In 1931, Kenyatta began a long period of diplomacy on behalf of Kikuyu in Great Britain. The British officials dodged him at every turn and did not want to listen to his grievances about Kikuyu land. So he decided to attend one of the Selly Oaks Colleges in Birmingham. In 1932, he won back Kikuyu lands. During this time, he studied in Russia, wrote many important texts about Kikuyu, including Facing Mount Kenya in 1938, and became part of the Pan-African Movement.
World War II cut off Kenyatta from Kenya, but during that time much progress was made in liberating Kenya from the British. By this time, he was president of the Kenya African Union and was imprisoned in 1952 for allegedly inciting the Mau Mau Rebellion. He was imprisoned for nearly eight years, doing hard labor. During his jail time, Tom Mboya and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga reshaped the Kenya African Union and created the Kenya African Democratic Union, which included Maasai, Samburu, Kalenjin and Turkana representatives.