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Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

On-line version ISSN 1809-4341

Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. vol.10 no.2 Brasília July/Dec. 2013 



Eduardo Mondlane and the social sciences1



Livio Sansone





Focusing on his life and academic production, especially the long eleven years that he spent in the United States, in this text I explore the complex relation between the first President of the Mozambique Liberation Front Eduardo Mondlane and the social sciences – the academic world of sociology and anthropology. I do so through an analysis of the correspondence between Mondlane and several social scientists, especially Melville Herskovits, the mentor for his master's and doctoral degrees in sociology, and Marvin Harris, who followed his famous study of race relations in Brazil with research in Lourenço Marques in 1958 on the system of social and race relations produced under Portuguese colonialism. My main argument is that his academic training bore on Mondlane's political style more than normally assumed in most biographical accounts.

Keywords: Africanism, Afro-Bahia, candomble, Herskovits, Frazier, Turner


Enfocando sua vida e produçao academica, sobretudo os longos onze anos que ele passou nos Estados Unidos, neste texto me debruço sobre a complexa relaçao entre Eduardo Mondlane, o primeiro presidente da Frente de Libertaçao de Moçambique, e as ciencias sociais – o mundo academico da sociologia e da antropologia. Para isso analizei a correspondencia entre ele e diversos cientistas sociais, especialmente Melville Herskovits, que foi seu mentor tanto no mestrado quanto no doutorado in sociologia, e Marvin Harris, que apos seu famoso estudo sobre as relaçoes raciais no Brasil, foi fazer pesquisa na cidade de Lourenço Marques sobre o sistema de relaçoes sociais e raciais que o colonialismo portugues tinha criado. Meu principal argumento è que esta formaçao academica teve muita mais influença sobre o estilo politico de Mondlane do que normalmente indicado em suas biografias.

Palavras-chave: Africanismo, Afro-Bahia, candomblé, Herskovits, Frazier, Turner



"Eduardo Mondlane... a professor with the look of a guerrilla fighter and a
guerilla fighter who looked more like a university professor" (Shore 1999: 22).


We know that the relationship between anti-colonial thought and the social sciences has been complex on a variety of fronts. On the one hand, the social sciences, especially anthropology, grew and gained power within the academic world thanks to the new fields of investigation opened up by colonialism. On the other hand, there has been what we could call a creolization of the social sciences by natives from various social positions and classes, ranging from field assistants who, soon after independence, became anthropologists of their home country, gaining access to spaces traditionally denied to them in research centers such as the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute (Pels 1987, Schumaker 2001), to the use of training in social sciences by young scholars who soon after – or even during their university education in the West – were helping to organize the fight for independence in their countries and became leaders of these struggles (among others, Kenyatta, Nkrumah and Mondlane). Hence the anti-colonial narratives of these future leaders made use of hegemonic discourses in the social sciences or some of their most popular theories. This was the case, for example, of cultural relativism (employed in the writings and speeches of Kenyatta and Nkrumah) or, two decades later, reference group theory, developed in social psychology, in the formation and manifestation of racial prejudice (used by Eduardo Mondlane in his anti-colonialist discourse, which always remained, we could say, strongly humanist)2.

Here my main argument is that training in social sciences was a determining factor in the 'self-construction' of several African leaders of independence and that this training, including the day-to-day functioning of academic life in which they were embedded, provided access to social networks, language and various forms of cultural capital that would later help shape the politics and practice of these same leaders. Furthermore, even though in nationalist discourse the emphasis is often much more on the local rootedness of the leader than on his cosmopolitan training, one can argue that, rather than being a contradiction, the homeland/cosmopolitism polarity suggests a constitutive tension of activism, especially pan-Africanist activism.

While various studies have already been undertaken of the biographies and theoretical genealogies of Kenyatta and Nkrumah, from the hagiographies to the synthetic and national biographies, the case of Eduardo Mondlane is still relatively little researched, although the complexity of his life history could and should have attracted more attention from social scientists. The attempts to reconstruct Mondlane's biography3 have especially emphasized what were undoubtedly three important moments or aspects of his life: 1. The relation with the Swiss Mission, his contact with the missionaries and the networks that they made available for his training as a leader (Cruz & Silva 1999); 2. His marriage to Janet Rae Mondlane4 (Manghezi, 1999); 3. The final period of his life, from 1963 to 1969, when he was based in Dar Es Salaam and his leadership of FRELIMO absorbed all of his time. With few exceptions (Shore 1999 and above all Borges Graça 2000, Cossa 2011 and Duarte de Jesus 2010), much less attention has been given to his training as a social scientist5 and to the eleven years spent in the United States studying, researching, giving lectures and, soon after, teaching, publishing and networking6. Mondlane himself, still only 25 years old, wrote an autobiography of his youth in partnership with the Swiss missionary Clerc (Chitlango & Clerc 1946), which Mondlane signed, probably to avoid exposing himself to the colonial authorities, under the pseudonym of Khambane. According to Cruz e Silva & Alexandrino (1991), he wrote an autobiographical note on his return to Mozambique in 1961 (FRELIMO 1972: 7-9)7. By contrast Mondlane wrote little about his stay in the United States, except in letters to his wife and a few colleagues (Rae Mondlane 2010), in a speech he delivered to the United Nations Special Committee on Territories under Portuguese Administration on April 10, 19628, and, in December 1966, in an interesting but brief biographical note running to two pages9.

Obviously, for a variety of reasons, some of which will be dealt with in this text, this academic training and the theoretical grounding that accompanies it has been given little space in the reconstruction of the 'national biographies'10 of these political leaders. In these biographies they are presented as, so to speak, more telluric than cosmopolitan – their intelligence, charisma, rhetoric and power are seen to derive more from their almost organic link to the land and its culture than to their intellectual capacities. It is worth emphasizing that more recently new biographies of African leaders have been published, which far from being hagiographic or part of a nationalist project, try to give a more balanced portrayal of these leaders, including explorations of some of their singular contradictions11.

