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W.E.B. Du Bois and Black Sovereignty

Du Bois, second from right, at the second Pan-African Congress, Brussels, 1921.

Edited by Sidney J. Lemelle and Robin D.G. Kelley, Imagining Home: Class, Culture and Nationalism in the African Diaspora — published by Verso in 1994 as part of the Haymarket series — grew out of a 1988 conference at Pomona organized by Lemelle and Ruth Wilson Gilmore that was designed to "critically assess the 're-birth' of radical Black/Pan-Africanist movements." The editors write:

Although [the conference] Pan-Africanism Revisited was conceived as an opportunity to reassess the achievements and failures of various Pan-African movements and ideologies, examine their political, historical and cultural salience, and ruminate on the role Pan-Africanism has played in the struggle for liberation on the continent and in the diaspora, many of the participants presented work that shifted the conference's focus in significant ways. By the final day of the meeting, it had become clear that the central project of the conference was not to recuperate and assess the Pan-African ideal as it emerged in the Manchester conference of 1945 or in the heady days of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, but to interrogate the very meaning of the term and search for the often ambivalent place Africa holds in the imaginations of its "New World" descendants — the daughters and sons of Africa who are either not associated with what we traditionally label Pan-Africanism or whose relationship to Africa has been oversimplified by previous scholarship. Indeed, most conference participants tended to shy away from a single working definition of Pan-Africanism and concluded that it has taken different forms at different historical moments. Sometimes it has taken the form of a tangible political movement; at other times it has been an expression of consciousness animated by various cultural forms. And more often than not, it has been a combination of the two. One thing is certain: no matter how conservative or atavistic the rhetoric, Pan-Africanism was intended to be an oppositional ideology. As Bernard Magubane put it recently, "The Pan-African consciousness has always been a determined effort on the part of Black peoples to rediscover their shrines from the wreckage of history. It was a revolt against the white man's ideological suzerainty in culture, politics, and historiography."

We situate this collection of essays within a broader radical literature that regards Pan-African politics as the construction and reconstruction of a diasporic identity and as the product of racial capitalism, cultural hegemony and self-activity. 

Cedric Robinson's contribution to the collection, reprinted below, traces the evolution of W.E.B. Du Bois' position on Liberia and his relations with the country's Americo-Liberian elite.

Robinson's own groundbreaking work provides the basis for a new collection edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin, just out from Verso: Futures of Black Radicalism. To celebrate its publication, we have 40% off our Race and Ethnicity reading list until Sunday, September 3 at 11:59 PST. 


The political and intellectual activities of W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) span a critical period in world history. Among the developments most immediately pertinent to our inquiry into Du Bois’s articulation with Liberia are colonialism and its concomitant formations of Black middle classes; the peculiar and unique history of the "Americo-Liberian" elite; and the equally curious advent of the United States as a colonial power. By the early twentieth century, these elements were destined to collide when the United States and European states actively challenged the autonomy of Haiti, Liberia, and Ethiopia. 1 How Du Bois responded to one of those challenges, the attempt to reduce Liberia to an American colony, is our concern. I shall contend that Du Bois, blinded by the elitism characteristic of his class prerogative, fell prey to American colonialism. More important, Du Bois's treatment of Liberia provides evidence of the ambiguous conjuncture of the discourses of race and class.

As what came to be known as "the new imperialism" extended into the twentieth century, it provided unparalleled opportunities for the embryonic Black middle classes being nurtured in the Western hemisphere and in European colonies in Africa. As a class, their interests were identical to those of other "middling" classes formed from professional service and intellectual and ideological functions rather than the domination of commerce and commodity production. Like their European predecessors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and their contemporaries in the twentieth century all over the world, the Black middle classes — that is, the Black intelligentsias of the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa — were captives of a dialectic: on the one hand, their continued development was structurally implicated in the continued domination of their societies by the Atlantic metropoles; on the other, the historic destiny of their class was linked to nationalism. Put bluntly, the future of the Black middle class was embedded in the contradictions of imperialism.

