"Your Majesty's Obedient Servant": A Case Study Of W. E. B. Du Bois And Pan Africanism Within The Context Of Ethiopianism
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHistory and Geography
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
SubjectsDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
African American studies
Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, 1892-1975
African diaspora--Study and teaching
Your Majesty's Obedient Servant is a Case Study of W.E.B. Du Bois's work within the Pan African context, with specific focus on Ethiopia. In closing his 1931 letter to Emperor Haile Selassie I, Du Bois used the valediction “I am your Majesty's Obedient Servant.” The use of such closings was normal in formal letters and correspondences sent to leaders, nobility and people of esteem throughout Europe and America, but this Case Study expands the use of the archaic etiquette beyond its generic use, and establishes validity to Du Bois's claim of obedience and service to the Ethiopian cause in general, and to specific issues within the Ethiopian empire in particular. Validity to Du Bois's claim was established through an examination of his writings, speeches and advocacy, and tasks he accomplished in the service of Ethiopia, its people and its Emperor. Using a unique brand of Pan Africanism, Du Bois placed Ethiopia, its history and its leadership at the center of African identity, African dignity, and African Culture. The research also revealed that Du Bois served the interest of Ethiopia and the African Diaspora, including African Americans, by creating the apparatus for networking through his Pan African Congresses and providing information sharing through his editorials in The Crisis and other media outlets. Ultimately, the findings reveal the extent of Du Bois's service to Ethiopia, debunk some old myths regarding Du Bois's Pan African agenda, and support his claim of obedient service to the people, empire, and Emperor of Ethiopia.