George Padmore (ed.) 1947

Colonial and Coloured Unity: A Programme of Action
History of the Pan-African Congress

Source: The E-Text Archive.
First published: in 1947 by The Hammersmith Bookshop, London. For more on this conference and its legacy, see Hakim Adi and Marika Sherwood, The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited: with, Colonial and Coloured Unity, edited by George Padmore, 1995;
Transcribed: for the Marxists Internet Archive by Christian Hogsbjerg.

The Fifth Pan-African Congress was held in Chorlton Town Hall, Manchester, England from 15–21 October 1945, and it marked the historic moment when Pan-Africanism became an idea whose time had come. The Second World War had led to an almost universal feeling among Africans and people of African descent that colonial liberation was the order of the day, and this struggle would be achieved by force if necessary. The conference reflected the new militant leadership in Africa who would make the fine words of the Congress a reality, though delegates from French-speaking territories were absent. While the delegates included the likes of Kwame Nkrumah (future leader of Ghana), Jomo Kenyatta (future leader of Kenya) and Dr. Hastings Banda (Malawi), as the Pan-African Congress Chair, W.E.B. Du Bois, remembered, ‘George Padmore was the organising spirit of that congress.’ The Fifth Pan-African Congress, Du Bois insisted, made 1945 ‘a decisive year in determining the freedom of Africa’ and Padmore’s history of the congress ‘carries messages which must not die, but should be passed on to aid Mankind.’ [Transcriber’s note]


William Edward Burghardt Du Bois – Biographical Sketch
The Challenge to the Colonial Powers
Declaration to the Colonial Workers, Farmers and Intellectuals
Memorandum to United Nations Organisation
The Congress in Perspective – By Peter Abrahams
The Colour Problem in Britain
Imperialism in North and West Africa
Oppression in South Africa
The East African Picture
Ethiopia and the Black Republics
The Problem in the Caribbean
Congress Resolutions
Fraternal Greetings
Delegates and Organisations
Selected Bibliography
Financial Statement of Fifth Pan-African Congress [omitted]


Acknowledgements are gratefully made to all those who gave their time and financial contributions in the effort to make the Congress a success. Special thanks are due to the ladies of the Entertainment Committee, who unsparingly devoted themselves to making the delegates as comfortable as possible during their week’s stay in Manchester. Their task was competently performed in difficult circumstances of paucity of accommodation and rationing. They were also responsible for the very pleasant social functions which were arranged fro the delegates.

My thanks are also due to Mrs. Dorothy Livings for reporting the conference proceedings and typing the manuscript for publication.

Also to my esteemed colleagues, Miss Dorothy Pizer, Peter Abrahams, Cedric Dover and M. Joseph-Mitchell for their generous advice and assistance in preparing the pamphlet.


George Padmore,


Last updated: 26 May 2021