Here I wish to concentrate on the case of Eduardo Mondlane, complex enough by itself, based on an analysis of his life and academic production, especially the long eleven years that he spent in the United States, although, perhaps less intensely, he continued to publish and maintain contacts with researchers after settling in Dar Es Salaam12. In this text I explore the relation between Mondlane and the social sciences – the academic world of sociology and anthropology. I do so through an analysis of the correspondence between Mondlane and Melville Herskovits, the mentor for his master's and doctoral degrees in sociology, and between Mondlane and Marvin Harris, who followed his famous study of race relations in Brazil with research in Lourenço Marques in 1958 on the system of social and race relations produced under Portuguese colonialism. This research was prematurely interrupted, however, when Harris had to abandon the field early due to pressures from Portugal's International Police and State Defense Agency (PIDE) and the United States Consulate (Macagno 1999)13.

In one of those unexpected twists that occur when browsing through an archive, I first came across Eduardo Mondlane's journey through American universities while I was researching three pioneers of Afro-Brazilian studies in the United States: E. Franklin Frazier, Lorenzo Dow Turner and Melville Herskovits (Sansone 2012). During my research on Bahia I encountered a series of interesting and important documents on Mondlane's journey through the academic world: his master's dissertation and doctoral thesis in sociology, both supervised at Northwestern University by the illustrious anthropologist Melville Herskovits14; Mondlane's correspondence with the same Herskovits (founder in 1948 of the most important department of African studies and probably the most famous and powerful Africanist anthropologist of his period) and with the equally famous anthropologist Marvin Harris15; and his correspondence with other American researchers and documents concerning various activities in United States universities. The first correspondence is found in the M. Herskovits Papers, held by the African Collection of the Melville Herskovits Library at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; the second is found in the Marvin Harris Papers, recently made available to the public, at the National Anthropological Archive, held by the Smithsonian Institute, in Suitland, Virginia16. Other documents were made available, in a generous spirit of collaboration, by the Oberlin College Archives and the Roosevelt University Archive.

In the middle of this correspondence I encountered interesting newspaper cuttings, pamphlets and a series of letters written by Mondlane to other social scientists. His master's dissertation and doctoral thesis suggest that he was probably the first African researcher to investigate race relations and racial prejudice in the United States at the start of the 1950s17. This experience of research, studying, lecturing and living in Chicago and the nearby region was a determining factor in the formation of Mondlane as a social scientist, of course, but also of his ideals concerning the independence of Mozambique and the emancipation of Africans from lack of formal education18. The period during which he lived in the United States, in the 1950s until 1962, was decisive because it corresponded to the Cold War period when the US government decided to invest in Area Studies (Peterson 2003) and, as part of this policy, develop African Studies and encourage young Africans to come to the United States universities. This occurred above all during the time when Robert Kennedy was Attorney General (during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson) and promoting a new stance on the part of the US government vis-à-vis Africa and Latin America. These were the most intense and turbulent years in the independence processes of the majority of African countries. They were also the years that saw the groundwork laid for the civil rights campaign in the black American community19. Fertile years, then, that made Chicago and its surrounding region to some extent the second pan-African agora in the United States, after New York.

After being forced prematurely to abandon his studies in social services at Witwatersrand University in South Africa – his visa renewal was refused as the apartheid regime hardened immediately after the National Party won the 1948 elections – and having to spend some time in Maputo without being able to continue his studies20 Mondlane travelled to Lisbon to continue his studies at the Faculty of Literature of the University of Lisbon – with a grant from a New York City non-governmental agency. The political climate left him dissatisfied, though. Moreover he got tired of the special attention police devoted to African students. Through the mediation of the Methodist Church, he applied for and obtained a Phelps Stokes Fund scholarship to study in the USA (Duarte 2010: 82). The option was Oberlin College in Ohio where Mondlane received his BA in Sociology in 195221. This institution, Kevin Yelvington tells me in a personal communication, had the reputation of being a very liberal university. Since 1840 it had encouraged black students to enroll in its courses (Minter in press). For several of them Oberlin was a trampoline to graduate studies in the best known universities. For example, Johannetta Cole studied there as an undergraduate in the Fifties22 Herskovits's friend, George Eaton Simpson, who was one of Cole's teachers, encouraged her to study with Herskovits at Northwestern. Oberlin, moreover, has a long association with Africa. Other African leaders had studied at Oberlin prior to Mondlane, to begin with the Zulu leader and first president of the African National Congress, John Dube, at the end of the nineteenth century (de Barros 2012). He became familiar with the ideas of Booker Washington at the college and later tried to adapt them to the Zulu context in South Africa. All these African leaders came to study at Oberlin College through the intermediation and support of Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, and their networks of international solidarity – a 'Protestant International.' Oberlin was also part of a large network from which an outstanding student such as Mondlane would eventually benefit. Simpson was friendly with Ralph Bunche, with whom he had shared a room at the YMCA at Northwestern University in 1936. Bunche was a representative of the United States at the United Nations. Later Simpson presented Bunche to Mondlane, and the two men would have lengthy conversations (Cruz e Silva & Alexandrino 1991: 102). Bunche, the first black American to have a prominent role at the United Nations, would become the head of the UN Trusteeship Council in the 1950s, where Mondlane came to work in 195723.

It was at Northwestern that Melville Herskovits created in 1948 if not the first, then the most powerful and best funded African studies program in the United States, becoming the dean of African Studies and the first president of the African Studies Association. It was also at this university that Mondlane began his master's degree in 1952, completed it in 1955, and began his doctorate in 1956, which he presented in 196024.