Margery Perham, a British anthropologist and colonial functionary, frankly described the projected role of the Black middle classes for an audience in attendance at a summer school training in colonial administration at Oxford University in 1938:

The basic difficulty [in carrying out "indirect rule"] ... is (and here I speak especially of Africa) the great gap between the culture of rulers and ruled. In administration, reduced to its simplest terms, it means that for the most part the people do not understand what we want them to do, or, if they understand, do not want to do it... [therefore] we endeavor to instruct the leaders of the people in the objects of our policy, in the hope that they will, by their natural authority, at once diffuse the instruction and exact the necessary obedience. 2

Imperialism and colonialism required a native base for their administration of so-called "dependencies." The consequence was a class of bureaucrats, militias, educators, and professionally and technically trained factors whose existence and status hinged on its performance in the apparatus of domination. For this class the objective of national development had to supersede all else — even national liberation. Paradoxically for their imperial patrons, as the Black middle classes matured, their ideological predispositions towards elitism would scatter and fragment. Among those fragments were anti-imperialisms, costumed as either nationalism or radicalism. "Ineluctably," in the twentieth century, "the events which did most to shape their era — the crises of world capitalism, the destructive dialectic of imperialism, and the historical and ideological revelations or the naïvete of Western socialism — drove them into a deeper consciousness." 3 Indeed, by the post-World War I period, a cohort of Black intellectuals drawn from the Black middle classes had evolved a political posture that required them to inspect closely the social legitimacy as well as the ideological presumptions of their own class.


In the late eighteenth century, when the modern bureaucratic and professional classes of Germany were first making their appearances, their intellectual representatives had created the notion of the "universal class," a class whose nature and interests were commensurate with those of the society at large. Immanuel Kant, the first accomplished moral philosopher and theorist of this class, had privileged the bureaucratic class as the site of reason. Hegel put the point even more strongly. In the context of a historical philosophy that posited humankind's ascent to a divinelike perfect reason, Hegel identified the bureaucracy — what he called the "public class" — as "necessity" itself. It was this same concept, that of a "universal class," which Marx would later appropriate for use in his construction of the historical proletariat.

At the root of the admiration Kant demonstrated for the bureaucracy and Hegel of his "new public class" were their functions as apostolates to the modern State. As ideologues of a class that owed its very existence to the administrative needs of the emerging nation-state, it is not surprising that they would situate this new political institution at the hub of modern history. Hegel, we are told, went so far as to declare: "It is the way of God in the world, that there should be the state." And Karl Mannheim observed: "This bourgeois intellectualism expressly demanded a scientific politics . . ." 7 As we shall see, Du Bois and many other prominent intellectuals drawn from the Black middle class of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries recited from the same ideological catechism. With respect to Liberia, however, their most fundamental conceptual error was mistaking it for a nation-state.


The outlines of Liberia's history are already familiar. Founded in the early nineteenth century by Black émigrés from the United States (inspired by the earlier colonizing efforts of Paul Cuffe) and the American Colonization Society, Liberia acquired formal status and a republican constitution in 1847. Between 1822 and 1890, a steady stream of immigrants settled on the Liberian coast. Among them were nearly 20,000 Afro-Americans for whom the American Colonization Society took credit, joined by another 5,000 Africans aboard slave ships intercepted by the American navy. These émigrés were the original Americo-Liberians.

For the next one hundred years following its formal independence, Liberia experienced the extremes of uneven development. Writing in 1970 in defense of the leadership of the Americo-Liberians, Elliot Berg protested:

Until twenty-five years ago, Liberia could be called a "country" or "state" only in a strictly legal use of the term. It was in reality a collection of coastal communities, cut off from the hinterland and each other, and quite autonomous in most things that mattered. There existed almost no significant area of public activity which could give substance to the "state." The central government had at its disposal a few hundred thousand dollars annually, much of it periodically earmarked to pay off foreign loans. There were few schools, roads, or dispensaries. There were indeed almost no public goods and services at all. The administrative system could hardly be said to reach beyond Monrovia, so there was little knowledge and less control over happenings in the interior. 10

The stagnation of Liberia, however, was not due to lack of interest or zeal on the part of Black leaders in the United States. "In the 1890s [Reverend Henry McNeal Turner] became the leading advocate of emigration." 11 Emphasizing the responsibility of American Blacks to the Christianizing mission were prominent figures such as Reverend Alexander Crummell; John Henry Smyth, the one-time US minister to Liberia; Reverend Charles S. Morris; Reverend John W. Gilbert, president of Miles Memorial College; and Reverend J.C. Price, president of Livingstone College. Others such as Thomas McCants Stewart (who had taught at Liberia College), Professor Richard T. Greener, Reverend Rufus Perry and Amanda Berry Smith (a former missionary in Liberia) encouraged American Blacks to provide "scientific, technical and industrial education" to Liberians. Bishop Turner, while in Liberia, had written to American "Black capitalists" that if they would start trading with Liberia they would be worth millions in a few years. 12 Lenwood Davis reports:

