A Great Commission
At whatever price the gods demand it, Africa must be redeemed. This is the conscious determination of tens of thousands of her sons and daughters scattered abroad in the Western Hemisphere. It is the indefinable and yet irresistible power under urge of which millions more of her children, unconsciously perhaps, express themselves in the daily activities of life. Quickened as if by nature herself, instinctively they wait through the long, long night, and like tribes of feathered forest songsters warble the sure approach of the day, still hid in the bosom of the surrounding darkness and the gloom. For the cry of Africa has reached up to God, and the season of her woes is about to pass. The Heavens are breaking in the east, a golden flood of light is about to pour upon the dark forest-clad mountains standing between the gaze of millions of her people, and the great auspicious day. Above it is pure and bright. The forests rejoice, the birds sing, the water murmurs – all Nature whispers “Africa must be redeemed.”
The theme is inspiring. It is capturing the devotion, not of Africa’s sons alone, but of all nations of the earth. Among them those who even today put them to shame and heap upon them obloquy and disgrace. The forces of their deliverance are working with subtlety that press into service the very emotions of prejudice, hate and selfishness; and in a wonderful way are harnessing them to the worthy motives of sympathy and justice. Thus the Negro of his own vastly improved resources yoked to the unwonted aid of his foes, sees before his eyes the world awakened, to the fact of his approaching deliverance from bondage. His cause assumes commanding evidence, and demands tribute from friend and foe alike. The Redemption of Africa is a great commission, not only to recover Africa for the Africans, but to rescue the souls of Africa’s sons and daughters from social, political, economical and spiritual bondage, and place them on a ground of vantage to secure the true uplift of the race, and the general good of the human family. The cause is profound in its depths, immense in its extent, and dazzling in the heights of its ambition. It has reached the point at which it becomes suicidal to neglect and aimlessly drift from its purchase, criminal to oppose its progress.
The children of Africa are citizens among various nations in all the continents. We would remind them wherever they be that arduous toil, strenuous devotion and untiring zeal in their glorious cause is expected of them. A country with its laws, government and consequent civilization are essential to nationhood, but to a people seeking after and developing nationhood, under the circumstances of the Negro peoples of the world, this is rather one of the eventualities of the propaganda, and must follow as an inevitable result of its development.
This is one reason that Negroes need not contemplate wholesale pilgrimages to Africa, nor heed the attacks of that uninformed and vicious criticism which discredits the “Back-to-Africa” Movement as nothing more than the contemplation of such pilgrimages, and possible disaster to follow them. Wherever they find themselves, they can be absolutely loyal citizens, and at the same time absolutely loyal to the Cause of Africa redeemed. They may build up the nation and government just where they are with great success. They may build up their social, intellectual, political and economic independence, a common consciousness and a great confraternity of all Negroes all over the world. This is our immediate problem. Other things will follow or may be worked out along other lines.