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Lynch, Hollis R. (1964) Edward W. Blyden, 1832-1912, and Pan-Negro Nationalism. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis examines the pan-Negro ideas and activities of one of the most outstanding Negro intellectuals of the nineteenth century - Edward Wilmot Blyden. Convinced that Negroes would never achieve equality with whites in the New World, he emigrated to Liberia at the age of eighteen, and became an ardent advocate of New World Negro emigration to Africa. He had envisaged Liberia as the nucleus of a progressive African state and had hoped that its jurisdiction and influence would spread in West Africa. In his various capacities as clergyman, High School Principal, College Professor and President, politician and ambassador, he sought to enhance the prestige of the Negro Republic. Blyden also worked for many years in Sierra Leone and Lagos, where, both as a private individual and as an employee of the Government, he sought to promote education among Christians as well as Muslims. One of his aims was to unite West Africans into one community and nation. In his attempt to bring respect and dignity to the Negro race, he be-came a tireless vindicator of the Negro past and of African culture; he criticized Christianity (in practice) as a demoralizing influence on the Negro; but praised Islam in Africa as a unifying and elevating force. He had hoped that Africa's regeneration would come through the influence of returning New World Negroes; but also regarded European nations in Africa as working ultimately for the good of that continent. So concerned was he with proving the merit of the Negro race that from the early 1870's he insisted that only "pure Negroes" should emigrate to Africa to participate in the new dispensation: he believed the Negro race to have special and inherent attributes which would manifest itself in a great civilization in Africa Because none of his cherished schemes came to fruition in his life-time, it is primarily as a man of ideas that he owes his historical significance. In discussing his pan-Negro natinnalism, I have made use of both the chronological and the thematic approaches. An introduction examines the historical origins of pan-Negro nationalism and provides a background for the examination of Blyden's own ideas.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:20

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