African-Americans and the Italo–Ethiopian Crisis, 1935–1936: The Practical Dimension of Pan-Africanism

Article English OPEN
Erhagbe, Edward O. ; Ifidon, Ehimika A. (2012)
  • Publisher: Universität Hamburg, Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies
  • Journal: Aethiopica (issn: 2194-4024, eissn: 1430-1938)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.15460/aethiopica.11.1.187
  • Subject: Ethiopian Studies | Pan-Africanism; Imperial Ethiopia; Afro-Americans; Colonialism; History; Politics; Italo-Ethiopian Crisis; Mussolini | ddc:320 | ddc:960 | ddc:900

In a world where the Negro groped for recognition, Ethiopia (Abyssinia), with its ancient institutions and sovereignty virtually intact, was a symbol of racial pride and achievement. This Ethiopia was however invaded by Italy in 1935. It was a racial interpretation that the Negro world gave the Italian invasion. African-American interest in Africa which hitherto had been romantic and sentimental, with the Italian invasion became practical, and in this case designed to strengthen Ethiopian resistance. In the end, African-American contribution, though symbolically significant, was paltry. This can be accounted for by the relative poverty of African-Americans, and the time and cultural distance separating them from Africa.