Marika Sherwood reflect a holistic approach in their introduction to Pan-African History: Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora Since 1787 (London: Routledge, 2003), where they comment, “Pan-African history . . . includes chronicling a variety of ideas, activities and movements that celebrated Africanness, resisted the exploitation and oppression of those of African descent, and opposed the ideologies of racism” (vii).
62. Rayford Logan used this lasting term in The Negro in American Life and Thought: The Nadir, 1877–1901 (New York: Dial, 1954). A similar retraction of rights for people of African descent took place throughout most of the British Empire.