Letter from Anthony G. Saville


The King’s African Rifles in East Africa, 1941.

Guest Contributor: Sara Dilly

“Letter from Anthony G. Saville,” African Affairs 45, 179 (April 1946): 98.

“At the moment in the Army the African soldier is being treated with all the care and devotion which he has deserved of us, but if he has doubts about his future after demobilisation, it is only because little has been done to dispel them.”



In a letter written by Anthony G. Saville, Ex-Brigade Major, addressed to the editor of the African Affairs journal written in January of 1946, the behavior of West African troops is addressed. Evidence is provided to dispute the claim made by African Affairs that African soldiers were becoming restless. African troops are described as calm, patient, understanding and faithful despite the extended period of waiting they were subjected to while waiting for ships to bring them back home. In the meantime, African soldiers were being treated well, however the slow demobilization efforts were beginning to cause concern. Many African troops were concerned that when they did eventually return home, they would be returning to an unchanged colonial system. To conclude his letter, Saville offered a warning, for he believed that returning troops would be filled with resentment and that because many soldiers could read, they would become more involved politically.

Why is this primary source important?

This letter is an important primary source because it offers a first-hand account of how West African troops were behaving and what their morale was like during WWII. It offers a picture of how troops were being treated from an Ex-Brigade Major’s standpoint, meaning it can be read with caution for bias. It is an important letter because it makes many allusions to uprisings that African troops have been blamed for, but it tries to undermine the severity of these incidents. An extremely significant piece of information is offered in the last paragraph of this letter, where Saville hints that returning troops have learned to read and will be more politically active.

“Africa Is Living in the Face of European Exploitation, Says Robb: ‘Dark Continent’ Makes It’s Changes with Changing World Says Traveler”

A Planters House. First house built in Zomba, Malawi.

Guest Contributor: Sara Dilly

H.F. Hammurabi Robb, “Africa Is Living in the Face of European Exploitation, Says Robb: ‘Dark Continent’ Makes It’s Changes with Changing World Says Traveler,” Chicago Defender,

“There is no continent that has changed so rapidly or exploited so rapaciously as Africa during the last five years. There is no continent that has undergone so many influences as the so-called dark-land, the cradle of civilization. There have been the various attempts toward subjugation by the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, Belgians, French, Germans and Italians, all bent on enslaving the people and stealing the treasures of the richest land on earth. They seek to clean the cupboard bare of its gold, diamonds, manganese, cocoa, palm kernels, cotton, skin, water power, and rich, fertile land.”


In a newspaper article written by H.F. Hammurabi Robb who was a well-educated, wealthy, international traveler, published in 1936 in the Chicago Defender, the broad implications of exploitation by western nations are discussed. Ample evidence is provided based on Robb’s personal traveling experiences to support his claims that colonization and exploitation negatively impacted Africa. He specifically talks about the railroads and roads constructed in order to supplement the exploitation process, making it easier for western powers to export the resources they obtained from the African land.

Why is this primary source important?

This newspaper article is an important primary source because it offers the opinions of a person who has been to Africa. The credibility of Robb is two-sided: his experience in traveling makes him an expert; however his thoughts are clearly his own and do not refrain from biased tendencies. Analyzing this article while watching for bias explores the effects of colonization and exploitation. Though he is partial to sympathize with the African population, Robb makes valid points that must be considered when reflecting on whether the industrialization introduced by western powers benefited the colonies or if these technological advancements were detrimental.

“Algerian Women Protest in Paris”

The western part of the Île de la Cité in Paris as seen from north.

Guest Contributor: Lily Glading-Dilorenzo

W. Granger Blair, “Algerian Women Protest in Paris: Police Arrest 1,000 as They Demonstrate Against Curbs,” New York Times, October 21, 1961, page 7.

“Several thousand Algerian women and children demonstrated peacefully in Paris and elsewhere in France yesterday against restrictions imposed on Moslems in the capital and in favor of independence for Algeria. By nightfall the Paris Prefecture of Police reported that 1,000 women and 550 children had been taken into custody in Paris and its industrial suburbs.”


On October 21st 1961, the New York Times published an article telling the public about a peaceful protest that had taken that week. The article says how thousands of Algerian women and children had a peaceful protest in the streets of Paris and other towns in France. Their protest was to demonstrate their want for independence in Algeria, down for racial measures, and negotiations with the Algerian government. They were also protesting Muslim cafes closing early and having an early curfew. This riot had taken place after a riot conducted by men the previous nights which was handled much differently. In the male riot, several Muslims and oneFrenchman were killed, and many were injured. This article states how the French purposely handled the women and children’s riot very carefully, opposed to the males riot which they handled very aggressively.

Why is this source important?

