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PANAMERICAN-PANAFRICAN ASSOCIATION
Administrator of US /Latin America-US/Africa
Educational, Cultural and Economic Exchange
Permanent Programme Units
 
National/International Headquarters
London Park Towers, 5335 Duke Street, Suite 208, Alexandria, VA 22304
Tel/Fax: (703) 567-1441
 
Regional Headquarters
The Regency Tower, 770 James Street, Suite 304, Syracuse, NY 13203  
Tel: (315) 478-7883  Fax: (315) 471-2567
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AFRO-CENTRIC-ORGANIZATIONAL ORIGINS (1893 THROUGH 1926)
of
"THE BLACK HISTORY MONTH OBSERVANCE"
=MEMORANDUM-OF-PARTICULARS =
TO:“National Black History Month Observance"
       organizations in the U.S.A;
        Canada
       and elsewhere throughout the Latin American
       and European "New and Old World Lands of
       the African Diaspora"
 FROM: "The Panamerican/Panafrican Association,
             sponsored "Black History Month
             Observance’s State, Regional and
             Provincial Founder's Commissions
 
RE:          ORIGINS OF ORGANIZED
"AFRO-CENTRIC AWARENESS OBSERVANCES" IN THE U.S.A.
 
- FROM -  THE 25 AUGUST 1893
="COLOURED PEOPLES DAY OBSERVANCE"=
AT THE  CHICAGO WORLD'S FAIR ... CONCEIVED, ORGANIZED AND PRESENTED BY:  FREDERICK DOUGLASS (B. 1817 - D. 1895)  
= "NEGRO HISTORY DAY" =
ANNUAL  OBSERVANCE WHICH WAS PRESENTED TO "THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLOURED  WOMEN'S CLUBS" (I.E. NACWC [PREDECESSOR - ORGANIZATION TO THE EXTANT  "NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NEGRO WOMEN" [I.E. NCNW])
BY: MRS. JOSEPHINE BRUCE  (B. 1845 - D. CIRCA 1910,  THE EDUCATOR-PROTEGE OF
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON [B. 1856 - D. 1915])  
- CULMINATING IN -  THE 1926-1976 ERA OF
="THE NEGRO HISTORY WEEK OBSERVANCE”= CONCEIVED BY: DR. CARTER G. WOODSON ([B. 1875 - D. 1950] THE REVERED  "FATHER OF BLACK STUDIES AS AN ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE") ...
ORGANIZED AND EXPANDED BY
"THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF NEGRO LIFE AND HISTORY"  
- WHICH PRECEDED THE 1965 FOUNDING OF -  ="THE BLACK HISTORY MONTH OBSERVANCE" =
CONCEIVED, ORGANIZED AND INTERNATIONALIZED BY:  ROBERT STARLING PRITCHARD, II (B. 1927)
(As a fitting tribute to the Founder of the Negro History Week Observance, Dr. Carter G. Woodson)
 
It is in response to what has become an annually predictable increase in the numbers of enquiries about the origins of "The Black History Month Observance" (that our Foundation receives from the U.S.A., Canada, Caribbean Island and other Latin American States, African States and Black communities in Europe) ... that Our Foundation has taken the occasion of this 37th Anniversary of the 1965 founding of "The Black History Month Observance" in the U.S.A. (by its Chairman, Robert Starling Pritchard, II [also known as "history's first career viable American virtuoso concert pianist and recording artist of African descent"]) to set forth the documented record about the Afro-centric organizational origins of "The Black History Month Observance".
 BHMO CONTRIBUTION TO THE “E PLURIBUS UNUM” AMERICAN SOCIETY
 
In so doing, our Foundation unconditionally endorses the vision of the founder of "The Black History Month Observance", who obviously succeeded in creating an annually occurring celebration of the Afro-centric culture and history of the peoples of African descent in "The New and Old World Lands of the African Diaspora". Moreover, Dr. Pritchard has achieved that goal in that same non-divisive manner which is annually demonstrated in the U.S.A., as Americans of all colours, creeds, cultures and from diverse countries-of-origin, annually observe and participate in such Euro-American oriented ethnic observances as St. Patrick's Day; Columbus Day; The Oktoberfest; the Seder; the Scottish Rites, et al.
Furthermore, that paramount objective of the "BHMO" founder is reflected in his successful creation of an annually occurring Black History Month Observance of such wide public appeal, that it continues to contribute not only to the Afro-centric awareness of Americans of African descent within their "E Pluribus Unum" consciousness, but also to an annually increasing number of Euro-Americans who have enjoyed an increased awareness of the cultures of peoples of African descent. Indeed, Dr. Pritchard has consistently pursued the development of his 37 year old Afro-centric "Black History Month Observance's" non-racialist and non-divisive mission, as one of the 'sine qua non' contributions towards the eventual full realization of an "E Pluribus Unum" American society (that was neither envisaged by the American Founding Father-Authors of "The Declaration of  Independence" ... nor incorporated in the text of their "U.S. Constitution").  
 
