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On April 15, 1958, in the city of Accra Ghana, African leaders and political activists gathered at thefirst Conference of Independent African States. It was attended by representatives of the governments of Ethiopia, Ghana,Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, The United Arab Republic (which was the federation of Egypt and Syria) and representatives of the National LiberationFront of Algeria and the Union of Cameroonian Peoples. This conference was significant in that it represented the firstPan-African Conference held on African soil. It was also significant in that it represented the collective expressionof African People’s disgust with the system of colonialism and imperialism,which brought so much suffering to African People. Further, it represented the collective will to see the system ofcolonialism permanently done away with.
African Liberation Day 72 Documentary Photography By Jim Alexander
After500 years of the most brutal suffering known to humanity, the rape of Africa andthe subsequent slave trade, which cost Africa in excess of 100,000,000 of herchildren, the masses of African People singularly, separately, individually, insmall disconnected groupings for centuries had said, “enough”! But in 1958, at the Accra Conference, it was being said in ways thatemphasized joint, coordinated and unified action.
Thisconference gave sharp clarity and definition to Pan-Africanism, the totalliberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism. Theconference as well laid the foundation and the strategy for the furtherintensification and coordination of the next stage of the African Revolution,for the liberation of the rest of Africa, and eventual and complete unification.
TheConference called for the founding of African Freedom Day, a day to, “markeach year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize thedetermination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign dominationand exploitation.”
Fiveyears later after the First Conference of Independent African States in the cityof Addis Ababa, Ethiopia another historical meeting occurred. On May 25, 1963, leaders of thirty-two independent African States met toform the Organization of African Unity (OAU). By then more than two thirds of the continent had achieved independencefrom colonial rule. At thishistoric meeting the date of Africa Freedom Day was changed from April 15thto May 25th and Africa Freedom Day was declared African LiberationDay (ALD). African Liberation Dayhas been held on May 25th in every corner of the world since.
AfricanLiberation Day as an institution within the Pan-African movement reflects thegrowth and development of Pan-Africanism. WhenPan-Africanism was faced with fighting colonialism, the focus of AfricanLiberation Day was on the anti-colonial struggle and the fight for nationalindependence. As Pan-Africanismgrew stronger and developed into a more mature objective, African Liberation Dayactivities reflected this maturation.
AfricanLiberation Day has contributed to the struggle to raise the level of politicalawareness and organization in African communities worldwide. It has further been used as a tool to provide a platform for many Africanand other oppressed peoples to inform the African masses about their respectivestruggles for true liberation and development. Particularly for Southern Africa, African Liberation Day played acritical role in the defeat of colonialism and apartheid. It inspired others to support through various progressive organizations,liberation committees and movements both in Africa and the socialist countriesaround the world, the building of anti-colonial and national liberationmovements by generating arms for the freedom fighters, offering a platform wherethe world could receive political education on the nature of the struggle, andproviding a mass assembly where the spirit and moral of the freedom fighterscould be reinvigorated.
AfricanLiberation Day has helped to expose U.S. led imperialism, Zionism and colonialism as enemies of Africa. Imperialistsfor decades have attempted to distance African Liberation Day (and the AfricanRevolution in general) from the struggle for socialism. Remember that it was, and is, capitalist Europe, and not the SovietUnion, Cuba, North Korea, China or Vietnam which occupied, colonized andexploited Africa. Several states inAfrica today stand independent because of military and other assistance fromsocialist countries.
Fromthe first ALD held in Accra, Ghana where Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah planted thefirst seed to the hundreds of African Liberation Day observances which haveoccurred all over the world. AfricanLiberation Day stands committed to the struggle for national independence,African redemption, African liberation, African unification and scientificsocialism. Today African LiberationDay activities are being organized throughout Africa and all over the worldwhere African people are living and struggling. The journey down the Revolutionary path can only be accomplished byjoining a revolutionary organization working for the people. The freedom of Africa and African people demands revolutionary actionthrough revolutionary organization.