Sons of Sheba's Race, The: African-Americans and the Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935-1941

9780974819839: Sons of Sheba's Race, The: African-Americans and the Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935-1941

The Sons of Sheba's Race: African-Americans and the Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935-1941 illustrates the response to the Italo-Ethiopian War of people of color who linked the Ethiopian struggle to their own battles against racism and imperialism. William R. Scott demon­strates the significance of Ethiopia as a his­torical symbol for African-Americans. They prayed, preached, and protested to help save the world's last outpost of authentic black rule from white control. The African-American response to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia provides a picture of black intel­lectual thought in America in the 1930s. William R. Scott challenges the view that the Great Depression virtually ended sup­port for black nationalism, showing that ele­ments of the nationalist creed remained crucial to black American ideology a de­cade after the decline of Garveyism and contributed to African-American sympathy for Ethiopia. Scott focuses on the pro-Ethio­pian activities of the Harlem united front, which brought together black nationalists, communists, and civil rights moderates. He shows the extensive elite and grassroots interest in Ethiopia's fate and the wide­spread recognition that Ethiopia's indepen­dence was extremely important to black racial pride. The book also cogently exam­ines the issue of Ethiopian racial identity, the controversy over this issue, and its effect on African-American support for the Ethiopian cause. Pan-Africanism, Africa and African-American relations, and the role of the religiopolitical concept of Ethiopianism all came into play in the doomed efforts to assist Ethiopia in its struggle against fascist tyranny. Scott concludes that black poverty and powerlessness impeded black American efforts to assist Ethiopia, but that prodigious pro-Ethiopian activism produced important new appreciations of Africa, the Western powers, and world race relations among the black American masses.

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About the Author:

William R. Scott is a Professor of History and Director of African-American Studies at Lehigh University. He is author of many articles on Ethiopianism and Ethiopian and African-American relations.

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