Abstract

This essay explores the political ideas of black nationalist women during the 1940s, based on their writings in the New Negro World newspaper. Modeled after the Negro World, the official periodical of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the New Negro World was established by James R. Stewart, Garvey’s successor. Following Garvey’s death on June 10, 1940, Stewart was elected the new president general of the organization, which he led from his base in Cleveland, Ohio. He established the New Negro World in October of that year, providing a vehicle for UNIA members to address various issues ranging from racial violence in the Jim Crow South to decolonization in Africa. Despite the masculinist and patriarchal orientation of the UNIA, the New Negro World provided a crucial platform for nationalist women to engage in national and international political discourses. Through an array of writings including editorials and poems, black nationalist women articulated a global vision of black emancipation and promoted Pan-Africanism—the belief that African peoples, on the continent and in the diaspora, share a common past and destiny. Moreover, these women endorsed the establishment of a black nation-state in West Africa as a legitimate response to racial discrimination and global white supremacy. By recovering the history of the newspaper and foregrounding the writings of the women who graced its pages, this essay deepens our understanding of the diverse political strategies and tactics people of African descent have employed in their struggles against racial discrimination, inequality, and global white supremacy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 194-212
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-30
Open Access
No
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