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Published on February 7th, 2017 | by Slate Dv8tor Stone


Black History Month art series by artist Adam Hernandez: Day 7 Tom Mboya

“Thomas Joseph Odhiambo “Tom” Mboya (15 August 1930 – 5 July 1969) was a Kenyan trade unionist, educationist, Pan Africanist, author, independence activist, Cabinet Minister and one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Kenya. He spearheaded the negotiations for Independence at the Lancaster House Conferences and was instrumental in the formation of Kenya’s independence party, KANU, which he served as its first Secretary General. He laid the foundation for Kenya’s capitalist and mixed economy policies at the height of the Cold War and set up several of the country’s key labour institutions.

Mboya’s intelligence, charm, leadership and oratory skills won him admiration from all over the world. He gave speeches, debates and interviews across the world in favor of Kenya’s independence from British colonial rule and spoke at several rallies in favor of the civil rights movement in the United States. In 1958, at the age of 28, Mboya was elected Conference Chairman at the All-African Peoples’ Conference convened by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.

He helped build the Trade Union Movement in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and across Africa. At one time, he served as the Africa Representative to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). In May 1959, Mboya called a conference in Lagos, Nigeria to form the first All-Africa ICFTU labor organization. He worked with then United States Senator John F. Kennedy (later president of the US) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to create education opportunities for African students; this effort resulted in African Airlifts of the 1950s – 60s, which enabled African students to study at US colleges. One of the beneficiaries of this airlift was Wangari Maathai, who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1960, Mboya was the first Kenyan to be featured on the cover of Time Magazine of the United States.” – via

Adam Hernandez | Black History Art Series

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