Today In Black History: February 15, 1961 - About sixty African Americans in black veils and black armbands interrupt a United Nations Security Council session to protest UN policies in the Congo and the United States-backed assassination of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.
Outside of the UN headquarters, protesters (including poet and dramatist Amiri Baraka) chanting “Congo, yes! Yankee, no!” were beaten and arrested by police.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1908-1960 was under control of Belgian colonialists. Patrice Lumumba returned to the Belgian Congo in early 1959 to lead the national independence struggle, and by June 30, 1960, Congo was a sovereign country with Lumumba serving as prime minister.
However, after a short period, Lumumba’s government came under attack by the former colonialists in Belgium and the other imperialist countries, led by the U.S. After three months Lumumba’s government was overthrown. Lumumba was held under house arrest by United Nations “peacekeeping forces.”
After Lumumba escaped, he was kidnapped with the assistance of the CIA, which had been involved in plots to assassinate him for several months.
Lumumba was turned over to the agents of Belgian and world imperialism and executed on Jan. 17, 1961.
Besides the New York protests at the UN headquarters, there were demonstrations (some bloody) in D.C., where a number of Howard University students were arrested; Chicago, where people carried signs saying “Shame on the West!”; as well as Cairo, Dublin, Bonn, Belgrade, Rome, Paris, Colombo, Bombay, New Delhi, Karachi, Malaya, Casablanca, Khartoum, Accra, and Beijing — where Premier Zhou En Lai led one rally that was attended by 100,000.