Literary movements and black leadership: The connections between Indigenisme, Pan-Africanism, Garveyism, Harlem Renaissance, and Negritude, in the writings of selected leaders

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Interdepartmental Studies

First Committee Member

Marvin P. Dawkins - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to analyze connections between specific literary movements in relation to selected sociopolitical movements and leaders of the black Diaspora. The study investigated the importance of unfaltering leadership in the emergence and transnational propagation of literary movements which influenced the progression and continuity of sociopolitical movements. The 19th--20th century literary and sociopolitical movements include Pan-Africanism, Garveyism, Indigenisme, Harlem Renaissance, and Negritude. Leaders associated with these movements are Edward Blyden, Martin Delany, W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Marcus Garvey, Amy Jacques-Garvey, Jean Price-Mars, Aime Cesaire, Jane and Paulette Nardal, Kwame Nkrumah, and Malcolm X.The analysis of the writings of these leaders and selected forerunners (e.g., Toussaint Louverture and Frederick Douglass) revealed connective linkages between literary and sociopolitical movements. Common themes include struggles for independence, appropriate educational philosophy to foster black progress, necessity of black-controlled businesses, preservation of African heritage, articulation and implementation of black power, and the role of black women activists. Chronologically, Black Nationalism---in all its forms, i.e., both avant la lettre and nominal---gave birth to Pan-Africanism and Garveyism, Indigenisme and Harlem Renaissance, and Negritude. In turn, these movements contributed to evolving definitions and functions of Black Nationalism. A key element if not the foundational component of Black Nationalism, throughout these literary and sociopolitical movements, was the advocacy for relevant education within the black Diaspora.The study's significance is its contribution to broadening an understanding of the connections between movements of the black Diaspora. Greater emphasis on literary, sociopolitical relations between blacks in Africa, the Americas, and Europe, will enable scholars to better understand and contextualize the ideological exchanges and sociocultural influences that play a paramount role in advancing intellectual evolution and political processes of the black world. Future research should continue to dismantle geographical and linguistic barriers by situating movements throughout the Diaspora in relational context and placing leaders of such movements in direct or indirect dialogue.


Literature, Comparative; History, Black; Literature, Caribbean; Literature, American; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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