In 1904 came word of the formation of the African Trading Company which intended to facilitate commerce and emigration. About the same time the New York and Liberia Steamship Company announced its intention to start a ship to Africa. The American and West African Steamship Company also existed for a time. Later the Liberian Trading and Emigration Association of the U.S.A. was established. In 1907 a group of Blacks under the leadership of Walter F. Walker organized the Liberation Development Association ... In December 1913 a group of Blacks organized the African Union Company which proposed to handle African products on a large scale and establish mercantile operations between Africa and the markets of the world. 13

Afro-American opinion on Liberia, however, was not always enthusiastic. In the mid nineteenth century, Martin Delaney had described Liberia as "a poor miserable mockery — a burlesque of a government." 14 And in 1886 Thomas McCants Stewart, the Afro-American lawyer who had taught in Liberia, observed: "The natives of Liberia have been to the emigrants from America just what these ex-slaves were to the whites of the South. They have been defrauded, beaten with stripes, and made to feel that they were inferior beings." 15 The motto of the republic, "The love of liberty brought us here," Stewart suggested ironically, ought really to read "To be free from labor we came here." 16 Though largely understood as accurate, remarks such as Stewart's rankled Alexander Crummell, the former missionary to Liberia. Crummell focused on their potential political damage. According to Davis:

[Crummell] was angry that Whites and Blacks were hostile to Liberia. This led him to say in 1891 that "it is very common now-a-days to hear this little Republic referred to as evidencing the incapacity of the Negro for free government, and nothing is more constant, nothing more frequent than the declaration that 'Liberia is a failure!' ... Nothing can be more ignorant, nothing more stupid than these utterances." 17

Immanuel Geiss, however, observes: "Alexander Crummell, one of the most impressive Afro-American figures of the nineteenth century, never lost his balance vis-à-vis Liberia. Although he gave a positive appreciation of its function, he remained cool and 'had nothing extravagant to say about Liberia." 18


The same could not be said of Du Bois. As Geiss himself comments, "Du Bois praised Liberia quite uncritically." 19 Even after the Liberian slavery scandal of 1929-30 that had forced the "retirement" of President C.D.B. King, Du Bois, at least in public, still minimized the injustices perpetrated by the Liberian ruling class and its foreign collaborators. Writing in Foreign Affairs in 1933, Du Bois concluded:

Liberia is not faultless. She lacks training, experience and thrift. But her chief crime is to be black and poor in a rich, white world; and in precisely that portion of the world where color is ruthlessly exploited as a foundation for American and European wealth. 20

This article is a particularly revealing sample of Du Bois’s thought, and we shall return to it momentarily.

Du Bois's activities on behalf of "Liberia," or more accurately on behalf of the ruling Americo-Liberians, took the forms of diplomacy, propaganda-publicism, and financial brokering. Among them four interventions by Du Bois assumed particular significance. First, as a special representative of President Calvin Coolidge — his title was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary — Du Bois had attended the inauguration of President C.D.B. King in January 1924. During his sojourn in Liberia, it is obvious that Du Bois became acquainted with the privileged social position enjoyed by the Liberian ruling class. In Crisis in April 1924, Du Bois described a Liberian senator as a "curious blend of feudal lord and modern farmer." 21 Another visit, twenty miles outside Monrovia, revealed "a mansion of five generations with a compound of endless native servants and cows under the palm thatches." 22  In absolute consonance with the colonial scenes in these word-paintings, Du Bois recorded that the native African Liberians sang in silly words, and "gay with Christmas and a dash of gin, danced and sang and danced in the road." Upon his return to the United States, Du Bois would report to Secretary of State Charles Evan Hughes

... of a country which had "extended her democracy to include natives on the same terms as Liberians," had balanced her budget, and had "never had a revolution or internal disturbance save in comparatively few cases, with the war-like native tribes." 23

