Sometimes if you love your country, you have to let it go, especially if that country is oppressing your people. Not all Black Americans have had the everlasting faith in America that President Barack Obama has. Several Black figures have either denounced or just plain left America.
10. W.E.B. Du Bois
Du Bois contributed greatly to the struggle of African-Americans through his writings and activism. Du Bois helped form the NAACP and was perhaps the most prominent African-American intellectual of the 20th century. Du Bois became a communist during the height of the Cold War. He was investigated by the FBI for his so-called socialist views. Du Bois died a Ghanaian citizen, after the U.S. refused his passport.
While Fox News may have painted Wright as an America-hating madman, Wright was just judging the U.S. with the same Christian principles that he lived by. Wright was a Marine who served in Vietnam, risking his life for the country he would be condemned for criticizing. A close view of Wright’s controversial sermon shows that did not hate America, but expected America to live up to its Christian values and leave unjust wars.
Riley is an anti-imperialist and a Marxist, which puts him in direct opposition to American policies. In 2001 his group, The Coup, had an album cover with the World Trade Center blowing up and Boots pushing a button on a guitar, a few months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Assata Shakur, is a Black Panther who was charged with convicted for killing a police officer, though many have cast doubt on her conviction. Asata with the help of rapper Tupac’s stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, escaped from prison and found political asylum in Cuba, a country hated by the United States.
Paul Robeson was an actor, singer, football player, lawyer and scholar. He was also a civil rights activist and labeled a communist. Robeson, like Du Bois had his passport taken away in 1950, for fear he would tell the world about how Black people were oppressed in America. In 1951 he charged the U.S.A. with genocide for turning a blind eye at African-Americans being lynched. Though Robeson traveled to Russia, won the Stalin Prize For Freedom, and even wrote a song for Stalin, he remained an American citizen his whole life.
Stokely Carmichael was a major figure in both the civil rights and Black Power movements, as the head of SNCC and the Honorary Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party, helping coin the phrase “Black Power.” He eventually split with the Black Panther party and moved to Guinea in Africa where he married South African activist and singer, Miriam Makeba, changing his name to Kwame Ture.
Josephine Baker moved to France after being a dancer in Harlem to escape racism in the USA after a successful tour of Europe. Baker helped the French rebel against the Nazis. While in France, Baker supported the Civil Rights Movement, and was the only woman to speak at the historic March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. at her side.
Though Martin Luther King Jr. said his dream was deeply rooted in the American dream, and would frequently site the Constitution and the Declaration Of Independence to further civil rights, he condemned America over the war in Vietnam.
God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, ‘You’re too arrogant! And if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I’ll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know my name. Be still and know that I’m God.'”
Although Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica, he came into prominence after moving to America in 1916, where he would start the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the Back To Africa movement. Garvey raised money to repopulate Liberia but was charged by J. Edgar Hoover, with mail fraud and later deported.
Malcolm X, like Marcus Garvey advocated for the complete separation of African-Americans from America, establishing their own country. Malcolm famously criticized U.S. foreign and domestic policy after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, saying it was a case of “the chickens coming home to roost.” Malcolm made plans to charge the USA with violating the rights of African-Americans before he died.