"The Unwritten History": Alexander Gumby's African America

Gumby's Events > Fourth Pan-African Congress


Scrapbook 25:
"W.E.B. Du Bois,"
p. 19

Arising out of the perceived opportunity for advancement by colonial subjects--particularly in Africa and Asia--after their active participation in support of the allied cause during World War I, W.E.B. Du Bois and others helped organize the First Pan-African Congress in Paris in 1919 as a way to both coordinate civil rights efforts wherever black people faced discrimination and to publicize the achievements of black people throughout the world. Although subsequent Congresses were held in 1921, 1923, and 1927, lagging attendance at the last of these meetings, the Fourth Pan-African Congress, meant that it was the final such gathering to be held until another eighteen years passed.

The Fourth Pan-African Congress was notable as the only of these gatherings held in the United States. Like most of the other events that Gumby documented through ephemera rather than secondary news clippings, it took place in New York City--more specifically, Harlem (as indicated by the opening session's address, listed on the handbill at right). Note that this item appears in Gumby's scrapbook devoted to W.E.B. Du Bois. Residing among news reports about Du Bois as well as publications written by him, this suggests that Gumby's interest in the event had as much to do with it being an example of Du Bois' life and work rather than a noteworthy occurrence in and of itself.


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