During his master's research, Mondlane, who had little money and even had to work in the summer of 1953 in a cement factory, obtained a job as a teaching instructor for a year at Roosevelt University. This had already become one of the first racially integrated (philanthropic) universities by the end of the 1940s. It was no coincidence that L. Dow Turner moved to Roosevelt at the end of 1948. Turner conducted research in Bahia and later in Africa, and founded the first department of African studies in the USA at Fisk, a black university, soon after returning from his research in Bahia in 1943 (see Sansone 2012). Turner moved to Roosevelt and Chicago, as he admitted, after becoming tired of the segregation in Tennessee. At Roosevelt University, the best-known black anthropologist St. Clair Drake had been trying for a while to develop African studies (Gershernhorn 2009 and 2010). Together with Turner, with little funding available for actual research in Africa, he took advantage of the stay of various African students in Chicago to invite them to give seminars and lectures to students, many of whom were African-American. Mondlane was one of these young Africans. In 1955-56 he also gave classes in African studies at the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois – on the northern outskirts of Chicago. In this second case Mondlane once again benefitted from the Methodist Church network, to which the Seminary in question was associated.

Concerning the Eduardo Mondlane Memorial Lecture Series, I discovered the following on the wiki page on the Department of African-American Studies at Syracuse University:

The [Eduardo Mondlane Memorial Lecture Series] was named after the founder of Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), Eduardo Mondlane, who was also a former professor at Syracuse University. In recent years, it has become more important in keeping a focus on topical issue on Africa in academia. The lecture series was originally administered by the East African Studies Program at Syracuse University that is now dissolved. For several years, this interactive series has brought scholars, students, and the community together to discuss pertinent issues concerning Africa to the university. It is during one of these lecture series on February 20, 1970, that Guinea-Bissau nationalist Amílcar Cabral delivered his famous speech "National Liberation and Culture" at Syracuse University.

Mondlane really stood out as a researcher and obtained his first job as a full investigator in 1957 – three years prior to completing his doctorate – at the United Nations, where he remained until 1961. There, Mondlane formed part of a team that produced various reports on African countries that had still to gain full independence. This gave him the chance to travel through Africa, especially to Cameroons and the Congo, and to meet interesting people who passed through the United Nations, including a Portuguese mission composed of young people who were more open than Mondlane had anticipated25. But this job, which demanded secrecy and extreme discretion, involving reports to the United Nations, eventually frustrated Mondlane. He therefore left to take up the post of senior lecturer at Syracuse University, where he gave classes on the postgraduate course in anthropology and had the freedom to travel and be absent for long periods26. In 1963 he resigned to move to Dar es Salaam. At Syracuse University, just as at all the other universities where he worked, Mondlane left an excellent impression, so much so that the monthly seminar attended by important African intellectuals and leaders, among them Amilcar Cabral in 1970, was dedicated to him and is today called the Mondlane Lecture Series27.

His master's dissertation, 'Ethnocentrism and the Social Definition of Race as In-group Determinants,' was presented in April 1955 for the diploma of Master of Arts, in sociology. The dissertation was the result of quantitative research using a questionnaire Annex 1) through which Mondlane had tested a theoretically well-supported hypothesis. This showed that Mondlane was very well versed in the writings of the most important authors of the time on the theme of racial prejudice and reference groups. The thesis he defended is set out clearly right at the start of the introduction:

In this thesis we want to test the general hypothesis that where there is a conflict between racial in-group loyalty and ethnic or national in-group loyalty, an individual will tend to allow the ethnic loyalty to override the racial one (1955: 1).

Behavioral patterns, Mondlane argued, are dictated by social situations as well as social expectations. For example, the author continues, an American citizen who is at the same time a member of a racial group will frequently face situations in which loyalty to his own racial group could conflict with his loyalty to the United States as a nation. It could be anticipated, therefore, that in a context of conflict or war, loyalty to the nation would be stronger. In discussing this topic, Mondlane describes himself and his own experience: at first sight in the USA, he is frequently considered black (African-American), but as soon as he starts to speak he is taken to be a foreigner and immediately treated as an outsider. Mondlane adds that the terms black and white are used in the dissertation as social rather than biological entities (1955: 4). At the end of the introduction, the author summarizes the dissertation's overall hypothesis: people will manifest different attitudes to the same question when aware of the fact that they are talking to different ethnic or racial groups, or different social categories28.

Mondlane also argues that the American black men or women inhabit two social environments, namely the racial environment (defined in the most social form possible) and the national environment:

As a result of three centuries of differential treatment by the members of the majority group he has developed a strong in-group feeling toward people of his own race, irrespective of their national and cultural backgrounds. Also as a citizen of the United States the American Negro has developed a strong feeling of love, pride for the country, and a sense of loyalty, which he shares with the members of the majority group, his fellow citizens. Social-psychologically, both ethnicity and the social definition of race are strong determinants of the Negro's attitude toward a whole realm of relationships between himself and the world (1955: 15-16).

The research began with a pre-test, selecting twenty black students and an equal number of white students from Northwestern University itself. These informants, called judges, were given an opinion scale to complete concerning the attitudes of African-Americans in relation to their social, economic and political status. The result was a questionnaire that initially should have been administered by investigators from diverse ethnic backgrounds: white, black, African and European. When this proved impossible, the questionnaire was administered in two black colleges close to Chicago by the teachers themselves – also black. The students were presented with four versions of the questionnaire, each one to be used to reply to questions asked by a presumed African-American, white, African or European interviewer – the idea was to measure the differences in tone and style of these four questionnaires. Initially the plan was to administer the same questionnaire in poor and black communities of Chicago, but the survey had such a large repercussion that numerous black churches and associations volunteered and began to impose conditions, such as being told the entire philosophy behind the method – but for this method to work, it was essential that the respondent not know too much about it, argued Mondlane, in line with the sociological precepts of the time. This phase of research ended up being postponed into the near future (we shall see the extent to which Mondlane's doctorate incorporated this proposal). The survey resulted in 250 questionnaires, 180 of which were selected having answered all the questions.

The main conclusion was that the racial reference group was less important than the national reference group. For the black American, the racial reference group played a significant role in inducing a particular response only when there was no conflict with the values affecting his or her involvement in the main reference group (being an American citizen) (1955: 35). In other words, ethnocentrism (national identification) was found to determine attitudes more than racialism (racial identification) (1955: 45). This attitude was even stronger among black people raised in the North of the United States, since they lived in an environment comparatively free of the racial barriers that marked the life of the black population in the South.