Reflecting the preoccupations and imagination of his class, Du Bois "recommended American economic and diplomatic support for Liberia's modernization." 24 As he would confess nine years later, like many other members of the Black middle-class intelligentsia he had succumbed to a most terrible species of technocracy:

I remember standing once in a West African forest where thin, silver trees loomed straight and smooth in the air. There were two men with me. One was a black man, Solomon Hood, United States Minister to Liberia; a man of utter devotion whose solicitude for the welfare of Liberia was like a sharp pain driving him on. And he thought he had found the solution. The solution was the white man beside us. He was a rubber expert sent by the Firestone Corporation... 25

In this resolve, Du Bois and Hood were one. However, the seemingly perverse innocence of Du Bois's journalistic observations of Liberian manners and the technical emphases of his official report were quite likely accompaniments to a more sinister mission: to frustrate the plan of the Universal Negro Improvement Association to move its headquarters to Liberia and establish a new settlement of New World Blacks. This is the second (and more circumstantial) of Du Bois''s interventions.

In January 1923, nearly a year before he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Liberia, Du Bois had written Secretary of State Hughes suggesting that the US government undertake to "aid or guide a plan of furnishing at least two ships [to Black American entrepreneurs] for the tentative beginning of direct commercial intercourse between Liberia and America." 26 Du Bois further suggested that for this purpose the US government might secure the stock of the "Bankrupt Black Star Line." He informed Hughes that the failure of the Black Star Line was to be laid at the feet of Marcus Garvey: "The difficulty ... was that its leader, Marcus Garvey, was not a business man and turned out to be a thoroughly impractical visionary, if not a criminal, with grandiose schemes of conquest." 27 Herbert Aptheker, the editor of Du Bois's papers, comments: "There appears to be no record of a response from the State Department." 28 Nevertheless, ten months later Du Bois secured his State Department appointment, largely resulting from the persuasions of William Henry Lewis, "a Boston Negro attorney and a leading Massachusetts Republican, who had served as assistant Attorney-General in the Taft administration," who warned President Coolidge of the imminent loss of Black votes in 1924. 29

M.E. Akpan has documented rather conclusively that the State Department personnel in Monrovia were closely watching the progress of the UNLA mission with discrete hostility. He surmised:

Although, so far as has been ascertained, the Department made no representation to the Liberian government against the Association, it is very probably that it was to indicate the attitude of the American Government towards the Association that President Calvin Coolidge appointed William E.B. Du Bois, Garvey's most formidable Afro-American opponent and critic, as United States representative at the inauguration of President King in January 1924. 30

Akpan continues: "... the Liberian leaders could hardly have failed to seek Du Bois's opinion of the Association, which, it could be assumed, would be discreditable to the Association." 31 In a letter to Azikiwe in 1932, Du Bois would deny even mentioning "Garvey to Mr. King or to any Liberian official during my stay there." 32 This denial is barely creditable in light of Du Bois's own assertion in 1933 that while in Liberia "... I did all I could to cooperate with Hood and Africa and Liberia and tell them of the tremendous interest which American colored people had in them." 33 But whatever he might have said or not said in Liberia in January 1924, a few months later in a May 1924 editorial in the Crisis, Du Bois declared: "Marcus Garvey is, without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world. He is either a lunatic or a traitor." 34

Interestingly enough, during the same period in which Du Bois was quite evidently warning American officials and Black Americans of the "visionary" schemes of Marcus Garvey, he was importuning the American government and American capital to support his own versions of Liberian development. To Secretary of State Hughes, Du Bois had inquired of federal protection for Black venture capital: "If the matter were properly presented to black America, and if the colored people were safe-guarded from the exploitations which might arise in such a project, they could loan considerable money to Liberia." 35 This, of course, was precisely the relationship between the State and private capital which had precipitated the occupation of Haiti which had begun in 1915. 36 Apparently, Du Bois's immersion in the ideology of the State had hidden this consequence from him.

