As much as these activists saw themselves as Americans, more importantly they saw themselves as Black people. And they understood to be Black in this particular moment, and to be marginalized and to have to fight against racism and imperialism and global White supremacy - it was difficult, and many of them did not imagine a future in the United States that could be possible in light of their experiences. The notion of leaving and going to a place where they might be accepted and fully embraced motivated many activists.
Historian Keisha N. Blain examines the work of women in the Black nationalist movement of the early 20th century - as architects of a global, diasporic vision of Black identity, and organizers of a complex, sometimes contradictory, mass movement that shaped the course of modern Black liberation and feminist politics today.
Keisha is author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom from University of Pennsylvania Press.