As was common in those days, the text is written in first person plural (we) and relatively free of more personal remarks. Even so in two places we can perceive that Mondlane's experience of living and working in the United States was a determining factor in his way of conceiving both the research topic and the method used or the kind of questions raised. This can be noted when he writes of how in the street he is very often perceived to be African-American while in conversations he is considered (and treated) as an African, indeed as a foreigner, by white and black people alike. It is not by accident that one of the questions in the questionnaire was: "In general, are the people in Africa better off than the black Americans in this Country?" Interestingly 36% of female informants answered yes to this question compared to a mere 17% of the men. This personal touch is also noticeable when he refers to the question of the relations between men and women. Mondlane claims that the belief exists among African students that male African-Americans are closer to Africans (students) and Africa than female African-Americans – as we have just seen, the finding of the questionnaire would suggest the inconsistency of this belief29. Elsewhere Mondlane writes that mixed marriages are a polemical issue between white and black people. Indeed one of the items of the questionnaire was included precisely to provoke discussion on this polemical question: "Give your opinion about the following: interracial marriage between blacks and whites is one of the best forms to resolve the racial question in our country."

Here we can turn to a section from the work's conclusion:

While the American Negro may at times consider himself akin of other Negroes in other countries in the world, he may at the same time feel strongly identified with other social groupings which exclude members of the racial group to which he belongs... Just as Americans of the white race were able to engage in a number of wars against nations to which their ancestors, only a few generations back, were members, it is conceivable that American Negroes can participate in a similar activity against African Negroes or other Negroes in spite of racial affinity30.... It would be interesting to study the racial attitudes of Negroes living in a country where there is less social isolation. It is likely that their national identification would be even stronger than our findings indicate31.... In the United States the American Negro will tend to be more and more nationalistic, as he is more and more being integrated in the various social institutions of the country. It would be interesting to study the attitudes of the American Negroes who live in white areas in American cities...Here there is a promising field for social research. Questions such as 'What does the Negro want?' or 'What does the Negro think?', etc., have to be referred to their specific reference points in order to have any meaning at all. ... If there is such a thing as American Negro opinion, as differentiated from the so-called native white opinion, it must be in reference to a specific relationship that is translatable in social terms, and not in racial terms (1955: 58-59).

For these reasons Mondlane disagrees with the method and conclusions of the major study on the attitudes of American black people organized by Stouffer (1949), since the latter only uses black interviewers in the questionnaires administered to black soldiers – thereby failing to collect valuable information on the attitudes of black soldiers concerning the war32.

His doctoral thesis in sociology, presented in 1960 under the supervision still of Melville Herskovits, continues and widens this interest in the relation between reference group and racially determined behavior, once again examined through a quantitative approach with a theoretical foundation taken primarily from social psychology. Authors like Robert Merton, Paul Lazarsfeld and Leon Festinger, as well as the canonical Talcott Parsons, are widely cited. Once again Mondlane, who during his final years of doctoral research was already working as a consultant at the United Nations33, initially envisaged a research study that would also be of interest to poor communities, but at the end of the day he opted to concentrate on white and black students at universities in the North and South of the United States. This time the survey group was larger, totaling 650 collected questionnaires without any claim to statistical representativeness. Once again the questionnaires were administered by academic staff as part of their classroom activity. The questionnaire was addressed to four groups of students: white and black students from Northern universities and white and black students from Southern universities – the latter for the most part still racially segregated. The questions centered on a thorny issue: fraud in university exams. They asked what the respondent (white or black) would do if he or she discovered another colleague (white or black) was cheating (copying, for example). The idea of cheating in an exam was something publicly condemned by everyone. However a large difference was discovered between public situations – where others also perceive the fraud – and private situations – where the respondent is the only person to perceive it. In the former case all four groups tended to condemn cheating strongly. In the latter case, especially in the South, the respondents tended to be severe with the other racial group and lenient with their own. It was also noticeable that the students from higher-ranking schools, which tended to be from the North, were usually more severe with cheating in private too and in relation to their own racial group. Students from lower ranking schools, by contrast, tended to be more lenient with cheating, especially when practiced by a member of their own racial group.

Here again we can turn to an excerpt taken from the conclusion:

...role expectations may be the most reasonable theoretical explanation. That is, as a student enters a school with high academic standards of honesty, he sooner or later learns to internalize the accepted values of the school to the point where they become his own. ... it seems reasonable to conclude that race is an important factor which determines the direction of the choices which an individual is constantly required to make among the many alternative norms of behavior surrounding his life. However, race or caste is important only when it is set against the background of regional or cultural traditions as part of the collective experience of the groups tested. In other words, race or caste is a factor in the kind of bias noted in this study, only as it affects those individuals whose cultural traditions include a special attitude towards members of the white or Negro race, depending on the side of the racial line they belong (1960: 96-97).

Comparing the master's dissertation with the doctoral thesis, the former clearly reflects the first years of study in the United States, as well as the foreignness of a young African intellectual living in Chicago, while the latter already shows a certain familiarity with academic culture in the United States, obtained from years of study at Northwestern University and teaching experience in four American universities from 1953 to 1960.34 In both studies Mondlane concludes emphasizing how pernicious and pervasive racism is and also the danger of putting ethnicity before justice. In my view, these two conclusions will later bear on his ethno-sceptic approach to the liberation struggle of Mozambique, which could be summed up as follows: the fight against colonialism and its racism cannot go together with ethnic identities; for the most part traditional local leadership had been, to use a term of the time, ' tribalized' by the colonial government; regional cultures of the various regions of Mozambique are important but a national culture and identity need to be forged as part of the liberation process (Mondlane in Bragança & Wallerstein 1978: 197-200).

