W.E.B. DuBois championed equal rights for Diasporans in the United States and around the world. Ultimately, the man widely considered the Father of Pan Africanism did away with his protracted romanticism of America. He relocated to Ghana and worked alongside the nation’s government until his death. He is still buried there today.
When Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonial rule in 1957, DuBois called Ghana the vanguard of Pan Africanism. The title is compatible with the history of the Ghanaian people, one that reveals the responsibility she has toward all children of the Diaspora. What then must these children know about Mother Ghana?
Like most Africans, Ghanaians trace their beginnings to Egyptian, Ethiopic and Mesopotamian roots. Based on their traditions, culture and historical migrations, many Ghanaian tribes believe they are descendants of the ancient Hebrews of Israel who originated from Black African tribes.
According to long-standing oral legend, the ancient Ghanaians migrated from East Africa to sub-Saharan Africa during the first Arab invasion of the continent. They followed the sun until it stopped moving and built an altar on the land they were on and called it Ghana. Researchers have found startling similarities between Ghanaian and Hebrew traditions—the former are still observed to this day.
Most of the African slaves taken during the Transatlantic Slave Trade came from or through Ghana. Recent studies show the majority trace their ancestral origins to Ghana. Ghana’s independence from colonial rule in 1957 inspired Diasporan leaders abroad, such as Du Bois, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who all referred to the new country as the Promised Land for Black people.
In acknowledgment of the magnitude of their independence, Ghana adopted the black star on its red, gold and green national flag to symbolize the prophecy of Marcus Garvey and his “Back to Africa” movement. This flag would become the motif for the displaced of African descent all over the world, many of whom wanted to see the ideals of Pan-Africanism fulfilled.
Ghana, the country where the African Diasporic journey began, endorses its prophetic responsibility as the Black Star of Africa and the “Gateway to Africa.” Within her ancient hieroglyphic language, we find the “Sankofa” symbol, which means to reclaim a past or a belonging; and “Akwaaba,” which means welcome or “Ako-Aba,” two words which translate to, you have gone and now you have returned.