This source is important because it shows that unlike the common ideas about protests, women and children were active in protests as well. It also shows how protests were handled when they had male participants, versus when they had female and children protesters. It shows the context of the protest and what the protesters were specifically protesting and what rights they were demanding.



“Struggle For Power”


Frontignan Memorial

Guest Contributor: Lily Glading-Dilorenzo

“Struggle For Power,” Daily Defender, August 1, 1962, page 11.

“Algeria’s rival political factions seem to be edging toward settlement of the leadership dispute which has riven their fledgling nation. Although their is no official announcement of progress, observers are taking a cautiously optimistic view of the negotiations which are going on between Premier be Youssef ben Khedda and Mohammed Khider, special envoy and top lieutenant of Premier Ahmed ben Bella.”


This article discusses the Evian Accords and their effect on different leaders in France and Algeria. It also talks about the conclusion the Evian Accords came to, and what the plan for the relationships between the French and Algerians would look like.

Why is this source important?

This source is important because it shows how the Evian Accords changed the complex relationship between Algerians and French. It demonstrates the changes the Evian accords had on the Algerian population and what the plan for the relationship between thE French and the Algerians was going to look like for the next few years. It also discusses the ideas of ben Bella and his thoughts on the plan put into place for the Algerians.

“French Blacks Disenfranchised by Vichy Gov’t”

General Weygand’s Inspection of Sétif (Algeria), 1940.

Guest Contributor: Lily Glading-Dilorenzo

“French Blacks Disenfranchised by Vichy Gov’t.” Chicago Defender, October 4,  1941: page 2.

“Starting in 1789, the blacks in the French colonial empire have been deprived of certain rights because of France turning into a Fascist State and starting to support Hitler’s ideals. Algerian chiefs were put into power within villages to keep the people following the Vichy orders.”

Why is this source important? 

This source is important because it shows how the Vichy administration took away Algerian rights because of the change in government. The article continues to state how the people in Senegal, Guadeloupe, Martinique and several colonies lost representation and how all of the previous leaders were expelled and gotten rid of during the process of changing the government. This is significant because it shows how the French and their government affected not only Algerian and African people who are subjected to French colonialism, but also influenced important leaders all over the world. This source also shows how the French used Algerian and African Chiefs in the African villages to enforce their own rules and laws. 


“Portuguese Guinea Insurgent Claims”

“Portuguese Guinea Insurgent Claims,” The Times, April 10, 1965, 6.


“Mr. Amilcar Cabral, secretary-general of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands (PAIGC), which is fighting against the Portuguese forces in Portuguese Guinea, has arrived in London with the object of informing the British Government about the present position in the territory…”

“Portuguese Rule Ends: Cape Verde Gets Its Freedom”

“Portuguese Rule Ends: Cape Verde Gets Its Freedom,” Chicago Defender, July 8, 1975, 5.


“The Cape Verde islands have succeeded Mozambique as the world’s newest independent nation, ending five centuries of Portuguese rule…

The newly elected Cape Verde National Assembly chose as president a man seasoned in guerrilla politics and as Prime Minister an experienced negotiator.

President Aristides Pereira and Prime Minister Pedro Pires were scheduled to be sworn in officially Monday in ceremonies on the island of Sao Vicente.”

“Guinea Independence”

“Guinea Independence,” Chicago Defender, October 20, 1973, 24.


“A new state in Africa has just proclaimed its establishment as an independent Republic and is now seeking recognition from the nations of the world. This in itself is not unusual. It has happened with frequency in Africa in the last decade and a half.

What is unusual is that Portugal, the European power which has for decades claimed control over this African country, still refuses to acknowledge its right to self determination, and the liberation struggle continues. The country which has now proclaimed its independent status is Guinea-Bissau. It is about the size of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, with a population of about one million, and lies between Senegal and the Republic of Guinea in West Africa.”

“Setbacks Fail To Halt Africa’s Freedom Fight”

“Setbacks Fail To Halt Africa’s Freedom Fight,” Chicago Defender, July 5, 1969, 28.


“At present, real fighting against colonial and white-minority regimes is actually taking place only in ‘Portuguese’ Guinea (Guinea-Bissau), Angola, Mozambique and sporadically in Rhodesia and South West Africa. 

Military experts and political observers generally agree that the most successful struggle is being fought by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands (PAIGC), headed by Amilcar Cabral.”

“Says Portugal Faces Rebellion in Guinea”

“Says Portugal Faces Rebellion in Guinea,” Chicago Defender, August 23, 1961, 15.


“Exiles from Portuguese Guinea said that an armed nationalist rebellion against Portuguese colonial rule is underway there…

Amilcar Cabral, secretary general of the African Party for the Independence of Portuguese Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands, said the insurgents changed the situation from a political to a military struggle Aug. 3.”