Although this article centers on the eleven years spent by Mondlane in the United States, I would like, without any claim to analytic precision, to suggest a number of avenues for comprehending the complexity of the biography of this intellectual and political leader. Obviously Mondlane, like all of us, accumulated experiences over a period of time – in this case the years spent in the United States – that soon served in the adaptation to a later phase of his life. I would say that we can already perceive changes in these eleven years in relation to two important questions: race relations and political radicalism.

The experience of racism in Mozambique, South Africa, Lisbon and the United States is different, as would be expected. He experienced more severe racial segregation in South Africa, followed by a segregation regime already in crisis, though still in force, in the United States (especially in the South, and it is no coincidence that Mondlane in his studies compares the attitudes of students from Southern and Northern schools), the day-to-day racism from a year spent in Lisbon, still the capital of 'his Country,' and finally racism in the colonial context. In relation to the latter, as he personally realized on his return in 1961, Mondlane was able to benefit from a higher status, being one of the first very few black Mozambicans with a Ph.D., but at the same time he felt called, precisely because of his unique status, to assume a leadership role in the struggle for the emancipation of his homeland. In the author's writings there is a transition from a moderately positive stance, emphasizing the relative absence of racial segregation compared to South Africa, as appears in the first letters to Janet (1950-52), to his disenchantment with the government and the overall Portuguese presence in Mozambique. This disenchantment became radicalized after his voyage to the country with Janet and their children in 1961. His short biographical note from December 1966 already registers a change in tone in relation to the anti-racist fight and the references to his African roots, although he continues to stress his passion for research and academic life:

... My very interest in Western-type education was stimulated by my mother who insisted that I go to school in order to understand the witchcraft of the white man, thus being able to fight against him. My mother said this to me so many times that, even though she died when I was barely 13, I can still hear her voice ringing in my ears.

This desire to fight the white man and liberate my people was intensified after I was expelled from South Africa in 1949. It was during that year that I organised the first Mozambican student union, which still exists today and whose leaders have now been put in prison by the Portuguese fascist government.

Even though I love university life more than anything else in the world, I have decided to dedicate the rest of my life to the liberation struggle until the independence of my country. I believe that because the people of Mozambique are now ready to fight for their freedom, they shall be free, no matter what the Portuguese and their imperialist allies try to impede it.

The correspondence I analyzed includes numerous records that shed light on racial issues as they relate to three dimensions of Mondlane's everyday life: his personal life, the academic world and his work at the United Nations, and political activism, with racial radicalism increasing from the first dimension to the last. The world of activism required of Mondlane a certain 'localism' while the academic world demanded – and rewarded – a certain cosmopolitanism – as well as good handling of the canonical social forms. Private life is, as always, the domain of greatest complexity. For example, in Simpson's letter of presentation to the United Nations in 195735, the fact that Mondlane was married to Janet, a white American, is mentioned as a bonus indicating the cosmopolitanism of a young African intellectual, but the same marriage, as Duarte de Jesus's study shows (2010), lies at the center of the accusations within FRELIMO of Mondlane being more of a diplomat than a guerrilla fighter, interested in partnerships with the West and little disposed to the 'Africanization' of the Mozambique Institute, a training institute created by FRELIMO in Dar es Salaam – where various non-black academics were invited to give classes and where Janet played a prominent role36.

In terms of radicalism, Mondlane can be said to have always been a patriot, in the sense of being proud of his country and willing to fight for it, but I believe that he was transformed into a nationalist, in the sense of forming a mental project for the nation, much later in his life, during his years in the United States. Now in both phases we can perceive the importance of his Protestant education, his religious creed and his academic training. This training would heavily influence Mondlane's political choices. For example, although Africa itself only appeared in two questions in the questionnaires used in the master's and doctoral research, the emphasis on the importance of the reference group – and the central role that ethnicity, class and 'race' could play in it – would influence both the form of conceiving ethnicity and nation in Mozambique and his concern with the alignment of African countries with one of the two superpowers – which would lead these countries to make decisions in favor of 'their' superpower rather than their own interests. Mondlane was an intellectual and a political leader, therefore it is not surprising that even in the obvious process of radicalization of his thought, boosted by the mounting of the independence struggle, the wording of radicalism is characterized by his intellectual sophistication.

This transforms him into a sui generis humanist for whom socialism would have an increasing influence, especially later in his life. During his stay in the United States he never lost his aplomb, a certain moderation and sobriety that, in my view, seem to characterize Mondlane: fighting for Africa and identifying himself as black made him highly aware of the nefarious effects of racial discrimination, but do not seem to have created a deep identification with the fight for African-American civil rights. This indeed is one of the harshest criticisms made to him in a report by the Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde of May 2nd 1968, which compares Che Guevara and Mondlane: the latter had never declared his support for the leaders of Black Power, like Carmichael37.

At this point it is worth returning to some aspects of academic life in the United States. Eduardo Mondlane took his studies very seriously, so much so that he would soon approach academic life, without ceasing to frequent Methodist churches and circles regularly. As soon as he was admitted into Northwestern University, an academic center of excellence, he joined the Ki-Kappa-Delta fraternity – which allowed him to socialize with a large number of colleagues, the vast majority white. Soon after this he joined the African Studies Association. In fact I imagine that Mondlane must have frequently been the only black student in the classroom or in meetings during these years, though this does not appear to have bothered him too much38. Again, Mondlane was an exception. It is worth recalling that the overwhelming majority of Afro-American students at this time studied in Black Colleges, which were also the destination for most African students, who began to be more numerous in the USA from the start of the 1950s.

