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Afterword The bustling streets of modern Nairobi are inscribed with the history of Kenya’s anticolonial struggle. Kenyatta Avenue runs along Uhuru Park and through the heart of the city’s downtown, past Koinange Street, past Kimathi Street and a memorial to the executed rebel, Dedan Kimathi, and ending at Tom Mboya Street.Harry Thuku Road starts out toward the affluent Westlands before abruptly halting; Joseph Kangethe Road runs to the north of the Kibera slums. Alongside these monuments to national liberation are gestures to a broader narrative of pan-­ Africanism: Haile Selassie Avenue and Menelik Road, an ode to Ethiopia; Nkrumah Lane, Banda Street, and Kaunda Street, tributes to the first leaders of independent Ghana, Malawi , and Zambia, and a gesture to the momentous Fifth Pan-­ African Conference in Manchester, England, which all three attended. George Padmore, who secretly traveled to Kenya in 1933, is honored, as is Ralph Bunche, who visited a few years later.1 To the west of the downtown, a block from where I briefly rented a room, lies Marcus Garvey Road. Road naming, like nation building, requires imagination; like all memorials to the past,it encourages both remembrance and forgetfulness.As President ,Kenyatta’s project to reconcile the messy fissures of his new state with the demands of national administration continued the work of invented tradition that he had begun as a member of the KCA. Only now, he was the victor. The work of identity, behind which dissident Kenyans—­ and Africans across the continent—­ mobilized successfully, was to be exposed to the harsh reality of multiple identities, of multiple claims, of competing and powerful aspirations. The triumph of the nationalist moment was fleeting. The story told by Nairobi’s cartography is of Kenyans at home intersecting with Africans abroad. When the new generation of African leaders considered the heroic past, they often viewed it in these terms. Thus in the moment of national independence was the Universal Negro Improvement Association, assumed to have passed with Garvey, returned briefly to the stage. William Sherrill, the UNIA’s president-­ general, was invited to attend the lavish celebrations staged by Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana in 1957,where Sherrill was assigned a new car,a driver,and an aide-­ de-­ camp,and generally treated like royalty. Sherrill was surprised and overwhelmed by the high regard held for his organization. Nkrumah publicly declared that “his life and work had been largely influenced by the Philosophy of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA,” and encouraged Sherrill in a long private conference to continue the struggle for freedom outside of Africa as he was to continue the work throughout the continent.Several “African Chiefs and Nationalist leaders”expressed their praise for the UNIA, many telling Sherrill that they had been members of the organization in their youth. Sherrill met with Afterword • 239 Harry M. Nkumbula, president-­ general of the African National Congress of Northern Rhodesia, and T.D.T. Banda, president-­ general of the Nyasaland African Congress, both of whom expressed an interest in affiliating their work with the UNIA. Banda later wrote to Sherrill, “Most of my people in Nyasaland have read and heard quite a lot about the philosophy of your Founder and the ‘Aims and Objects’ of your great and wonderful association and we are all very happy that we have come to see each other at last.”2 In 1967,the UNIA’s High Commissioner to Africa,Reverend Clarence W. Harding, was invited to Addis Ababa to meet with Diallo Telli, secretary-­ general of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), to discuss the future role that the UNIA might play in Africa.Harding left his office in Monrovia on October 13 and reached Kinshasa two days later, where he was feted by President Joseph Mobutu and Congolese dignitaries. Mobutu declared himself a “staunch admirer” of Marcus Garvey, and welcomed Harding to establish UNIA divisions in the country whenever he was prepared. From the Congo, Harding traveled to Nairobi, where he was met by Jomo Ken­ yatta and Tom Mboya, and again assured of support and encouraged to establish divisions in the country.In Addis Ababa,Harding addressed the representatives of fourteen African nations, appealing for support, outlining the aims and history of the UNIA and describing the organization’s current vision for Africa. All agreed to welcome the UNIA to their countries, and the UNIA was granted a non-­ voting position in the OAU’s General Assembly , and promises of financial support after an observation period. “[W...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400852444
Related ISBN
9780691157795
MARC Record
OCLC
884645721
Pages
320
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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