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April 8th 1953: Kenyatta sentenced

On this day in 1953, future Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta was sentenced to imprisonment for his alleged role in the Mau Mau rebellion. Kenyatta was born in around 1889 to a Kikuyu family, leaving home at a young age to study and work at a Church of Scotland mission, and from there later moved to Nairobi. The young Kenyatta became involved in the burgeoning independence movement that sought to throw off British colonial rule in Kenya. He entered politics full-time, and became general secretary of the Kikuyu Central Association, which fought against policies it felt harmful to Kenyan interests. Kenyatta notably helped to organise the fifth Pan-African Congress in 1945, which discussed mass nationalist and independence movements across African countries. In 1947, he was elected president of the Kenya African Union and took a leading role in the nationalist movement. The early 1950s saw Kenya rocked by the Mau Mau rebellion, which was a bloody campaign led by Kikuyu against British settlers, in retaliation to the violence committed by the British against the Kenyan people. While there was little evidence linking Kenyatta to the movement, he was considered a subversive presence and was thus arrested for supposed involvement in the violence. In April 1953, he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment, and his condition remained a key issue of the Kenyan independence movement, with frequent calls for his release. He was finally released in August 1963, and immediately joined negotiations for Kenyan independence. The new republic elected Kenyatta as first their prime minister and later as president, making him Kenya’s first president and founding father. Under his leadership, Kenya had favourable relations with the West and the economy boomed, though most of this wealth was concentrated in the elites. Jomo Kenyatta died at Mombasa in 1978, and was succeeded by Daniel arap Moi.

Today in history: February 23, 1868 – W.E.B DuBois born.

DuBois was an intellectual leader and activist in the Black liberation movement and anti-colonial movement for decades. He was a life-long fighter for full equality for Black people in the U.S., co-founding the NAACP, active in struggles against lynching, Jim Crow laws and discrimination in education and employment. DuBois was an internationalist, organizing several Pan-African Congresses supporting the national liberation movements in Africa. He was a prolific author, writing many important articles and books including a key book for understanding U.S. history, Black Reconstruction in America.

DuBois believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism, and was generally sympathetic to socialist causes throughout his life. Though he conflicted with the Communist Party for many years, at age 93 he finally joined the Communist Party. He traveled throughout the world and was friends with leaders of liberation movements in Africa and Asia (pictured, DuBois with Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong).

DuBois faced serious repression during the McCarthy era, having his passport revoked for 8 years. He died at age 95 in Ghana, while there working with Nkrumah’s government on an Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora.

Via Freedom Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

Today in history: February 23, 1868 – W.E.B DuBois born. DuBois was an intellectual leader and activist in the Black liberation movement and anti-colonial movement for decades He was a life-long fighter for full equality for Black people in the U.S., co-founding the NAACP, active in struggles against lynching, Jim Crow laws and discrimination in education and employment DuBois was an internationalist, organizing several Pan-African Congresses supporting the national liberation movements in Africa He was a prolific author, writing many important articles and books including a key book for understanding U.S. history, Black Reconstruction in America and DuBois believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism, and was generally sympathetic to socialist causes throughout his life Though he conflicted with the Communist Party for many years, at age 93 he finally joined the Communist Party He traveled throughout the world and was friends with leaders of liberation movements in Africa and Asia DuBois faced serious repression during the McCarthy era, having his passport revoked for 8 years He died at age 95 in Ghana, while there working with Nkrumah’s government on an Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora