Jaramogi Meets The American Civil Rights Activists

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga toured various parts of the United State. This is prior to his appearance at the United Nations where Kenya was to become the 113th member.

The Department particularly wanted him to visit Atlanta. Then popularly known as “the city too busy to hate,” to demonstrate racial progress in the United States.

Black protest had been receiving worldwide attention. Mr. Odinga criticized the United States for its systematic discrimination against African Americans and had defended Kenya’s decision to seek amicable relations with the Eastern bloc as well as Western states.

Today, the union in America is not perfect. More than 50 years ago, America looked up to the Jays-Jaramogi and Jomo for inspiration towards racial equality.

Raila – Uhuru Visit

The Raila-Uhuru visit to America during the Americans Black History month celebrations has an overarching results. Its a theme centered on the influence Uhuru’s father Jomo and Raila’s father Jaramogi had on the civil rights movement in America.

George Hegel postulates that History is a slaughterhouse because of the blood, sweat and tears. It is an historic moment for the the sons of Jomo and Jaramogi to share the same stage, in America, during black history month.

Black people and friends of black people in America engaged in civil rights struggle in the 60’s. Countries in Africa gained independence at higher rates providing the frontiers of civil rights liberty with much needed inspiration, and hope of better days ahead.

The people of African had said Enough! to colonialists, it was possible for black people in America to attain a more perfect union.

Jaramogi In America

It is not strange therefore that in 1963, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga toured America as a guest of the State Department. His hosts gave him a fudged image of America, where the state of the union was strong and diverse.

Jaramogi influence on the civil rights movement in America grew so big. The CIA started acknowledging it.

The State Department included Atlanta in this tour tour. They put up Jaramogi at the Peachtree Manor, one of the only integrated hotels in the city.


The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) heard about Odinga visit. They sought audience with him, to give him an unadulterated perspective or what we today call “mamba kwa ground..”

They invited Jaramogi to accompany them to Toddle House restaurant which had refused to serve them because of their race.

SNCC’s adoption of solidarity with colonized peoples around the globe helped organizers broaden their thinking about struggle for social change.

Thus leading SNCC to challenge and pressure the federal government to end injustice and oppression on multiple fronts around the world.

As Matthew Jones noted, “It’s a funny thing about that word freedom. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s Swahili, Japanese, Chinese, English or French, it’s got that certain ring to it.”

A good number of SNCC leaders were arrested for sitting in protest at the hotel’s treatment.

Whitewashed Race

Jaramogi realized that he had been given a “whitewashed” version of American race relations, which left him dismayed. He would go on to teach SNCC workers the Swahili word for freedom, “Uhuru.”

The SNCC later composed a song called “Oginga Odinga” . This was to honor Oginga’s unwavering support to the civil rights movement in America.

The song “Oginga Odinga,” historians write, went on to become Malcolm X’s favorite song.

It would be played in hall meetings as a segue of Malcom’x discourses.

Malcolm X was fascinated with Jaramogi and his character. He had seen what he aspired to be in Jaramogi.

Vice President

After Kenya became a Republic, Jomo Kenyatta took over as President. Jaramogi was his vice president.If the two shared pre-indepence rivarly, they had been put on the back burner. Call this Handshake 1.

At the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, Malcolm X took the podium to speak, Freedom Singers belting the song “Oginga Odinga” . This was in December 20, 1964

He couldn’t help but be very impressed at the out start. The Freedom Singers were singing the song “Oginga Odinga”. Oginga Odinga is one of the foremost freedom fighters on the African continent.

At the time he visited in Atlanta, Georgia, I think he was then the minister of home affairs in Kenya.

Post Independence

Kenya became a republic last week. Jomo Kenyatta ceased being the prime minister becoming the president. The same person you are singing about, Oginga Odinga, is now Kenyatta’s vice president.

He’s the number-two man in the Kenya government.

The fact that you would be singing about him, to me is quite significant. Two or three years ago, this wouldn’t have been done.

Most of our people would choose to sing about someone depending various attributes. For example meek and forgiving.

Oginga Odinga is not passive. He’s not meek, not humble and not nonviolent. But he’s free.

Studying how Kenyatta brought enlightenment to people in Kenya, you and I can best learn how to get real mind freedom.

Particularly ,how Odinga helped him, and the excellent job that was done by the Mau Mau freedom fighters.