The following 109 year precis-history of the origins of today's "National / International Black History Month Observance" ... is viewed by its Founder as a significant race-relations "record- marker", which distinguishes between "The Dynamics-of-‘CHANGE’" and "The Dynamics-of- 'PROGRESS' " in American race-relations. Using the comparison of the Dynamics of "Change" versus "Progress" ... Pritchard reviews the 393 year presence of Americans of African descent in the former European Colonies of North and Latin America. Indeed, the reader will note that the "BHMO" Founder's distinction between "Change" and "Progress" (in American race-relations) is grounded in the fact that though during the entire 137 year Emancipation History of the progeny of the enslaved African fore-fathers and fore-mothers in the U.S.A. ...  Americans of African descent have not been consigned to what many have referred to as "Stasis as a Permanent American Underclass" ... nevertheless, as a "National Community", African-Americans have consistently remained at the very bottom of the American Economic Development ladder (during each of the 3 centuries of their presence in the U.S.A., and elsewhere throughout the Americas)
 
BHMO ADDRESSES ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISPARITIES BETWEEN
AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND EURO-AMERICAN COMMUNITIES
 
Accordingly, it was from the purview of the traditional racialist-oriented "economic-disparities" (which have been historically, and continue to be maintained, between African-Americans and Euro-Americans) ... that in 1961 (upon his return to the U.S.A. from a three year sojourn in Africa as an Educator, Cultural Exchange Specialist and Economic Development Advisor to several African Heads-of- State) ... Dr. Pritchard invited a group of major Euro-American Corporate; Union; primary, secondary and higher Educational policy making leaders; Civil Rights Era bi-racial leaders; State and Federal Government "Caucus Leaders" (representing the minority communities) to meet with the bi-racial and multi-religious executive officers of the predecessor-organization of "The Pa/Pa, Inc." (i.e. The Panamerican Association for the Festival of the New World, Inc.).     The purpose of those meetings was to create a Foundation-sponsored "Black History Month Permanent Programme Unit", which would primarily address the Economic-Development Disparities, which had historically existed in the United States between the African-American Community and the Euro-American Community.
 AFNA PREMIERED AS FIRST BLACK HISTORY MONTH OBSERVANCE IN 1965
The far reaching significance of the "Economic-Development" recommendations that were made by that bi-racial American group (the core-founding group of which, was originally referred to as "The American Festival of Negro Arts" [i.e., "AFNA"]) was creatively inter-woven into a "Black History Month Observance" programme-agenda, which also served the Afro-centric international programme of "Le Premier Festival Mondial des Artes Negres" (which was convened in Dakar, Senegal and on the Isle de Goree, during the month-of-June, 1966).    It was thusly, that the "AFNA" premiered in New York City on 1 February 1965 as "The First Black History Month Observance" (as confirmed in the proclamations issued by the then New York City Democratic Mayor Robert Wagner ... and in Trenton, New Jersey by the then Republican Governor Richard Hughes).
 
BHMO CIVIL RIGHTS AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE DIALOGUE
The initial idea of a "National / International BHMO", literally evolved from the 1959 "commissioning" of Robert Starling Pritchard, II, by the 17 member "Council of Ministers" of the West African "Federation du Mali", to assist them in creating an economic development strategy for their "soon to be free from French colonial domination" West African States of Senegal and Mali. In fact, Pritchard was invited to attend several high level meetings with the 17 member "Council of Ministers" of the "Federation du Mali" ... where he shared with them, instances in history, where a "newly freed state" (from foreign domination) had failed in its attempt to achieve control over the economic status and destiny of their new sovereign state.
 
BHMO FOUNDER PROPOSES "LE PREMIER FESTIVAL MONDIAL DES ARTES
NEGRES"
(I.E., THE FIRST WORLD FESTIVAL OF NEGRO ARTS)
 
 
It was in pursuit of the fulfillment of that initial objective, that the "Council of Ministers" of the Mali Federation enthusiastically accepted Dr. Pritchard's proposal for a "Premier Festival Mondial des Arts Negres" (i.e., the First World Festival of Negro Arts)... the June 1966 successful implementation of which, not only gave birth to an expanded tourist industry in Senegal; not only redirected and redefined the African Post-Colonial Era's views of "Freedom" (not only in the context of "Sovereignty,” but also in the context of "Economic Self-Determinism”) ... but also as the philosophic and pragmatic source of inspiration for the establishment of an annually occurring "International Afro-Centric Observance", via which a sense of an International Community of Peoples of African descent could be memorialized beyond the successful revivals of the "World Festival" (as the 1977 "FESTAC" in Nigeria ... and as the 1984 "Festival of African Arts" in Algeria ...[given the unfortunate withdrawal of the third 1990's venue of the "world festival" from Ethiopia, because of that country's unresolved civil war]).  
FIRST "BHMOs"  INITIATE PARTICIPATION OF AFRICAN- AMERICAN LEADERSHIP IN DIALOGUES ON PRITCHARD'S PROPOSAL FOR "LE PREMIER FESTIVAL MONDIAL DES ARTES NEGRES" (FIRST WORLD FESTIVAL OF NEGRO ARTS)
 
