In the course of a beautiful, sunny morning on Saturday, May 31, the global African community, led by the December 12th Movement, marched from the Harlem State Building to the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York in loving memory of our ambassador to the African world, the honorable Elombe Brath.
At Abyssinian Baptist Church, the illustrious Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III officiated Brath’s home-going. In keeping with our African spiritual heritage, the home-going did not mourn the passing of Brath, but celebrated his extraordinary life, encyclopedic mind, masterful ambassadorship and supernumerary contribution to the worldwide African struggle for freedom, sovereignty and power.
As the chairman of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition, co-founder of the December 12th Movement and Black America’s ambassador to the African world, Brath advocated for countless freedom struggles and revolutionary movements with his strong support of the Mozambique Liberation Front, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, the Zimbabwe African National Union, the African National Congress in South Africa, and the South West Africa People’s Organization in Namibia.
In his heartfelt obituary for Brath, award-winning journalist and historian Herb Boyd said, “Elombe joined the South West African Relief Committee to assist SWAPO president Sam Nujoma in getting aid to the country of Namibia, which was then suffering under the yoke of the racist apartheid regime. This marked the beginning of his numerous relationships with freedom fighters struggling to liberate their countries from colonial and white minority rule. They included leaders such as Samora Machel of Mozambique, Thomas Sankara of Burkina-Faso, Kanyama Chiume of Malawi and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. In 1973, he was awarded the Croix de Chivalry by President Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea for continuous work toward the African Democratic Revolution.”
To that degree, Brath was nonpareil in his devotion to the Pan-African revolutionary movement, along with the study and teaching of the economic reality and sociopolitical development of Africa. Simply put, like Malcolm X, Brath’s life was consecrated to African uplift, sovereignty and power at home and abroad. Therefore, it must be noted that Brath, along with historian Vincent Gordon Harding and novelist Sam Greenlee, transitioned to the ancestral realm on May 19, the birthday of our shining Black prince, Malcolm X.
Reggie Mabry, Pan-African strategist and Sons of Africa associate, said, “Of all the transitions that occurred recently, Elombe’s is the biggest and most significant because he was our direct connection to the revolutionary movements that were happening around the world. He stood alone as our ambassador to Africa, especially in understanding and engaging the worldwide Pan-African revolutionary movement. Thus, his understanding and involvement must be duplicated by every African at home and abroad.”
Accordingly, letters of tributes and reflections were shared by representatives of Cuban revolutionary great Fidel Castro, President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba of Namibia, former President of South Africa Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki and Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.
Moreover, delegates from the government of Zimbabwe; Mumia Abu-Jamal, Black Panther Party associate and political prisoner; Georgina Falu, president of the Falu Foundation at the University of Puerto Rico; Ambassador Robert Van Lierop of the Republic of Vanuatu; Amina Baraka, activist and widow of Amiri Baraka; Viola Plummer of the December 12th Movement; state Sen. Bill Perkins; former Councilman Charles Barron; professor emeritus Bill Sales; James Macintosh of CEMOTAP; Imhotep Gary Byrd, award-winning radio broadcaster; activists Samuel Ding and Mauritania; Michael Tarif Warren, attorney for the Brath family and the “Central Park Five”; the “Poet Laureate of Afrikan Nationalism” George Edward Tait; Dhoruba Bin Wahad, former political prisoner; Abiodun Oyewole, founder of the Last Poets; the Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry; Herb Boyd, award-winning journalist and historian; Ilyasah Shabazz, author and daughter of the great Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz; Pan-African theologian and spiritual adviser James Small; and Drs. Rosalind and Leonard Jeffries shared their loving memories of Brath as they expressed their condolences to his family.
Similarly, Brath’s sons, Mgavi Elombe and Cinque Brath, along with his sister, Amber Lyons, shared their reflections and acknowledgments of not only an influential Pan-African activist and ambassador, but a loving father and brother.
In eulogizing Brath, Butts praised highly his work, commitment and love to the global African community. Thus, in loving memory of Brath, his ambassadorship to the African world will be missed but not forgotten.
Professor Patrick Delices is a Pan-African scholar who taught the History of Haiti, Caribbean Politics, African-American Politics, and African-Caribbean International Relations at Hunter College and served as a research fellow at Columbia University for the late, Pulitzer Prize historian, Manning Marable. Professor Delices can be reached at [email protected]