It is only with the development of area studies and the consolidation of African studies, from the mid Fifties, that African students come in relatively large numbers to the best universities – which had been thus far almost entirely white. Even though in the US in those days universities were one of the spaces where race mattered less, African students come to confront a new and tense racial climate. Racial politics affected the recruiting of faculty and students as well as the teaching curricula; the relationship between the creation of African studies in the US and African students, especially the very intellectually gifted, was, to say it politely, tense (Rosa 2009; Gershernhorn 2009 and 2010). The reason for the tension was a combination of four factors: gifted African students wanted to study in top quality universities and these were white institutions; the making of African studies in the US was in itself a tense and racialized field because black scholars had tried already in the Forties to create such programs but gained little support from funding agencies when compared with programs in white universities such as Northwestern and Boston College. Outstanding black scholars such as linguist Lorenzo Turner at Fisk, sociologist E. Franklin Frazier at Howard and anthropologist St. Clair Drake at Roosevelt college considered that their effort was not properly rewarded; African studies programs needed (outstanding) African students both as key informants and to legitimize themselves to the Federal government and the private foundations funding their programs, starting in the early Sixties (and sometimes also in the late Fifities); African-American students became interested in African studies because of their renewed interest in the African continent, but also because sometimes they felt that universities gave African students a better treatment they were giving to them. In order to achieve what he wanted – good training, academic experience, and solidarity and support for the struggle for the liberation of Mozambique – Mondlane had to navigate through the perils generated by such racial tension.

In rallying support for the struggle for Mozambique in the US and Europe, Mondlane was aided by its style and the way he dealt with African identity and culture in the presence of non-Africans. One can conclude that from many letters by colleagues and newspaper reports on Mondlane's activities in the US, which describe him with terms such as charming, polite, well-educated, well-spoken and good-mannered. He seems to have had a tranquil relation with his African 'roots' and identity, seeing no reason to aestheticize them. From his correspondence with Janet (Manghezi 1999: 332) we can deduce that during his stay in Lisbon in 1950, he was little involved in cultural activities centered around the search for 'African roots,' which differentiated him from other young Africans based at the Casa dos Estudantes do Império who would later become leaders in the fight for independence (Cruz e Silva 1999: 95). Perhaps this reluctance stemmed both from his humble social background and from the fact that he had been raised until adolescence not within a creole or assimilated environment, but within what would then have more than likely been defined as a traditional African culture. He spoke and wrote Shangana perfectly, and would show he was proud of this fact during, for example, his return trip to Mozambique in 1961, while the various western languages that he used with extreme fluency he had learnt from his teens onwards39. Years later, in the United States, although he was probably the first African researcher to study in depth the effects of racism in the country, he was not there in search of a (black) identity but in search of solidarity with the cause of Mozambique's independence40.

Reading Mondlane's correspondence, what impresses is his humility mixed with cordiality and what I would call, for lack of a better term, good manners. He was without doubt a good, committed and convincing speaker – we know this from Janet Mondlane's letters, as well as those of Herskovits and Simpson. In a letter of recommendation sent to Professor Maxwell at the University of Ghana41, dated June 30th 1958, Herskovits describes Mondlane as follows: "I know that he is a good speaker; he gave a number of public addresses while he was here, and was much in demand".

Even so, Mondlane, once again invited to give a talk at Northwestern University, replied to Herskovits, thanked him for the invitation and promised that, though not a good speaker, he would try to say something interesting and had accepted because he knew that giving a talk to the students in question would allow him to learn a lot.

I am sure your students will stimulate me. As you know I am not a good speaker. I will enjoy answering questions more than making a formal speech (EM to MH, 18 April 1952, Melville Herskovits Papers, Northwestern University, Box 56, Folder 48.)

Herskovits later wrote to thank Mondlane on May 6th 1952:

This letter ... is to thank you on behalf of all of us for the excellent talk you gave us. Everyone at the Seminar found it most stimulating. It provided a first rate background for Lord Healey discussion last Friday and the talk by the French Colonial Attaché last night. Our deep appreciation to you for having taken the time to come and give it.

Another case of his discretion, which I imagine to be fairly uncommon among those who would become prominent leaders of African independence, is found in the first letters to Janet where Mondlane declares that, although he has just arrived from Africa, he still knows little about the continent and that the more he learns, the more he realizes that he needs to learn (Manghezi 1999:27-98). His discretion is also evident in a letter to his mentor Herskovits:

I am trying hard to be as objective as possible. The more I speak about Africa the more I feel I need to study the issues involved, because although I am fresh from Africa, as I want to believe, there are many things that I am still not very clear about (EM to MH, 12 December 1952, M. Herskovits Papers, Northwestern University, Box 60, Folder 12.)

All the correspondence analyzed reveals that Mondlane knew very well how to move in American academic circles. He gained excellent grades, never missed classes, politely and enthusiastically accepted invitations to give talks on African reality, and had an excellent command of the English language42. Colin Darch, in comparing the vigorous and dramatic oratory of Samora Machel, the president of Frelimo who succeeded Mondlane after his assassination, states: "(Mondlane) constructs an argument for an audience presumably ignorant of Mozambican conditions; he neither requires nor expects participation from his listeners. But FRELIMO's eventual victory depended on garnering support as much among the international community as among the Mozambican masses, and Mondlane's moderate and reasonable voice was an effective instrument right from the beginning" (Darch 2011:45). Perhaps one can say that Samora Machel's style was functional for the leader of the armed struggle, whereas Mondlane's style fitted better the earlier stage of the struggle when it was pivotal to rally international support for the liberation struggle.

The correspondence also indicates that Mondlane spent his eleven happiest years in the United States, apart perhaps from his childhood, which he describes in his autobiography as relatively tranquil (Mondlane 1946): coming from countries ruled by repressive regimes such as Mozambique, South Africa and Portugal, in the United States he breathed the air of liberty (Shore 1999:104), he moved about freely, studied, married, raised children and, in his last years there, had comfortable homes where he liked to receive friends and colleagues. His social standing rose. The final years of his life from 1963 to 1969, about which I know very little, were certainly more intense, but also much harder because leading an armed struggle was emotionally tough and living conditions in Dar es Salaam were more difficult than in New York for him and his family.

