Lumumba was assassinated 55 years ago, yesterday

Yesterday was the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba

They begin their story on June 30, 1960, with independence day in Léopoldville, the new country’s capital. There, King Baudouin—bedecked in white and countless medals—showed himself oblivious to the scarring legacy of his nation’s unconscionable rule in the Congo. Instead, lecturing one last time to his subjects, he “dripped with imperial condescension,” admonishing the assembled Africans that their independence “ ‘crowned the work that the genius of Leopold, a champion of civilization,’ had initiated.”

It was then Lumumba’s turn to address the assembly of dignitaries. Renowned for his oratory, he electrified the room. Lumumba’s opening salvo left no space for equivocation: “We are proud of this struggle of tears, of fire, and of blood that . . . put an end to the humiliating slavery that force imposed upon us. . . . We have known ironies, insults, blows that we have endured morning, noon and evening, just because we are negroes. . . . Together . . . we are going to show the world what the black man can do when he works in freedom.” With the interrupting applause of African compatriots propelling it forward, Lumumba’s diatribe visibly withered the Belgian monarch. The famous West Indian poet Aimé Césaire would soon presciently muse whether or not the sky would fall in “because a nigger has dared, in the world’s face, to curse out a king.” [link]

lumumba

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