Sunday, May 23, 2010

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Among 37 Delegates At Pan-African Conference in London in 1900

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor; Chicago Sinfonietta; Paul Freeman; Cedille 90000 055 (2000]

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was an Afro-British composer, conductor and professor of Music who was born in a suburb of London. He is profiled at, which discusses many recordings of his works. The biography briefly addresses Pan-Africanism in Paragraph 5: “Very early on the composer began collaborating with the African American poet and author Paul Lawrence Dunbar (1872-1906). Writing in Africana Encyclopedia, Roanne Edwards says of Coleridge-Taylor: 'He was also a leading exponent of Pan-Africanism, which emphasized the importance of a shared African heritage as the touchstone of black cultural identity.'”

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor attended the first Pan-African Conference, held in London in 1900. Writer Sandrine Thomas describes the events which led to the historic gathering:
May 23, 2010
Posted by Ay-leen the Peacemaker
“The close of the nineteenth century saw a cementing of ideals among the African Diaspora. From history, we learn strictly about Jim Crow and the 'Scramble for Africa,' which not only erases the humanity of black peoples of this period, but also pries their autonomy from their hands and paints them as victims of circumstance, or worse, passive receptacles of degradation. A deeper look reveals a surprising texture to the turn-of-the-century, where African-Americans, West Indians, and Africans exercised their rights as citizens of their respective countries while at the same time, working to forge a uniquely 'African' culture on which to find strength and unity.

“The result of this was the birth of the Pan-African movement. According to its leaders, 'Pan-Africanist philosophy held that slavery and colonialism depended on and encouraged negative, unfounded categorizations of the race, culture, and values of African people. These destructive beliefs in turn gave birth to intensified forms of racism.' Not surprisingly, the figure most identified with the movement was a London-based, West-Indian barrister named Henry Sylvester-Williams.”

“Buoyed by and armed with thoughts such as Blyden’s and the writings of people like W.E.B. DuBois and Anna Cooper, the first Pan-African Conference took root in the summer of 1900. Thirty-seven delegates attended the conference, among them Samuel Coleridge Taylor, John Alcindor, Dadabhai Naoroji, John Archer and Du Bois, and the focus of a great many speeches delivered were aimed at the governments of world powers to introduce legislation to bring about racial equality.”

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