During and after his period in the United States, Mondlane maintained a cordial relationship and even friendship with at least three renowned social scientists43 He continued to correspond with his former mentor Melville Herskovits until the latter's death in 196344. On December 11th 1952 Herskovits asked Mondlane for suggestions and recommendations of interesting people to meet, including members of his family in the rural area, as part of his preparations for a trip to Mozambique.45 Their correspondence is obviously more intense during his master's and doctoral studies, but continued even after Mondlane had moved to New York. Herskovits wrote a letter of recommendation on June 20th 1958 for a job at the University of Ghana46. In this correspondence the tone was always cordial47. For example, there are invitations for the Mondlanes to visits the Herskovits at home and vice-versa, as well as congratulations on the birth of Janet and Eduardo's children. It is worth stressing that while the two men shared a general interest in Africa, they differed quite considerably in terms of their interest in the so-called Africanisms: ample in Herskovits's case and, I would say, marginal for Mondlane. This cordial relation between researchers with different theoretical perspectives and political agendas shows how tolerant the two were, or at least how they knew how to keep things separate.

Mondlane also maintained a lengthy correspondence with Simpson from his time at Oberlin College until his death. Indeed Simpson wrote one of the most touching obituaries48. Simpson was Mondlane's mentor at Oberlin, presented him to Herskovits, provided a letter of recommendation to support Mondlane's application for a position on the Trusteeship Commission and was also very helpful in obtaining the position at Syracuse University.

His relationship with Marvin Harris was different in kind, less a disciple and more a colleague and later friend. Mondlane met Harris, when he finally managed to obtain a relatively established position in the American academic world. Their contact continued until Mondlane's death. Although I have not yet had access to all their correspondence, it is interesting to note that Mondlane sent Harris the manuscripts of his political-academic texts produced after he assumed the presidency of FRELIMO. In a letter to Harris – undated but presumably from 1965 – sent on paper printed with the FRELIMO letterhead, Mondlane wrote a short message in English that gives an idea of how close he and Harris were: "Dear Marvin, apologies, just back from a long trip abroad, this is why I could not answer with the due speed. We are doing good. Letter follows. Cordially, Eduardo"49. A closer study of this correspondence, which was undoubtedly also based on Harris's research experience in Lourenço Marques in the mid 1950's, will certainly help to shed light on how much these contacts with researchers continued to be important in the final years of Mondlane's life.

In the correspondence between Harris and Mondlane, kindly made available to me by the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Archive, it becomes clear that immediately after his period at Syracuse University, and prior to the move to Tanzania at the end of 1962, Brazil was on the verge of acquiring a key role in the training of young Mozambicans. Brazil at that time, as we have seen earlier, had already stirred Mondlane's curiosity from the viewpoint of research on race relations; it also signaled a new geopolitical alignment, less dependent on the North, and had become famous for novel approaches in the field of education through the work of leading international figures such as Paulo Freire and Darcy Ribeiro. This new centrality of Brazil owed a lot to the effort of its president Janio Quadros to move the country in the direction of the non-aligned block. The military coup d'état of 1964, in fact, was also meant to curb such change and bring Brazil back in line, to the backyard of the US. Anyway, in those years Brazil was a country one heard a lot of while working at the United Nations. I imagine that it must have been such facts, plus the assessment that democratic Brazil was a good alternative to authoritarian Portugal for those who wanted to study in a Portuguese-speaking country, that persuaded Mondlane to approach the Brazilian Embassy in Washington about the possibility of granting study awards to a first group of five young scholars from the Mozambique Institute in Dar Es Salaam. Baffled by the Embassy's declaration that Brazil did not accept students from Portuguese Africa, Mondlane asked for help from Harris, who was known to have good contacts in Brazil. In a letter dated October 5th 196250, Harris wrote to his friend Darcy Ribeiro, at the time Minister of Education and founder of the University of Brasilia, who found the proposal interesting and asked his wife Berta, also a friend of Harris, to reply positively. In reply to Mondlane, on November 21st 1962.51 Harris writes that Berta had recommended Agostinho da Silva, a radically anti-Salazarist Portuguese scholar, in exile in Brazil, the creative force behind the foundation in 1959 of the CEAO (Centro de Estudos Afro-Orientais) at the Federal University of Bahia, stating that da Silva was very interested in training African students. Their latter correspondence makes no further mention of this project, probably aborted as a consequence of the military coup in 1964, which interrupted the 'presumptions' of many Brazilian progressives wishing to establish a new South-South orientation in Brazil's international policies – even to the point of considering its transformation into a member of the block of non-aligned countries52.

In later years, from 1965 to 1967, Harris and Mondlane exchanged letters on the Mozambique Institute, with which Harris collaborated at a distance, helping to raise funding and support in the USA, but also on publications. In a letter from May 23rd 1967 (M. Harris Papers, Box 1, Off Campus) Mondlane asked Harris to intercede to help a young female researcher from Eastern Africa to obtain a job in the United States. Throughout this correspondence Mondlane continues to show great interest in the new trends in the social sciences (apparently he keeps on reading a lot also in Dar Es Salaam), as well as expressing his conviction concerning the importance of academic training for the new African leaders and government officials.

Before concluding I wish to underline how my research on Mondlane and the social sciences revealed a series of actors, foundations and agencies, especially American, that – unsurprisingly – were operating in Brazil and the rest of Latin America and in Africa simultaneously. Ultimately this amounted to a galaxy, rather than a network, composed of diverse contacts who Mondlane met in Chicago (Herskovits and L. Dow Turner) or at the United Nations (Ralph Bunche), or who were present at his lectures and influenced his approach to his research in the USA (E. F. Frazier)53. Sometimes these were contacts made in the United States, as with the Kennedy administration, the Ford Foundation and engaged researchers like Marvin Harris –Mondlane would meet both Robert Kennedy and Marvin Harris again later as president of FRELIMO54. This flow of contacts provides further evidence that the fields of African and African-American studies frequently shared the same protagonists, funding sources and research agendas, at least until the mid-1960s – the period that corresponds both to the consolidation of area studies in the US and, of course, to the independence of all African countries with the exception of the Portuguese colonies.


