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Science, race relations and resistanceBritain, 1870-1914$
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Douglas A. Lorimer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719033575

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719033575.001.0001

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Resistance: initiatives and obstacles, 1870–1914

Resistance: initiatives and obstacles, 1870–1914

(p.255) Chapter Seven Resistance: initiatives and obstacles, 1870–1914
Science, race relations and resistance

Douglas Lorimer

Manchester University Press

Histories of racism overlook the role of opposing historical actors, and yet anti-racism has roots in the past. The first line of resistance came from persons of colour subject to slavery and other oppressive practices. Espousing the common humanity of all peoples, abolitionists had the potential to join in resistance, but their commitment to the civilising mission, response to slave emancipation, and support of colonial interventions compromised this potential. After 1865, the Aborigines Protection Society (APS) exposed new coercive labour practices and articulated a doctrine of native rights. From the mid-1880s to 1900, radical abolitionists and persons of colour, including early colonial nationalists, came together to challenge racist practices in the empire, the United States, and metropolitan Britain. With the South Africa War, the language of critics became more radical, but had limited impact in the face of white power. In 1909, the APS, exhausted by this struggle, joined with the more moderate British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. The new society abandoned the language of native rights in favour of a paternalistic imperial trusteeship. The alliance with persons of colour was broken, and colonial nationalists faced the task of reconstituting forces of resistance.

Keywords:   black agency, abolitionism, colonialism in Africa, dissent, race and caste, anti-lynching, Pan Africanism, South Africa, native rights, imperial trusteeship

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