For centuries, African Americans have long debated their identifications with Africa in order to appropriately characterize their sociopolitical position in the United States. Perhaps the most outspoken leader whose ultimate goal was the physical return back to Africa was Marcus Garvey and his organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), represent the largest mass movement in African-American history. Proclaiming a black nationalist “Back to Africa” message, Garvey and the UNIA established 700 branches in thirty-eight states by the early 1920s.
While the “Back to Africa ” movement lead to the creation of new African nation-states; Liberal and Serra Leone, and the resettlement of some African Americans in Africa, the movement lost steam as African American’s political and social interest and value changes along with their political realities in the United States. Furthermore, the fact African Americans have never been a monolithic group, some identify strongly with their African heritage, while others, like Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman who claimed, “I’m not African, I’m American,” suggesting Africa is a part of a discarded past help changed and goal of many African American leaders from physical relocation to cultural awareness, promotion of Black studies and Afrocentric-geo political movement.
Many experts see the introduction of Black studies and the development of Afrocentric world view as a success due to its impact and positive results in shaping the contemporary relationship between African Americans and continental Africa.
Despite the increased positive relationship between African Americans and Africa in general, many Africans in the motherlands want to see more improved relations especially between African immigrants and African Americans in the United States.
Unfounded stereotypes, conflicts, and grudges between African Americans and African immigrants have had a negative impact on their co-existence and adaptation to each other. Since African Americans and Africans are descended from the same root African cultures, it is reasonable to expect that they would adapt and co-exist in harmony; however, the level of cooperation between the two groups is minimal. These, stereotypes, and distrust between ourselves are no doubt an obstacle to forging a Global Afrocentric mindset .. similar mindset that you can found amongst our group of people.
To understand and fully address the reason for the gap that exists between African Americans and Africans, we must be acknowledged and examine the role that forced slavery, and colonial imperialism has played in fostering this cap of distrust between Africans in the Motherland and Africans in the Diaspora.
Recently Steve Wonder, who had recently traced his ancestral roots declared of his goal to move to the West African nation.
According to the celebrated musician, he plans to move in an effort to protect his grandchildren from the racial injustice and prejudice that he feels is pervasive in American society.
“I don’t want to see my children’s children’s children have to say, ‘Oh, please like me. Please respect me. Please know that I am important. Please value me,'” Wonder shared. “What kind of [life would that be]?”
“Go Back to Africa”, a racist putdown long used against African-Americans, Africans, and other black people in North America and Europe has been getting a social media makeover.
Black & Abroad, an Atlanta-based lifestyle and travel company targeting black travelers, is reclaiming the derogatory statement with a new tourism campaign encouraging African-Americans to indeed go back to Africa.
The connection between African Americans and Ghana is not new. In 1957, Ghana became an inspiration for African Americans when it became the first sub-Saharan African country to win independence from a colonial power. Ghana’s independence also gave momentum to the Pan African movement, which, among other things, encourages solidarity among all African diaspora ethnic groups to obtain political and economic power. Martin Luther King traveled to Ghana to celebrate its defeat of colonization, and Malcolm X and Maya Angelou worked in Ghana during the presidency of Kwame Nkrumah. W.E.B. Dubois died in Ghana as a Ghanaian national and today, there is the W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Center for Pan-African Culture in Accra. Marcus Garvey, the famed Jamaican Pan-Africanist, advocated for the return of African Americans to Africa. He founded the Black Star Line to help blacks return to Africa, which is the origin of the black star on the Ghanaian flag and for the name of the national football team.