Reframing African American Consciousness in the Soviet World

Saturday, January 6, 2018
Atrium (Marriott Wardman Park)
Nia Blasingame, Howard University
The Soviet Union played a tremendous role in Black activism and reframing African consciousness during the 1930s-1970s. Looking at writings of Black activists who traveled to the Soviet Union help support this statement. The Soviet Union became very vital to many Black activists, particularly Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, and George Murphy. All the activists wrote extensively on their travels throughout the Soviet Union and their writings explore the idea of reframing the African consciousness and reflect the impact that traveling throughout the Soviet Union had on them. Looking at these three activists and their works reveal the strong ties Black activism had with the Soviet Union and how African consciousness was reframed and sparked back to life during their travels. Robeson’s works reflect the early connection between the Soviet Union and Black activism, the idea of what it means to be a Black American activist and also how African culture could become prominent again in Black Activism. Hughes and his reflections on his journeys through Central Asia create a connection between the struggles that African Americans and ethnic minorities in Central Asia faced and how the Soviet Union could be an influence in equal rights for Black Americans. Finally, George Murphy in his writings explains the damage of capitalism and how the Soviet Union is beneficial to the fight of Black Americans and connecting Black Americans back to the global fight of the African Diaspora. Robeson, Hughes, and Murphy help to reframe a lost African Consciousness in the Soviet World.
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