In the U.S.A., the first "Black History Month Observance" was officially launched on 1 February 1965 at the Mayor's Official Chamber in New York City and at the Governor's Official Chamber in Trenton, New Jersey. Those two debut "BHMOs" were organized as month-long occasions to  initiate public  and private sector participation of the African- American leadership in dialogues on the general subject matter of Pritchard's proposal for "Le Premier Festival Mondial des Arts Negres" ... and ultimately for the purpose of providing the Board of Trustees of "The Panamerican Association for the Festival of the New World, Inc." with an opportunity to assess both the philosophic and pragmatic status of the North and Latin American "Afro-Centric Awareness Movements", from which leadership Dr. Pritchard would recommend that the Senegalese organizers of “Le Premier Festival Mondial des Arts Negres” (i.e., "First World Festival of Negro Arts") extend invitations for participation in the wide ranging economic-development oriented pragmatic dialogues of the June 1966 festival in Dakar and on the Isle de Goree.
PRITCHARD CREATES FUNDING SCHEMATIC FOR WORLD FESTIVAL
Though the Mali Federation's Council of Ministers unanimously embraced Pritchard's proposal for a "Premier Festival Mondial des Artes Negres" ... they quite frankly informed him, that they had neither the money, nor the leadership to launch his full month-long "grand scale" festival of political; cultural (i.e., creative and performing arts); economic (i.e.,international trade and economic development); educational; health and medicine oriented, et al, conferences which he had proposed. In response, Pritchard created a pragmatic funding schematic which he successfully implemented by attracting USD $30 million  from former European Colonial Power states ... which funded the convening of the now historic June, 1966 "Premier Festival Mondial des Artes Negres" (i.e., First World Festival of Negro Arts) in Dakar, Senegal and on the Isle de Goree.  
Moreover, it was Pritchard, who in his determination to create an annual "Observance" which would reflect and respect the "History of Americans of African descent" ... personally undertook a study of the "Afro-Centric Awareness Organizational Movements in the U.S.A." Our Foundation's Chairman did so ... because of his humble decision to extend the Afro-Centric Awareness Movement's legacy, rather than to falsely claim authorship of a "New Afro-centric Awareness Organizational Idea" (which had actually been manifested in previous 19th century "Afro-centric History Observances" in the U.S.A.).  
BHMO FORUMS ADDRESS “ECONOMIC DISPARITIES” PLAGUING AFRICAN-AMERICANS
The events which took place during the month-of-February 1965 premier "BHMO" featured a"Black Writers Conference"; African-American and African History Seminars; Art and Folk Music Concerts and Symposia; presentations by representatives of grant giving Foundations; ... The American Library Association; ... the 3 major American Business Lobby Organizations; ... the American Print and Sound Media establishment, Literary Agents, Professional Critics, Publishers; ... local, state and federal government political leaders; ... banking and other financial institution representatives; ... union leaders and community leaders (representing Americans of all colours, creeds, cultures and differing countries-of-origin) et al. The premier "BHMO's" forums were focused and organized for the purpose of addressing the various issues of racialist-exclusion, particularly from the reference point of the "economic-disparities" which had historically plagued the African-American community.
 
... the 25 August 1893 debut of the Afro-centric Awareness Organizational Movement in the U.S.A., as dramatized by Frederick Douglass' (b. 1817 - d. 1895) presentation of the "Coloured Peoples Day Observance" at the Chicago World Fair's Haiti Government's Pavilion. That event attracted significant numbers of American Reconstruction Era Euro-American patrons and equal numbers of European visitors to the World's Fair. Most of the 19th Century Chicago World's Fair Euro-American domestic and European-foreign guests who attended that "Coloured Peoples Day Observance", experienced their first encounter with African-Americans of education, culture, wit and genius, as they listened to and were all struck by the public presentations of the great poetry of Paul Lawrence Dunbar (b. 1872 - d. 1906) presented by the author himself (whose recitations were accompanied by Douglass' violinist grandson, Joseph Douglass); the superb interpretive and technical concert-performance skills of African-American concert- violinist, William Marion Cook (b. 1869 - d. 1944); performances of the "Father of the Blues", Harry T. Burleigh (b. 1866 - d. 1949); and orations by the U.S.A.'s first African-American diplomat, Frederick Douglas himself (whose reputation as an orator, publisher of America's first black owned newspaper [i.e. "The North Star"]), Abolitionist and first black American Diplomat-appointee to Haiti [history's first black Republic] ... elevated him to national and international high-standing as the symbol of "Black Educational, Cultural and Economic-Development" aspirations in the U.S.A. and of "Black Freedom" aspirations in Africa and Latin America).  
 
