10 Things To Know About The Republic Of New Afrika Movement

10 Things To Know About The Republic Of New Afrika Movement

Photo: Sangonet

The Republic of New Afrika (RNA) is a Black nationist movement that was founded in 1968 as the Republic of New Africa (RNA). Self-described as a Black separatist organization, it was known for its Black freedom fighters groups in the U.S. The movement is still viable today.

Here are 10 things you should know about the Republic of New Afrika.

Reparations & More

The Republic of New Afrika has three main goals:

The first is the creation of “an independent Black-majority country situated in the Southeastern region, in the heart of an area of Black-majority population.”

The group also wants the federal government to pay reparations of several billion dollars to African-American descendants of slaves.

The first goal is a “referendum of all African Americans to determine their desires for citizenship; movement leaders say they were not offered a choice in this matter after emancipation in 1865 following the American Civil War.”

Fight For Independence

The organization strives for independence for Blacks as a separate nation.  “The vision for this country was first promulgated by the Malcolm X Societyon March 31, 1968, at a Black Government Conference held in Detroit, Michigan. The conference participants drafted a constitution and declaration of independence.  Its proponentslay claim to five Southern states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina; and to the Black-majority counties adjacent to this area in Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida,” Wikipedia reported.

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The attendees produced a Declaration of Independence.

Power Players

The organization drew some prominent Black Americans to the conference, including human rights advocate Robert F. Williams, then living in exile in China, who was chosen as the first president of the provisional government; attorney Milton Henry (a student of Malcolm X’s teachings) was selected as first vice president; and Malcolm X’s widow Betty Shabazz served as second vice president.

Taking Action

The group was very involved in various communities and outspoken about racist incidents in the U.S. 

“The organization was involved in numerous controversial issues. For example, it attempted to assist Oceanhill-Brownsville area in Brooklyn to secede from the United States during the 1968 conflict over control of public schools. Additionally, it was involved with shootouts at New Bethel Baptist Church in 1969 (during the one-year anniversary of the founding) and another in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1971. (It had announced that the capital of the Republic would be in Hinds County, Mississippi, located on a member’s farm.) In the confrontations, law-enforcement officials were killed and injured. Organization members were prosecuted for the crimes,” Wikipedia reported.


Because of its movement and the attention the organization was gaining, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) listed the Republic of New Afrika as a seditious group due to its advocacy of secession. The FBI even raided several of the group’s meetings and repeatedly arrested and prosecuted certain RNA leaders noted above. The group was a target of the FBI’s controversial COINTELPRO operation.

Famous Members

The group has always attracted a wide range of Blacks, from convicted felons to renowned professors, among them: Monster Kody, Eight Tray Crips gang Leader (currently incarcerated at Centinela State Prison); Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X; Chokwe Lumumba, formerly Edwin Finley Taliaferro of Detroit, who later became an attorney was elected to the Jackson City, Mississippi, city council there. Lumumba elected as mayor in 2013, dying in office in February 2014 of natural causes.

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New Afrikan Foundations 

“In each of its campaigns, the New Afrikan framework has insisted on the centrality of land and power to any idea of Black politics. New Afrikan political thought synthesized long-prevalent strands of Black nationalism: cultural pride, anti-imperialism, spirituality, self-defense, self-governance, land ownership, and economic uplift. As both an individual right and a collective future, self-determination has been the guiding proviso,” Black Perspectives reported.

Garveyism Inspired

The New African Movement was inspired by Garveyism and Rastafarianism and like other Black nationalists, New Afrikans often change their names to reconnect to their African ancestry and reject the “slave names.” 

Going To Church

The group was very involved with other Black organizations and this alerted various government agencies as they feared RNA would create a united front with other Black organizations.

“RNA members gathered in March 1969 at Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church, pastored by the Reverend C. L. Franklin—a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) member and the father of soul singer Aretha Franklin—to celebrate the church’s one-year anniversary. When a shooting occurred outside the church, police surrounded the building and opened fire. Some RNA members were armed and returned fire; one officer died, and the police arrested 140 people inside the church,” Black Perspectives reported. 

Under Attack

The government continued its efforts to dismantle the growing organization, especially in Mississippi. 

“In August 1971 the group faced a dramatic raid on two of its houses by local and state police, as well as the FBI. In early morning raids, police surrounded the RNA’s headquarters in Jackson. When the police attacked the residence, some RNA members returned fire. One police officer died, and two were wounded. This raid resulted in the arrest of eleven RNA members, of which eight—including Imari Obadele—were convicted and spent much of the 1970s as political prisoners,” Black Perspectives reported.

Economic Empowerment

One of the goals of the group is for Black to be economically independent. “The economy of the RNA was to be organized based on ujamaa, Tanzania’s model of cooperative economics and community self-sufficiency. Citizens of the proposed RNA would have limited political rights, unions would be discouraged, freedom of the press would be curtailed, men would be forced to serve in the military, and polygamy would be allowed,” Black Past reported.