Black History Month 2022-Day 16: Pan-African Chess
Marcus Mosiah Garvey
The Chess Drum is billed as a Pan-African website. One of the biggest inspirations for this site was the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey. This Jamaican visionary immigrated to the United States and set forth one of the most important social movements in American history. It started as a small grassroots movement with 17 members. At its height, the Universal Negro Improvement Association boasted 2-4 million members (claimed in 1920 at its first convention).
His vision was to create a Pan-African utopia in a world where the Black man and woman can claim their honor among nations of the world. He sought political, economic, and social cooperation within the African Diaspora. Unfortunately, his ill-fated Black Star Shipping Line met an unfortunate end leading him to be indicted and imprisoned on mail fraud charges. He was later deported back to Jamaica and died in London in relative obscurity. Nevertheless, his ideas of Pan-African nationalism still capture the imagination of those who work to see Black people shine as contributors to the greater society.
Chess journalists: Haydn Gill (Barbados), Daaim Shabazz (USA),
Jacinta Odongo (Kenya), Ian Wilkinson (Jamaica).
Photo by Daaim Shabazz/The Chess Drum
Many years ago, I wrote a piece titled, “Can Pan-Africanism Work in Chess?” I recounted the histories of Pan-Africanism, the aims and objectives and wrote,
Today, many Black scholars have begun to revisit Garvey’s Pan-African view as one worthy of reconsideration. The repatriation plan may not win many followers, but the idea of cooperation between Blacks in Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe seems to be a logical thought.
I have conducted The Chess Drum as a platform to embrace African identity and show how this overlooked segment contributes to the game’s universality. Following are a handful of the images and videos that I believe embody the Pan-African chess spirit!
Photo by Ambrose Amexo
Impressions of 2018 Chess Olympiad
Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum
Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Kenya and Nigeria!
Mali vs. Central Africa Republic
Clash of Caribbean… Antigua & Barbuda vs. Curacao
WIM Ingris Rivera (Colombia)
Ian Wilkinson QC (Jamaica) & Dr. Daaim Shabazz (USA)
Malawi’s Desiderata Nkhoma and Linda Jambo
Read Desiderata’s story here!
IM Rodwell Makoto and Spencer Masango (Zimbabwe)
Enyonam Sewa Noël Fumey (Togo) and Lorng Charles (Cote d’Ivoire)
Marwa Jadalla (Sudan)
Gabon’s Barthelemy Bongo Akanga Ndjila & Tary Bongo Ngombele
Photos by Daaim Shabazz/The Chess Drum
Olympiad teammates Ariel Barrett and Deborah Richards-Porter
during 2016 Olymipad in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Photo by Jamaica Chess Federation
GMs Pontus Carlsson and Maurice Ashley
at 2016 Millionaire Chess, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Photo by Daaim Shabazz
Daaim Shabazz and Adia Onyango, 2014 Millionaire Chess Open in Las Vegas
Photo by Daaim Shabazz
Aurélie Dacalor (France)
Video by Echecs & Stratégie
GM Ramón Mateo
Video by ChessBase India
Marcus Garvey’s “Look for Me in the Whirlwind” delivered in 1924 in Harlem, New York. It is actually a performance by Ron Bobb-Semple, a famous actor and Garvey impersonator… a very good one! He passed away in Tampa, Florida in January 2021 from COVID.