By Robert W. July
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Extra resources for An African Voice: The Role of the Humanities in African Independence
They fully supported the so-called American way and they were firmly anticommunist. While they were wholeheartedly behind the aspirations of Africans for freedom from colonialism, said Diop, they regarded modernization through high technology as the most effective means for African social and economic advancement. Their support of American society was a form of self-support, for they were firmly committed to achieving equal status for blacks in America. Change would come through peaceful, lawful steps, through consensus by all Americans, white and black.
Change would come through peaceful, lawful steps, through consensus by all Americans, white and black. "I remember Davis well," Cheikh Anta Diop recalled, "a good man, levelheaded. He and the others were typical Americans. Davis was always talking about the importance of American foreign aid. They all sounded like Americans, not like blacks. Later, at the time of the civil rights movement, I thought of Davis and his insistence of racial integration through persuasion, through assent, through legal means.
He certainly did not look like one, he was told, "and there was an implication that he did not act like one either. Davis responded that he was a Negro by choice; given the racial imperatives of American society, he could want to be nothing else. His explanation was clear to James Baldwin, who had joined the discussion, but Baldwin was certain that the experience of blacks in America could have scant meaning for Africans emerging from colonialism. Invasion, occupation, and oppression invited overthrow and expulsion of the oppressor, Baldwin thought, but blacks in America were part of their own society, however badly, however unfairly it treated them.