Later, in 1925, Du Bois had followed up his Liberian discussions with Donald Ross, the representative of the Firestone Company. In 1924, Firestone had approached the Liberian government for a concession of one million acres for the cultivation of rubber coupled with a loan of $5,000,000. Largely on account of its perennial condition of bankruptcy, a fear of French and British designs on Liberian soil and pressure from the US State Department, the Americo-Liberians had finally agreed to Firestone's conditions in 1927. 37 In October 1925, Du Bois wrote to Harvey Firestone suggesting that in "this experiment in Liberia" Firestone might employ among his "industrial personnel" "Colored Americans of education and experience." 38 He encouraged Firestone:

I believe that in this way you can inaugurate one of the greatest and far reaching reforms in the relations between white industrial countries like America and black, partly developed countries like Liberia if it can once be proven that industry can do the same thing in a black country like Liberia that it does in a white country like Australia: that is, invade it, reform it and uplift it by incorporating the native born into the imported industry and thus make the industry a part of the country. 39

Here Du Bois exhibited a naïvete or at least an optimism with respect to capitalism which was more characteristic of the petty bourgeoisies of the mid nineteenth century than earlier or later. 40 After all, Hegel had observed that the mercantile and industrial classes "... base their subsistence on the misery of one class." 41 To his credit, in 1933, just eight years after his approach to Firestone, Du Bois no longer suffered such illusions. Now as a radical Black intellectual, Du Bois confessed:

I know what European imperialism has done to Asia and Africa; but, nevertheless, I had not then lost faith in the capitalist system, and I believed that it was possible for a great corporation, headed by a man of vision, to go into a country with something more than the mere ideal of profit. 42

This is the Du Bois we find in Black Reconstruction.

There was, however, one more instance in which Du Bois held to the predilections of his class. Paradoxically, it came in 1933, precisely when Du Bois was acquiring the critical stance of a renegade petty bourgeois. The occasion was the most serious challenge to Americo-Liberian "sovereignty" mounted by American and European interests. 43 I.K. Sundiata, one of the best students of the crisis, describes it in this way:

In June of 1929 the US State Department informed the Liberian government that there had come to its attention disturbing reports about "the so-called 'export' of labor from Liberia to Fernando Po . . ." The reports indicated that the labor system in question was "hardly distinguishable from organized slave trade, and that in the enforcement of this system the services of the Liberian Frontier Force, and the services and influences of certain high Government officials, are constantly and systematically used." So began a scandal that would have worldwide repercussions.

An investigation of Liberia by the League of Nations in 1930 soon revealed that indigenous Liberian workers, mostly from the Kru and Grebo peoples, were being crudely exploited by the Americo-Liberian elite ... 44

For the most part, Afro-American leaders rightly interpreted the crisis as an occasion for the Western powers to place Liberia under some sort of receivership. They were particularly concerned when President King was forced to retire in 1930 but the United States refused to recognize the regime of his successor, Edwin Barclay, King's former secretary of state. The issue came to a head in 1933 when the League of Nations debated the recommendation of its Liberia Committee that the reforms of the country be under the administration of a chief adviser and eight other foreign experts, and the counterproposal from the US government that the chief adviser assume autocratic powers:

The difficulty was increased by entreaties from Liberia itself. Americo-Liberia found itself poised between blacks in the Hinterland and blacks in the Diaspora. After 1930, in hopes of gaining support from overseas blacks, Liberia made a strong appeal to racial solidarity. 45

Among the many Black leaders who responded sympathetically to the Americo-Liberian campaign, Du Bois and B.N. Azikiwe were by far the most passionate. Each used his genius to write ardent defenses of Liberia: Du Bois published his Foreign Affairs article in 1933 while privately proposing to the Liberian government that it secretly subsidize a book he would author. 46 Azikiwe published his own apology, Liberia in World Politics, in 1934. Sadly, too, both Du Bois and Azikiwe found reasons to justify the "organized slave trade" documented by the League's investigation while trivializing the militant opposition of those subjected to forced labor. As far as the Liberian slave trade was concerned, Du Bois's argument sounded depressingly familiar. He wrote in 1933:

Now labor supply for modern industry in Africa always tends to approximate slavery because it is bound up with the clan organization of the tribes ... The Commission ... proved that domestic slavery existed among the more primitive Liberian tribes ... 47

He was equally casual about the native resistance: "There was trouble, serious trouble, with the Krus; but it was historical and administrative and connected with the present only in so far as the Krus thought the Liberian Government has been superseded by foreign control." 48

