History of the Pan-African Congress, George Padmore (editor) 1947

Memorandum to United Nations Organisation.

A Resolution calling for adequate representation of the coloured peoples of the world within the United Nations Organisation was presented to the United Nations Secretariat by Dr. W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, International President of the Pan-African Congress. It states:

“The undermentioned organisations and individuals representing or supporting the rights of African Negroes and descendants of Africans in the West Indies and the United States of America, strongly endorse and respectfully submit the following proposals initiated by the Pan-African Congress.

  1. The great need of the world today is intelligent citizenship capable of controlling the actions of men by democratic methods of government.
  2. One of the greatest obstacles to this accomplishment is the poverty, ignorance and disease in colonies, especially those in Africa.
  3. In spite of all efforts to overcome these conditions by the colonial powers, by philanthropy and missions, and by the efforts of the Negroes themselves, progress is hindered by the difficulties which these Negroes have in making known their needs and wants and the opposition that confronts them. In addition, there is the widespread assumption that Negroes lack the intelligence to express their views and can only be represented by imperial governments or by other spokesmen not of their own choosing.
  4. It is just, proper, and necessary that provision be made for the participation of designated representatives of the African colonial peoples in such business of the United Nations as concerns them. The truth of this principle cannot be denied. Provision should be made for such participation to the maximum extent possible under the present charter of the United Nations, so that the grievances and demands of the Africans can be freely expressed.

Already for nearly half a century peoples of African descent have been holding Congresses. Their object has been to increase mutual knowledge of each other and cooperation among the various African peoples and their descendants in America. Such Congresses have been held in London, 1910; Paris, 1919; London, Paris, Brussels, 1921; London, Paris, Lisbon, 1923; New York, 1927; Manchester, England, 1945. Other conferences of African peoples have also been held during recent years. The organisation of the Pan-African Congress has not been wholly representative, but it has far-reaching and increasing influence among Negroes and has helped to bring persons of Negro descent in the Americas in sympathy and co-operation with their African brethren.

American and West Indian citizens of Negro descent regard it as especially appropriate that they should share in the responsibility for the liberation and modern development of Africa. They have already shown the world that they contribute to human progress. Moreover, African Negroes themselves have made far more progress in modern culture than they are usually given credit for and have a growing class of educated persons capable of expressing their desires. Even those who lack modern education have the training of ancient and highly developed cultural patterns which render their opinions and desires of value.”

Organisations which supported the petition:

New York State Conference, NAACP; James Egert Allen, President.
National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; Mary McLeod Bethune, Founder, President.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Mae Wright Downs.
National Sunday School, B.T.U. Congress; Dr. W. H. Jernagin, President.
National Bar Association; Earl B. Dickerson, President.
West Coast Regional Office, NAACP; N. W. Griffin. Regional Secretary.
American Teachers’ Association; Walter N. Ridley President.
National Association of Coloured Women, Inc.; Mrs. Christine S. Smith, President.
Non-Partisan Interfaith Citizens Committee; C. B. Powell, A. Qayron Powell, Co-Chairman.
National Negro Congress; Max Yergan, President.
Council on African Affairs; Max Yergan, Executive Director.
Southern Negro Youth Congress; Esther V. Cooper, Executive Secretary.
Improved Order of Elks of the World; J. Finley Wilson, Grand Exalted Ruler.
Negro Newspaper Publishers Association; Frank L. Stanley, President.
National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.; D. W. Jemison, President.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.; George A. Parker, National President.
National Medical Association; W. A. Younge, President.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; Augustus G. Parker, Grand Polemarch.
Second Episcopal District, A.M.E. Zion Church; Bishop W. J. Walling, Presiding.
Alpha Phi Alpha; Belford Lawson, President.
Pan-African Federation, Manchester, England, affiliated with 12 organisations of Negroes in Europe and Africa; Peter Milliard, M.D., President; T. R. Makonnen, Treasurer.
League of Coloured Peoples, M. Joseph-Mitchell, Secretary.
National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons, representing 140 organizations, 410 towns in British West Africa; Nnamdi Azikiwe, President.
Non-European Unity Committee, Union of South Africa; Z. R. Mahabane, Chairman.
His Excellency Ras Has Immru of Imperial Ethiopian Legation has expressed his “sympathy for your efforts in the interest and welfare of the African people and to wish you success."
Nyasaland African Congress; C. Matinga, President-General.
The African Development Association; F. C. Archer, Founder, Secretary-Treasurer.
St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union; Jos. N. France, General Secretary.
Trades Union Congress of Jamaica; Ken Hill, Vice-Chairman.
The Barbados Progressive League; Grantley Adams, President; H. W. Springer, General Secretary.
The Barbados Workers’ Union; H, W. Springer, General Secretary.
International African Service Bureau; George Padmore, Chairman.
Kenya African Union; W. W. W. Awori, Secretary.
Kikuyu Central Association of Kenya; Jomo Kenyatta, Secretary.
West African Youth League (Sierra Leone); Wallace Johnson, Secretary.
Caribbean Labour Congress; Richard Hart, Secretary.