The Afro-centric Movement was in 1895 advanced by Mrs. Josephine Bruce (b. 1841 - d. circa 1910) educationist-disciple of Booker T. Washington (b. 1856 - d. 1915) ... and President of the "National Association of Coloured Women's Clubs" (predecessor organization to Today's "National Council of Negro Women" [Dorothy Height: advisor-past  president]) at a national convention of the NACWC in South Carolina. Mrs. Bruce setforth a Resolution calling for an annual "Negro History Day Celebration Observance" in the Reconstruction Era's American black community.  
Although Mrs. Bruce's Resolution failed (because of that era's climate of fear, intimidation, KKK lynchings and arson attacks on Black communities) ... the "Negro History Day Observance" dialogue that it energized amongst her era's Black educators and religious leaders, became such a focus of the attention of the then 25 year old brilliant African-American student, Carter G. Woodson (b. 1875 - d. 1950) ... that following his 1915 establishment in Chicago of "The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History" (as America's first African-American scholarly-professional organization) ...  Dr. Woodson created (in 1926) the 2nd organizational predecessor of today's "Black History Month Observance" (i.e., "The Negro History Week Observance" [which was administered through 1976 by "The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History" ... later renamed "The Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History"]).  
(4) BLACK HISTORY MONTH OBSERVANCE
In the very text of the February 1965 first "BLACK HISTORY MONTH OBSERVANCE" proclamation (issued at New York City Hall by the then Democratic Mayor Robert Wagner ... and also issued on the very same afternoon in the gubernatorial proclamation chambers of New Jersey's then Republican Governor Richard M. Hughes) ... the founder of "The Black History Month Observance (Dr. Pritchard) publicly announced that the month-long "BHMO" was established as a "fitting tribute" to the founder of "The Negro History Week Observance", Dr. Carter G. Woodson (and additionally as a "fitting tribute" to Frederick Douglass and Mrs. Josephine Bruce).
 The former "Negro History Week Observance's" exclusive emphasis on projecting the great black men and women of Africa and of the Americas, was enlarged in the "BHMO" by the successor observance's schematic, programme and public-relations emphases on African-American Citizen Rights to "EQUITY-OF-ACCESS" for educationally and/or experiencially qualified Americans of African descent, to the very same "ECONOMIC AND PROFESSIONAL ADVANCEMENT EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES" (in all fields of American endeavor) that had been solemnly and patriotically promised to the "Colonial Era's" Euro-American citizenry and their progeny, by the American Founding Father-Authors of "The Declaration of Independence" and "The U.S. Constitution" ... but which had and are still being withheld from the great body of Americans of African descent.
 
 
 
Re: Robert Starling Pritchard II, Ph.D.  Founder: "The National / International Black History Month Observance"; known as "History's first American career-viable virtuoso concert pianist and recording artist of African descent";  "The Pa/Pa ITCG" (i.e. The Panamerican-Panafrican Association’s International Trade Consultant’s Group): President and CEO  "The Pa/Pa, Inc.":  Chairman of the Board of Directors; and
"The Pa/Pa's" Main NGO Delegate to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (headquartered in New York City, New York; Santiago, Chile; Geneva, Switzerland; Vienna, Austria; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Beirut, Lebanon; and Bangkok, Thailand) Biographical References:
 Who's Who in the East
Who's Who in Entertainment
The Blue Book of England
The Rhiemann Lexicon (Germany)
Contemporary Black Biography Vol. 21 / The Gale Group
Miscellanea / Schomburg Collection (NYC)
___________________________________
 
You  can visit the Black Histoy Month Founder's Commission web site at:
bhmfounderscommission.org
We encourage you to contact us if you would like more information.  Please address all enquiries to:  M. HenriGeorges Polgar  Foundation: Executive Director; or  Mme. Lisa McFarren-Polgar  Foundation: Associate Director
 
International Office
5375 Duke Street,    
Suite 1210
Alexandria, Virginia  22304      
Tel: (703) 567-1441; (202) 487-4142
Or send us an e-mail: papaassociation@yahoo.com
 
About the Chairman
UN Quadrennial Report
Robert Pritchard
Pianist/Composer
Black History Month
Slavery Revisited in the Middle East
Origins of the BHMO
Kevin John Powell
Artist-in-Residence
Student  Exchange
Cultural Exchange
Economic Development & International Trade
Pa/Pa Japan
Pa/Pa Links
Pa/Pa Core Administrative Group
Shina, Inc.
Ode to Peace
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