The Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa

Listen Siblings, I come in peace,

“It is no use whatever preaching Wisdom to men: you must inject it into their blood.” — African Proverb (KMT)

This is the 250th post on the African Blood Siblings Newsletter.  As this month reintroduces John Edward Bruce, this post will cover his Organization: “The Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa.”  His founding speech is available online, but his initial draft hasn’t been until today.  I preach the Wisdom of supporting the ABS to many readers, knowing it is of no avail.  The European makes most of us “think White” so this “Black talk” doesn’t register to many readers.  That’s fine with me for I am like Delany’s Blake,

“You know my errand among you; you know my sentiments. I am for war–war upon the whites. ‘I come to bring deliverance to the captive and freedom to the bond.’ Your destiny is my destiny; the end of one will be the end of all. . . . my determination is fixed; I will never leave you. An overwhelming power of our oppressors or some stern adversity, brethren, may force you to forsake me, but even then will I not leave you. I will take me to the mountains, and there in the dreary seclusion of the wilderness, though alone, will I stand firmly in defense of our cause.”

I am your Philosopher.  In my twenty-four-years I have been faithful to you and only you; I have supported you and only you; I have laboured for you and only you.  In these 250 articles I have rallied for membership to create on your behalf and only your behalf.  Dallas Newton first stood.  Courtesy of Amos Wilson, Chancellor Williams, and such she thinks Brilliantly, Beautifully Black.  She joined me in opposing our powerlessness and striving toward our empowerment.  As we gain more membership we can more seriously empower our own.  But if 250 such repetitions isn’t enough to gain your support, no worries.  I am your Philosopher caring day and night for the establishment of numerous Prosperous, Independent African Communities both at home and abroad.  Read John Edward Bruce’s 1913 effort.  Read my 2013 effort.  Understand who are your advocates then write them.  I thank you for being the people I gladly, freely serve.  I ask that you Make a Charitable Donation or Order a Pamphlet or Print out Flyers or Contact the ABS. Subscribe, share, love.

The Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa
Commentary by Onitaset Kumat

John Edward Bruce

I’ve read two John Edward Bruce papers related to “The Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa.” The first was written in 1913 from which the ABS Flyer is similarly formatted. That one introduces “The Sons of Africa” as an Organization. The second was spoken in 1914 to other founding members likely including, but not limited to, “Arthur A. Schomburg, Rev. Charles D. Martin of Antigua, Professor J.E. Kwegri Aggrey, who was a West African teaching in North Carolina, and the Rev. Dr. G. Granville Sutton of Freetown Sierra Leone”[1]. Here John Edward Bruce reveals that Charles D. Martin wishes for the Organization to be an Order. Readers should notice that like the Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa the African Blood Siblings organizes into Units of Organization. The ABS differs in that membership has explicit roles in their Units adding to the efficacy of each Unit. However these roles need people. If the Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa entices you, then join the African Blood Siblings. We need men and women who will work toward their Liberation.

Here is the first of the two papers I read on the Sons of Africa written by John Edward Bruce in 1913:

Name: Sons of Africa
Object: Mutual help
Field: The world
Plan of Organization: Units of 10 or 20 with a captain of each group
Motto: The injury of one is the injury of all
Remarks:
The attitude of the governing race toward the darker races, especially the Negro race, seems to call for some action on the part of the black men to check the growing encroachments upon the rights and liberties of the darker race. This it seems to me, can be splendidly accomplished through a world-wide organization, with headquarters in Africa, whose offices shall be divided proportionately between that country, the West Indies, and the United States. The grievances of the race should be stated clearly and succinctly in a carefully drawn paper and circulated among all Negroes in these countries who think black. Each group should be for the other, and all for each; i.e., if the Negroes of any part of Africa, the West Indies or the United States are suddenly confronted with a problem which affects their political, social or industrial well-being–and lack means to defend their cause, all should make common cause and come to the rescue with their means and counsel, and stand by the injured party until justice is done.

A tax of 3 cents American money per head per week would create a fund with which to prosecute any cause brought to the notice of the organization. Its attorneys (all Negroes) in these several countries would thus be in a position to represent the race en masse, and the governing race would not hesitate to respect the wishes, and honor the demands, of an organization of blacks united for self-defense. The experiment has succeeded among white men why should it not succeed among black men?

Three important ideas are “thinking Black”, spreading grievances and a Black Value System.  I do not expect non-African Blood Siblings readers to “think Black” though there are many exceptions.  But I expect readers to “think Black.”  So it’s upon readers to circulate our literature and make more readers of our race.  For readership opens the way for community.  With respect to spreading grievances, it’s noteworthy that one of the ABS’ earlier posts were the 9 Grievances.  The last idea on a tax is also worth consideration.  Most Africans today finance and fund European Organizations–the Government, the Phone Companies, the Cinema and nearly every other aspect of European Civilization.  Yet despite our continual financing of Europeans, even a miniscule request of donations seems to be met with opposition by most of us.  Amos Wilson put it “Money follows value–we pay for what we value.”  Why don’t we value our Liberation?  Why do we value our Enslavement?  This we need to rethink.  As Amos Wilson also said, “Why does the Black man say, “freedom is doing what I  want to do!” and why is it that every thing he “wants to do” enriches the European?”

Here’s the second paper, the speech, by John Edward Bruce (reformatted but taken from Blackpast) in 1914:

Gentlemen:

About a year ago, I conceived the idea of organizing a society of Black and Colored men, to be known as the “Sons of Africa” and to be international in scope and to embrace in its membership men of all the darker races who have a grievance of any sort against the race which is now dominating the earth and reaping where it has not sown. In talking the matter over with Dr. Martin our host, he suggested, and I think well of the suggestion that we make the organization an order and enjoin upon the members secrecy. The psychological moment has I believe arrived for Negroes and colored men the wide world over to get together and to fight for every right with all our might. We must organize to secure uniformity of utterance and action among the darker races and to meet organized wrong with intelligently organized resistance.

