by Akosua Lowery
Patrice Émery Lumumba
“Lumumba [is] the greatest Black man who ever walked the African continent. He didn’t fear anybody. He had those people so scared they had to kill him. They couldn’t buy him, they couldn’t frighten him, they couldn’t reach him. Why, he told the king of Belgium, ‘Man, you may have let us free, you may have given us our independence, but we can never forget these scars.’” — Malcolm X on Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba, a Congolese independence leader, was born on July 2, 1925 in Kasai, in the Northern Province of Katanga Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In October 1958 he founded the National Congolese Movement; in December of that year, he addressed the Pan-African Congress in Accra, Ghana. Mr. Lumumba was arrested in 1959 after calling for a rebellion against the colonial rulers. Lumumba was the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only twelve weeks later, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a coup. He was subsequently imprisoned and executed by firing squad. He was 36.
In February 2002, the Belgian government released an official apology to the Congolese people. In a thousand page report, the government admitted to failure of a “moral responsibility” and “an irrefutable portion of responsibility in the events that led to the death of Lumumba.”
The Akosua Report: Facts on The African Diaspora, is written by Akosua Lowery. Follow her on Twitter @AkosuaLowery.