1.25.2012

The Honorable Dudley Thompson: A life well-lived, a man to remember

The Honorable Dudley Thompson
January 19, 1917­—January 20, 2012
(Source: FinalCall.com) - The passing of Ambassador Dudley Thompson, an ardent Pan-Africanist, lawyer and brilliant thinker offers us a time to reflect on life, gifts and service. At the time of his death, the longtime race man was 95-years-old and still working to realize a lifelong dream of empowering and uniting the sons and daughters of Africa.

He was born in Panama but his work made him a full-fledged son of Jamaica, where he served as an ambassador and a minister of national security, justice and foreign affairs. Ambassador Dudley was known for his keen wit, his oratory and his passion for his people.

It is easy today to recognize the independent nations of Africa and the Caribbean, but without the efforts of heroes like Ambassador Thompson, such liberty would not have been possible. He was among men who took principled and unpopular stands, bristling at colonialism, clear on the need to end Black suffering, burning with spirit of self-determination and clear on the necessity for unity as sustained attacks besiege a once-great but now scattered people.

Dudley Thompson was a man of accomplishment, serving in Britain’s Royal Air Force during World War II and becoming a Rhodes scholar. In England he interacted with such Pan-African greats as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who led the West African nation to independence; George Padmore of Trinidad and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya. These men were visionaries and saw the importance of a United Africa and a United Black Diaspora.

His accomplishments and skills were not handed over to the opponents of Black liberation. After attending Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, he practiced law in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Kenya in the early 1950s. He quickly became involved in the nationalist struggles of both countries and was a close friend of Mr. Kenyatta and Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania. It was Mr. Thompson who discovered the whereabouts of Mr. Kenyatta after the latter’s abduction by the British during Kenya’s Mau Mau revolution. Mr. Thompson assembled the international legal team that came to Mr. Kenyatta’s defense. Mr. Kenyatta himself as president of Kenya, placing his hand on Dudley Thompson sitting next to him said, “this man saved my life.” [READ MORE]