Edward Wilmot Blyden and the African Personality: A Discourse on African Cultural Identity

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African cultural identity was a more central aspect of Edward Wilmot Blyden’s philosophy than it was in Martin R. Delany’s philosophy. The base similarity of perspective between Blyden’s African personality theory and the views of twentieth century Negritude writers and especially with the views of Leopold Senghor, who is considered the leading proponent of the movement, have helped to further the characterization. Negritude is distinct from Blyden’s African personality theory in that it was primarily an affirmation of blackness and lacked the political orientation inherent in Blyden’s personality theory. Blyden’s African personality theory was based on his conviction that human beings were fundamental cultural beings-a fact born out by contemporary cultural anthropology. Blyden’s African personality concept was a counteractive to the racism of European anthropology and a special challenge to the members of the Anthropological Society of London. The Society’s contributed to the development of anthropology by doing detailed descriptions of people and races.

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Racial Structure and Radical Politics in the African Diaspora

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