Nevertheless several divisions became apparent among Afro-American leadership: in support of the State Department were to be counted George Schuyler, Charles Johnson (one of the three members of the League's 1930 International Commission of Inquiry), President Robert Moton of Tuskegee, and Thomas Jesse Jones of the Phelps-Stokes Fund (aligned with the Firestone Company); among Du Bois’s coterie were President Mordecai Johnson of Howard University, Rayford Logan of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, the historian Charles Wesley, and Emmett Scott (once Booker T. Washington's secretary but now secretary of Howard University). 49 The Black press also took up the cause of the Americo-Liberians. 50 On the radical left of the support for Liberian sovereignty stood intellectuals like George Padmore and T. Ras Makonnen:

In 1941 Padmore wrote, "I have always considered it my special duty to expose and denounce the misrule of the black governing classes in Haiti, Liberia, and Abyssinia, while at the same time defending these semi-colonial countries against imperialist aggression." 51

Padmore's characterization of his efforts is substantiated by reviewing his The Life and Struggle of Negro Toilers, published in 1931. 52

In this difficult period, ending with the onset of World War II, Du Bois privately and publicly remained an uncritical supporter of the Americo-Liberian regimes. In 1941, the Liberian government belatedly recognized his efforts, bestowing on him the title of Knight Commander of the Order of African Redemption. 53


Du Bois's encounters with Americo-Liberia in the 1920s and 1930s exposed a set of charactological weaknesses in his historical and social consciousness. These amounted to an envelope of petty bourgeois nationalism — an ideology grounded in the presumption that the State occupied a unique, rationalizing position in human history. At the root of this ideological limit in Du Bois's imagination was the class arrogance exhibited repeatedly by intellectuals of Du Bois's class, a class which made its initial appearance in the late eighteenth century. Fortunately, other, more radical and more renegade, representatives of the Black middle class began a systematic critique of their "historical prerogatives" in the 1930s. Foremost among them was C.L.R. James in his monumental historical and theoretical work, The Black Jacobins. 54 In the postwar era, other Black radicals resumed the work, among them Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral in their treatments of the "national bourgeoisie." Together, their works constitute the most comprehensive study and critique of the historical promise and political limitations of their class and the role of the State in the struggle for Black liberation.


1. See C.J. Robinson, "The African Diaspora and the Italo-Ethiopian Crisis," Race & Class, vol. 27, no. 2 (Autumn 1985), pp. 51-65; Gayle Brenda Plummer, "The Afro American Response to the Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934," Phylon, vol. 43 (June 1982); and Fitz Baptiste, "The United States and West Indian Unrest, 1918-1929, "Working Paper No. 18, Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of the West Indies, Jamaica, 1978.

2. Quoted in C.J. Robinson, Black Marxism, London 1983, p. 254.

3. Ibid., p. 260. 

4. See Michael J. Meyer, “Kant's Concept of Dignity and Modern Political Thought," History of European Ideas, vol. 8, no. 3 (1987), pp. 326ff.

5. See Hegel's lectures on the Philosophy of Spirit in Leo Rauch, ed., Hegel and the Human Spirit, Detroit 1983, pp. 163-7.

6. Shlomo Avineri, Hegel's Theory of the Modern State, Cambridge 1972, p. 177.

7. Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, New York 1936, p. 122.

8. Raymond Leslie Buell, Liberia: A Century of Survival, Philadelphia 1947, p. 23; and Lenwood Davis, "Black American Images of Liberia," Liberian Studies journal, vol. 7, no. 1 (1975), p. 55.

9. See J. Gus Liebenow, Liberia, the Evolution of Privilege, Ithaca, N.Y. 1969. 10. Elliot J. Berg, "Politics, Privilege and Progress in Liberia: A Review Article', Liberian Studies Journal, vol. 2, no. 2 (1970), p. 178.

11, Davis, "Black American Images," p. 56.

12. Ibid., p. 66.

13. Ibid., pp. 66-7; and Edwin S. Redkey, Black Exodus, New Haven, Conn. 1969, p. 283.

14. Immanuel Geiss, The Pan-African Movement, London 1974, p. 124.

15. T. McCants Stewart, Liberia: The Americo-African Republic, New York 1886, p. 77; as quoted in Geiss, The Pan-African Movement, p. 125.

16. Ibid., p. 124. For an example of what Stewart was objecting to, see Gary Kuhn, "Liberian Contract Labor in Panama, 1887-1897," Liberian Studies Journal, vol. 7, vol. 1 (1975), pp. 43-52.

