James Bannerman

James Bannerman was a prominent trader and slave-owner in Ghana in the first half of the nineteenth century. His parents were Colonel Henry Bannerman, a Scottish trader and officer, and a Ga woman from Accra whose name is unknown. Henry Bannerman worked for the Royal Africa Company and was stationed at Cape Coast, a British fort on the Atlantic Ocean in what is today Ghana. His mother’s family was connected to nearby chieftaincies. These dual connections gave Bannerman the ability to work as a middleman between West Africans and the British.

Little is known about Bannerman’s childhood. In 1826, Bannerman married Yaa Hom, an Asante princess who had been captured when the British defeated the Kingdom of Asante at the Battle of Katamonso in 1826. At the time, Asante was the dominant state in the region. Bannerman and Yaa Hom eventually had six children together.

Bannerman was a prosperous slave owner and clashed with the British over the abolition of slavery in Cape Coast. He believed that he had a right to manage and maintain his “property” as he saw fit. In 1841, he wrote the British Parliament warning that the abolition of slavery would lead to a flight of Ghanaians away from British territory.

Bannerman benefited from the growing trade between Cape Coast and Europe. As a prosperous land and slave owner with connections both to the British and the Asante, he was well positioned to be of service to foreign businesses and local kingdoms. After a long trading career, Bannerman entered the British colonial administration as a justice of the peace in 1842. By 1850, he became the lieutenant governor of the Gold Coast (today Ghana). He also served as an unofficial member of the Gold Coast Legislative Council.

During his time as lieutenant governor, he was involved in many important events. Most notably, he came to the defense of Thomas Birch Freeman, an Afro-English missionary who was attacked by priests of a local deity named Naanam Mpow. Bannerman responded by jailing the priests. While he had higher ambitions, he was never able to become governor of the Gold Coast.

Bannerman’s family remained prominent after his death in 1858. His son Charles established the Accra Herald newspaper in September 1857, the first African to publish a newspaper in West Africa. The Accra Herald(later named the West African Herald) continued for 16 years. Another son, Edmund, served as secretary to governors of the Gold Coast, a Civil Commandant, and a Justice of the Peace. He later became an attorney. Bannerman’s sons were all educated in England.

Bannerman’s grandson, Thomas Hutton-Mills Sr., was a lawyer and nationalist leader in the early twentieth century. He served as the first President of the National Congress of British West Africa in 1920. Thomas Hutton-Mills Jr., was a lawyer and early member of Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP). He was put in jail in 1950 for helping lead boycotts and strikes against the British. He later became a member of the Legislative Assembly, a cabinet minister, and after independence, Ghana’s Ambassador to Liberia.

Sources: enslaved.org

Viola Desmond ( 1914 – 1965)

In mid-20th century Canada, Viola Desmond brought nationwide attention to the African Nova Scotian community’s struggle for equal rights. An African-Canadian businesswoman, she confronted the racism that Black Nova Scotians routinely faced by refusing to sit in a segregated space in a public theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946. After her arrest and conviction on spurious charges that concealed racial discrimination behind the arrest, Desmond fought the charges with the help of the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NSAACP). Now a symbol of the struggle for equal rights, Viola Desmond’s defiance in the face of injustice became a rallying cry for Black Nova Scotians and Canadians determined to end racial discrimination.
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Africa Unity Day – 58 years later

Credit: consumare.org

In this day in 1963, African leaders from 32 independent countries established an intergovernmental organization called the Organization of African Nations in Addis-Abeba, Ethiopia.

Some of the key aims of the OAU were to encourage political and  economic integration among member states, and to eradicate colonialism and neo-colonialism from the African continent.
58 years later in 2021, the continent is far to have achieved this goal: No Unity, no real Independence.
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21 march 1960 -Remember Sharpeville and take actions

Sharpeville massacre, (March 21, 1960), incident in the black township of Sharpeville, near VereenigingSouth Africa, in which police fired on a crowd of blacks, killing or wounding some 250 of them. It was one of the first and most violent demonstrations against apartheid in South Africa.The Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), a splinter group of the African National Congress (ANC) created in 1959, organized a countrywide demonstration for March 21, 1960, for the abolition of South Africa’s pass laws. Participants were instructed to surrender their reference books (passes) and invite arrest. Some 20,000 blacks gathered near a police station at Sharpeville, located about 30 miles (50 km) south of Johannesburg. After some demonstrators, according to police, began stoning police officers and their armoured cars, the officers opened fire on them with submachine guns. About 69 blacks were killed and more than 180 wounded, some 50 women and children being among the victims. A state of emergency was declared in South Africa, more than 11,000 people were detained, and the PAC and ANC were outlawed. Reports of the incident helped focus international criticism on South Africa’s apartheid policy. Following the dismantling of apartheid, South African President Nelson Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site at which, on December 10, 1996, he signed into law the country’s new constitution.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March.
In 1979, the General Assembly adopted a Programme of activities to be undertaken during the second half of the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (A/RES/34/24). On that occasion, the General Assembly decided that a week of solidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination, beginning on 21 March, would be organized annually in all States. Read More “21 march 1960 -Remember Sharpeville and take actions”

Nina Simone

“Nina Simone, you are idolized, even loved, by millions now. But what happened, Miss Simone? Maya Angelou

She was one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, an icon of American music. She was the consummate musical storyteller, a griot as she would come to learn, who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works. She earned the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment. She was who the world would come to know as Nina Simone. Read More “Nina Simone”