The Slogan of the patriots of the American Revolution was:

“Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.”

The black and colored races can well afford to adopt it as their slogan for the liberties of both the wide world over were never more endangered by the grasping nations of the world than at the present time. The settled policy of the dominant race for the past one hundred years or more has been, and still is, to dominate and control all other races who wear “the shadowed livery of the burnished sun!” India, Africa, the West Indian Islands, the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico. And wherever the white man has been permitted or has forcibly inserted the thin edge of the wedge he has left a withering blight all along his pathway. His consuming desire is to pose as a world power at the sacrifice of the rights and interests of the so-called backward races. His cupidity and avarice have made him impervious to ordinary criticism of his dishonest methods, and it now becomes necessary for those ones who have been the victims of his greed and impulse to organize for self-protection in order to meet organized wrong with organized resistance intelligently directed and without the accompaniment of a Brass Band. This is, as I believe, the Psychological moment for Negroes all over the world to begin to touch elbows, exchange ideas and formulate plans for mutual protection for practical, racial and religious advantage. We are clearly within our rights in seeking here to found the Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa to bear a part in the revolution of ideas which usually precedes a resort to physical force when reason and argument fail. The battle of the darker races is an intellectual one, and with good generals in command of the forces which are to do battle—the victory is all the more certain. An army divided is an army defeated. The reasons which we think make necessary such an organization as we have proposed may be briefly stated as follows:

  1. The increase of race prejudice in Europe and America,
  2. The denial of equal opportunities to black and colored men in countries supposedly their own but which have been preempted by cajolery or force by white men,
  3. The growing tendency of white men to immunize the Negro influence in governmental affairs in this and in other countries by diplomacy, or brute force according to the exigencies of the case.
  4. The deceit practiced by white men upon Negroes their peers in culture and character with whom they palter in a double sense to compass their reprehensive and dishonorable ends,
  5. We all know what a treacherous biped the white man is and how intensely selfish and hypocritical he is therefore it behooves us to play the game he is playing, but upon a loftier plane in the hope of saving to a future generation of black the heritage bequeathed to us by our fathers.

Gentlemen the meeting is now open for full and free discussion.

Two important ideas are “Unity of Utterance and Action” and Organizing for Self-Protection.  The ABS Newsletter now has 250 articles offering Unity of Utterance and Action.  We’re about Organizing in Units with the basic goal of establishing Prosperous, Independent African Communities by way of Local Self-Sufficient Projects.  Self-Protection touches upon our Motto: “Maroon and Build For Self.”  To this day, since our enslavement, the only Free Africans are the Maroons, of which Suriname has this excellent example.  It’s upon us to do as we plead “Maroon and Build For Self.”  I may be preaching, not injecting, but you can bare with me.  I want a better future for us.  If you want that alone we can move with locked steps toward a better tomorrow.  Join.

Reference:

[1] These men are mentioned as Founding Members.  Presumably they were present at this speech.  http://diaspora.northwestern.edu/mbin/WebObjects/DiasporaX.woa/wa/displayArticle?atomid=617

2 thoughts on “The Loyal Order of the Sons of Africa

  1. sittinducks

    Brother Oni,
    It is an honor to be a member and regular reader of ABS. As always, your posts are most informative. Thank you for your loyalty to African people and their descendants all over the world. But most of all you are to be commended for your committment to effective organization. It is a challenging undertaking, but most rewarding. The character traits one needs for this daunting task are not, unfortunately, bestowed upon many people. It must be heaven sent.

    One observation I made in reading this post is that the time frame John Edward Bruce gave his speech to call for a world-wide organization was 1914, around the same time the Niagara Movement and the NAACP were formed. It is worth reflecting upon why Loyal Order of Sons of Africa is rather obscure and not mentioned in history books? This is my first introduction to John Edward Bruce.

    Reply
    1. Onitaset Post author

      Sister Dallas Newton,

      It’s a great honor to have your membership and regular readership. You are yourself an excellent writer and thinker and I don’t know of anyone better at conversation than you. More, you have the worthy trait of valuing other African people, even at a time when our undervaluing of one another is the mainstay of our imposed culture. Thank you for this association. I cherish it.

      With regard John Edward Bruce, I regret that I don’t intend to have an article on this biographical account: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/bruce-john-edward-1856-1924

      But one quotation in particular is interesting:

      In 1890 he joined activist T. Thomas Fortune’s Afro-American League, the first organized black civil rights group in the nation. He became the organization’s new president in 1898 when it reformed as the Afro-American Council.

      This is another aspect of neglected history. In fact, T. Thomas Fortune, we learn, was the one responsible for reviving the term “Afro-American” during a time when we went by “Negro.”

      What’s fortunate is John Edward Bruce was also the President of the Negro Society for Historical Research, where Arthur Schomburg was the Secretary. For this reason, as this biography ( http://www.2souls2.com/2souls.com/main/Knowledge%20Warehouse/Bruce/bruce.htm ) details, “the voluminous Bruce Papers in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, contain about 1,300 of his letters, articles, speeches, unpublished manuscripts, programs, and scrapbooks.” Of course this resource is undervalued. Occasionally Europeans are mobilized to overtake the Schomburg or put as its Director one of their White thinking Africans. If we had more Dallas Newtons, as I hope we someday do, we could make a racial program of educating on our great African thinkers and advocates.

      But on point, I am happy with this Dallas Newton.

      I thank you for your spirit,

      Reply

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