17. Davis, Black American Images, p. 65.

18. Geiss, The Pan-African Movement, p. 126.

19. Ibid., p. 127.

20. W.E.B. Du Bois, "Liberia, the League and the United States," Foreign Affairs, vol. 11, no. 4 (July 1933), p. 695.

21. Du Bois, "Africa," The Crisis, vol. 27, no. 6 (April 1924), pp. 247-51, as republished in Julius Lester, The Seventh Son: The Thought and Writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, New York 1971, vol. 2, p. 345.

22. Ibid.

23. Frank Chalk, "Du Bois and Garvey Confront Liberia," Canadian Journal of African Studies, vol. 1, no. 2 (November 1967), p. 138.

24. Ibid.

25. Du Bois, "Liberia, the League and the United States," p. 682.

26. Du Bois to Hughes, 5 January 1923, in Herbert Aptheker, The Correspondence of W.E.B. Du Bois, Amherst, Mass. 1973, p. 261.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid., p. 250.

29. Chalk, "Du Bois and Garvey Confront Liberia," p. 137.

30. Akpan, "Liberia and the Universal Negro Improvement Association: The Background to the Abortion of Garvey's Scheme for African Colonization," Journal of African History, vol. 14, no. 1 (1973), pp. 122-3.

31. Ibid., p. 123.

32. Aptheker, The Correspondence of W.E.B. Du Bois, vol. 1, p. 465.

33. Du Bois, "Liberia, the League and the United States," p. 684, my emphasis.

34. Lester, The Seventh Son, p. 184.

35. Du Bois to Hughes, 5 January 1923, in Aptheker, Correspondance of W.E.B. Du Bois, vol. 1, p. 260.

36. Ernest Gruening, "The issue in Haiti," Foreign Affairs, vol. 11, no. 2 (January 1933).

37. Frank, Chalk, "The Anatomy of an Investment: Firestone's 1927 Loan to Liberia," Canadian Journal of African Studies, vol. 1, no. 1 (March 1967), pp. 12-32.

38. Du Bois to Firestone, 26 October 1925, in Aptheker, Correspondence gf W.E.B. Du Bois, vol. 1, p. 322.

39. Ibid., pp. 322-3.

40. This is an attitude towards "bourgeois society" reminiscent of the naïvete of Marx and Engels found in The Communist Manifesto. For the ideology of the "middle classes" of the nineteenth century, see E.J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848, New York 1962, p. 85.

41, Rauch, Hegel and the Human Spirit, p. 106.

42. Du Bois, “Liberia, the League and the United States," p. 684. See the treatment of Du Bois in Robinson, Black Marxism, pp. 266ff.

43. Liberia's revenues had been under the control of European and American officials since receiving international loans in 1906 and 1912. Cf. Chalk, "The Anatomy of an Investment," p. 12.

44. I.K. Sundiata, Black Scandal, Philadelphia 1980, p. 1.

45. Ibid., p. 108.

46. Aptheker, Correspondence gf W.E.B. Du Bois, vol. 2, pp. 26-9.

47. Du Bois, “Liberia, the League and the United States," pp. 686-7.

48. Ibid., p. 690. For similar arguments by Azikiwe, see his Liberia in World Politics, Westport, Conn. 1934, Chs 1 and 16.

49. Sundiata, Black Sandal, pp. 87 ff.

50. J.R. Hooker, "The Negro American Press and Africa in the Nineteen Thirties," Canadian journal of African Studies, vol. 1, no. 1 (March 1967), p. 46.

51. Ibid., p. 110.

52. See George Padmore, The Life and Struggles of Negro Toilers, Hollywood 1971, pp. 68ff. Geiss observes, however, that "in his last and most influential book [Pan-Africanism or Communism?] Padmore devoted two chapters to the history of Liberia which were completely uncritical and almost amounted to eyewash": Geiss, The Pan-African Movement, p. 127.

53. Du Bois was originally nominated for the honor in 1908 but so too was Booker T. Washington. Du Bois believed the nomination was withdrawn upon the advice of Washington. Cf. Aptheker, Correspondence of W.E.B. Du Bois, vol.2, pp. 287-90.

54. See Robinson, Black Marxism, pp. 349ff.