George Padmore - African Revolutionary, CententaryCelebration
CELEBRATING THE CENTENARY 0F
Born in Trinidad in 1902,George Padmore was
effectively the leader
of the African Revolution from the time the Third
Communist International - The Commintern made him
leader of their Negro Section, up to the time he died
This writer takes the view that George Padmore almost
changed the world single-handedly in the last century.
He stands out among the African men born in the
Caribbean who changed the world for the better in that
He had a single purpose in life. That was to free
Africa from colonial domination. He indicated this
early in his life. After his marriage in 1924, he had
to leave his pregnant wife in Trinidad to enrol at
Fisk University (USA). He left instructions that
whether the child was a boy or girl, the child must be
named Blyden after Edward Wilmot Blyden. For Padmore,
Edward Wilmot Blyden was the Caribbean African
non-pariel (he had no living equal).
Having been given power and authority by the
Commintern, with offices in Moscow, Vienna and
Hamburg, he broke decisively with Moscow and the
Commintern when they no longer served his purpose in
life. The rise of fascism in Germany in the 1930s led
to the Soviet Communist Party changing their
They claimed that there was a distinction between
Democratic Imperialists -Britain, France and the USA
and fascist imperialists - Germany, Italy and Japan.
Padmore's response was that Germany and Japan did not
have colonies in Africa and the United States was the
most race prejudiced country in the world.
Moving to London in 1935, he linked up with his
boyhood friend C. L. R. James. Here, he formed the
International African Service Bureau. He wrote, spoke
demonstrated and protested against colonialism in
Africa while eking out a living as a Journalist. He
wrote numerous books and pamphlets. The book for which
he is remembered most being PAN AFRICANISM OR
It was C. L. R. James who, by this time living in the
USA, gave Kwame Nkrumah a letter of introduction to
Padmore. Of Padmore, Nkrumah says:
"When I first met George...we thought along the same
lines and talked the same language. There existed
between us that rare affinity for which one searches
for so long but seldom finds in another human being.
We became friends at the moment of our meeting and
friendship developed into that desirable relationship
that exists between brothers."
When the United Gold Coast Convention invited Kwame
Nkrumah to return to Ghana to lead the CGCC, it was
Padmore who persuaded him to accept the challenge.
Having listened to C. L. R. James' lecture "Nkrumah,
Padmore and the Ghanaian Revolution" given at The
Institute of the Black World in Atlanta (USA) in 1971,
this writer is convinced that the plans Nkrumah
implemented on his return to Ghana were worked out
with Padmore prior to his return.
When Ghana became independent, Padmore became
Nkrumah's Adviser on African Affairs. Padmore
organised the first meeting of Independent Africa's
Heads of States, then he organised the first All
African Peoples Congress, and then he died in 1959.
He was cremated in London. His ashes were returned to
Ghana at Nkrumah's request and interred at
Christianborg Castle. Then, Nkrumah said, "One day the
whole of Africa will surely be free and united and
when the tale is told, the significace of George
Padmore's contribution will be revealed." One
contemporary British described Padmore as "The silent
hero of the Ghanaian Revolution."
Despite the CIA coup that overthrew Nkrumah, Ghanaians
never forgot Nkrumah. At the very first opportunity,
they established the george Padmore African Research
Library In Accra.
Pan Africanists in London will be celebrating
Padmore's centenary on June 13th at the African
Caribbean Cultural Centre at Clarendon road, Hornsey,
London N8. Speakers include Thamie Ka Plaatjie, the
Secretary general of the Pan Africanist Congress of
Azania. It was Padmore's influence that led Mangaliso
Robert Sobukwe to set up the PAC. Other speakers come
from Angola, Gambia, Ghana and Zimbabwe. Calypsonian
Tobago Crusoe and others will perform the cultural
aspect of this celebration.
I do not see the professors of Pan African Studies
rushing to organise conferences ion George Padmore. I
wonder if this is because a study of Padmore's life
will show what useless characters they are.
Syuggested Reading: BLACK REVOLUTIONARY - George
Padmore's path from Communism to Pan Africanism.