Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




African reaction to colonial rule and the loss of autonomy was expressed in political nationalism. Modern political nationalism had a cultural content that in fact preceded it. African cultural consciousness among the westernized elite developed from the moment of partition and occupation, when the nationalism and racism accompanying European occupation of Africa threatened to destroy Africans' pride for their race and their culture. A major expression of this cultural response was the concept of ' African Personality' which appears, to judge from the context in which it was originally and subsequently used, to be primarily a reaction to the threatened loss of cultural identity. In independent Africa the concept has continued to symbolize the dignity and racial pride of Africans (while the related French est African concept, Negritude expresses the cultural heritage of Africa and advocates a new synthesis with French culture) as well as the new image African leaders want to project to the world as a sign of political maturity. This is a discussion of the contexts in which the concept of 'African Personality ' was used or implied by Blyden and those he influenced, and by nationalists in the twentieth century.