Black History Culture : Loyal Sons of Africa: 1913 - ?

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by cherryblossom, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa

    Article #617



    Ramla Bandele, Article Author


    ...LOSA was a transnational political organization founded in 1913 in New York. Its primary purpose was to work toward the independence of Negro peoples regardless of nationality. Recruitment would be confined to what was then called race men; that is to say men who were committed to the political and economic liberation of black people, and also the elimination of imperialism. Members were to be organized into units of no more than 20, with each of these cells under the command of a captain. The organization was to establish itself within the United States, West Indies and Africa, working on political and economic amelioration appropriate to the environment in which each cell operated. However, when a cell was endangered, the organization would "make common cause and come to the rescue with their means and counsel." (See Gilbert, 1971 p. 102) The organizational activities were to be funded through a self-imposed tax of 3 cents per week; and its headquarters were to be based in West Africa.

    According to an article in the Yonkers New York's Daily News, founding members included John E. Bruce, Arthur A. Schomburg, Rev. Charles D. Martin of Antigua, Professor J.E. Kwegri Aggrey, who was a West African teaching in North Carolina, and the Rev. Dr. G. Granville Sutton of Freetown Sierra Leone (Bruce Papers, Reel 1.) After its founding however, Bruce states that they decided to revise the structure of the organization. It was decided that LOSA organize itself into an "order" and operate clandestinely (See Gilbert, 1971.) This more than likely referred to a fraternal order, a European social institution that included many secretive customs and rituals. It was adapted by African-Americans in the late 18th century, and was a primary carrier of male socialization. Adapting it further to enhance political effectiveness is plausible. Its principal founder, John E. Bruce articulated the significance of this modification in a cogent statement, which appears in a LOSA document he wrote:

    "In talking the matter over with Dr. Martin, our host, he suggested, and I think well of the suggestion, that we make the organization an order and enjoin upon its members secrecy. The psychological moment has, I believe, arrived for Negroes and colored men the wide world over to get together and to fight for every right with all our might. We must organize to secure uniformity of utterance and action among the darker races and to meet organized wrong with intelligently organized resistance."​

    This sentiment was encapsulated in the LOSA motto: The injury of one is the injury to all. Perhaps the order did survive and evolved into or supported subsequent movements; it is documented that the known members were life long political activists.

    Yet if history is any indication, one may surmise that the organization dissipated.
    Like many pan-african organizations of the era, such as the Hamitic League and the African Progress Union, the Loyal Order may have been an ephemeral undertaking constrained by marginal resources, colonial opposition, and the ideological competition within the diaspora itself. However, the invisibility aspect of the organization provided protection in that these forces could not counter what could not be identified. And for the same reason, its dissolution has not been documented.


    http://diaspora.northwestern.edu/mbin/WebObjects/DiasporaX.woa/wa/displayArticle?atomid=617
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    [​IMG]

    In 1913, 57-year-old John Edward Bruce, one of the leading black nationalist figures in the United States, founded the Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa with the goal of freeing the African continent from colonialism and unifying its people. In the speech below, given at an undisclosed location, Bruce describes the organization.

    Gentlemen:
    About a year ago, I conceived the idea of organizing a society of Black and Colored men, to be known as the “Sons of Africa” and to be international in scope and to embrace in its membership men of all the darker races who have a grievance of any sort against the race which is now dominating the earth and reaping where it has not sown. In talking the matter over with Dr. Martin our host, he suggested, and I think well of the suggestion that we make the organization an order and enjoin upon the members secrecy. The psychological moment has I believe arrived for Negroes and colored men the wide world over to get together and to fight for every right with all our might. We must organize to secure uniformity of utterance and action among the darker races and to meet organized wrong with intelligently organized resistance.

    The Slogan of the patriots of the American Revolution was:
    Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty. The black and colored races can well afford to adopt it as their slogan for the liberties of both the wide world over were never more endangered by the grasping nations of the world than at the present time. The settled policy of the dominant race for the past one hundred years or more has been, and still is, to dominate and control all other races who wear “the shadowed livery of the burnished sun!” India, Africa, the West Indian Islands, the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico. And wherever the white man has been permitted or has forcibly inserted the thin edge of the wedge he has left a withering blight all along his pathway. His consuming desire is to pose as a world power at the sacrifice of the rights and interests of the so-called backward races. His cupidity and avarice have made him impervious to ordinary criticism of his dishonest methods, and it now becomes necessary for those ones who have been the victims of his greed and impulse to organize for self-protection in order to meet organized wrong with organized resistance intelligently directed and without the accompaniment of a Brass Band. This is, as I believe, the Psychological moment for Negroes all over the world to begin to touch elbows, exchange ideas and formulate plans for mutual protection for practical, racial and religious advantage. We are clearly within our rights in seeking here to found the Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa to bear a part in the revolution of ideas which usually precedes a resort to physical force when reason and argument fail. The battle of the darker races is an intellectual one, and with good generals in command of the forces which are to do battle—the victory is all the more certain. An army divided is an army defeated. The reasons which we think make necessary such an organization as we have proposed may be briefly stated as follows: (1) the increase of race prejudice in Europe and America, (2) the denial of equal opportunities to black and colored men in countries supposedly their own but which have been preempted by cajolery or force by white men, (3) the growing tendency of white men to immunize the Negro influence in governmental affairs in this and in other countries by diplomacy, or brute force according to the exigencies of the case. (4) the deceit practiced by white men upon Negroes their peers in culture and character with whom they palter in a double sense to compass their reprehensive and dishonorable ends, (5) We all know what a treacherous biped the white man is and how intensely selfish and hypocritical he is therefore it behooves us to play the game he is playing, but upon a loftier plane in the hope of saving to a future generation of black the heritage bequeathed to us by our fathers.

    Gentlemen the meeting is now open for full and free discussion.

    http://www.blackpast.org/?q=1914-john-edward-bruce-sons-africa
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    John Edward Bruce was born into slavery in Piscataway, Maryland in 1856. When Bruce was three years old his father was sold away to Georgia prompting young Bruce and his mother to escape to Washington, D.C. in fear of losing each other. Bruce and his mother Martha resided with Martha's cousin Busie Patterson who was a body servant to Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton. This relationship with a powerful white congressman provided the Bruce family with opportunities and access to jobs in white upper-class communities. Martha Bruce, for example, obtained a job in Connecticut working closely with a white family. While in Connecticut, John Edward Bruce enrolled in an integrated school and received his first formal education. Traveling back to Washington, he received a private education and attended Howard University.

    ..In 1890 he joined activist T. Thomas Fortune's Afro-American League, the first organized black civil rights group in the nation. He became the organization’s new president in 1898 when it reformed as the Afro-American Council.


    In 1911, while living in Yonkers, New York, John Edward Bruce started the Negro Society for Historical Research. His passion for African history led him eventually in 1919 to Marcus Garvey and his Pan-Africa nationalist ideas. Bruce became a father figure to Marcus Garvey when he joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association at the age of 64. He was a featured writer for the organization's newspapers theNegro World and the Daily Negro Times. Although his health was fading, Bruce continued to work. He worked for the Port Authority of New York until 1922 when he retired. Two years later John Edward Bruce died in New York City.

    http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/bruce-john-edward-1856-1924
     
  4. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I'd like to read more on this. This type of organization--of small units--is the same tactic I espouse.

    You're sure well-read. :)
     
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