Conclusion: A nationalist and a citizen of the world55

The first conclusion is methodological in kind. A more in-depth exploration is needed, among a variety of archives, of a series of entities and actors who created the field of the social sciences in Africa during the period of decolonization. In many cases these actors and entities were also active in Brazil and in the rest of Latin America: the Ford Foundation, the Kennedys, the CIA. This was when a series of South-South diplomatic projects began to take shape, including in Brazil, but also when the Cold War became more intense. In terms of research, it could be said that now is the time to synthesize, compile and compare data from archives and sources that until very recently have had little or no dialogue between themselves (Dávila 2010).

The second conclusion, more to the point of this article, is that Mondlane's case demonstrates how nationalist, socialist or pan-Africanist activism (and Mondlane combined all three) tends to demand or produce biographic narratives that may be in partial conflict with the effectively transnational or cosmopolitan trajectory of the leader in question. On his return to Mozambique in 1961, for instance, Mondlane wrote a short autobiographical note that, at least in its published version (FRELIMO 1972), omits the entire period covered by his academic training (1948-1961), jumping from his childhood memories to the day of his return to the homeland in 1961. Something similar can be perceived in his book The Struggle for Mozambique, which was put together posthumously from other writings, for Penguin Books, by other cadres: the few autobiographical references seem to focus more on childhood than his mature years, the former always mentioned in nostalgic terms. The same applies to the autobiographical reconstruction of Nelson Mandela in his famous book No Easy Walk to Freedom (1965): more weight seems to be given to the childhood years when they were closer to their parents, clans and villages – to natural or primary socialization, we could say, when their first name was still African, and Nelson and Eduardo were still called Rolihlahla and Chitlango or Chivambo, respectively – than the teen years and their intellectual training – the years of secondary socialization56. In spite of this tendency of overemphasizing locality and 'roots', as stated at the beginning of this text, activism, and even more so Pan-African activism, because it is inherently transnational, seems to develop within a constant tension between performing the rituals of (belonging to) the homeland and the necessity of a cosmopolitan lifestyle – with its own social skills, codes, networks and transit of ideas. As the anthropologists' pun goes, these are biographies that need to study not only the roots, but also the routes.

The third conclusion concerns the personality of Eduardo Mondlane, who in some ways had a trajectory similar to Kenyatta and Nkrumah57, who also studied in England and the United States respectively, were initially supported by Protestant missions, trained in social sciences, and had more or less long-term relationships with non-black women. However their training abroad came twenty years before Mondlane, prior to the Second World War and the democratization of the social sciences enabled by the G.I. Bill58. Another important difference is that Mondlane seemed to be opposed both to the mainstream of Du Boisian pan-Africanism, which posited the existence of a black soul as a great national and international differentiating factor59, and to international communism's view of the position of black people in the USA as an oppressed nationality without the right to self-determination – effectively a case of internal colonialism in which the American black was opposed in principle to the foundations of American society (Wilson 1958). Another difference is that Mondlane did not have the chance, which everything suggests that he would have preferred, to pursue a relatively peaceful transition to independence nor the opportunity to see his country free60. Mondlane seems to have been a progressive who was obliged to lead an armed struggle for liberation when all other options had been exhausted. Doubtless he did not have time to do what he wanted: to work for the development of Mozambique and its intellectual elite without having to adopt bombastic politics and rhetoric. He could have been a hero of the center (Enzensberger 2006)61, but history determined otherwise.



Questionnaire for the master's research








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Received June 4, 2013
Approved August 8, 2013



1 For the help received in terms of suggestions, as well as copies of documents and texts not available in Brazilian libraries, I wish to thank Omar Thomaz (Unicamp), Luca Bussotti (U. of Lisbon), Teresa Cruz e Silva (U. E. Mondlane), David Brookshaw (M. Helville Library, Northwestern University), Kevin Yelvington (U. of South Florida), Lorenzo Macagno (UFPR), Dmitri van der Berselaar (U. of Liverpool), Peter Pels (U. van Leiden), William Minter (Africa Focus), Marta Jardim (Unicamp), Severino Ngoenha (U. E. Mondlane),Valdemir Zamparoni (UFBA), Clara Carvalho and the librarians of the Centro de Estudos Africanos in Lisbon. Wilson Trajano (UNB) and Claudio Furtado (UFBA) deserve a special acknowledgement for their careful revision of the text and valuable suggestions. Special thanks also go to the many members of the H-LUSO electronic network who quickly and generously offered suggestions and passed on copies of more inaccessible documents. I am also indebted to the anonymous reviewers for the very valuables suggestions and remarks.
2 It could be argued that, beyond the colonial situation properly speaking, diverse subaltern groups, each with its own spokespeople and intellectuals, had a similar relation of mutual benefit with the social sciences and above all anthropology – groups including Afro-Americans and, more recently, indigenous peoples in the Americas.
3 Without wishing in any form to downplay the importance of a series of works in this area, cited in the bibliography of the present article, I venture to say that there is still no exhaustive biography of Eduardo Mondlane on the same scale as the biographies of other nationalist African leaders. A quick search on the site reveals a series of biographies on Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah, as well as books on their work (with a total of 850 entries for the former and 1,850 for the latter). On the same site Mondlane's life has attracted much less interest from researchers publishing in English with just 183 entries, many of which refer to publications by the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane – ironic if we take into account that Mondlane left many writings in English and was later in his life accused of 'excessive' friendships with the Anglo-Saxon intellectual world. Recently a compilation of available texts was published by Wikipedia in printable format (Russell & Cohn eds. 2012), but it does not amount to a biography.
4 Seventeen years younger than Eduardo, Janet, who obtained a master's degree in anthropology at Boston College, where there was and still is an important African studies program, would become not only a wife and mother of three children, but, especially from 1964 onwards, a close collaborator with Mondlane, responsible among other things for managing and raising funds for the Mozambique Institute in Dar Es Salaam (Mondlane Janet Rae 2007, Duarte 2011, Manghezi 1999).
5 As Lorenzo Macagno (2012) illustrates in detail, Mondlane was not the first Mozambican to obtain a Ph.D. in social sciences. Kumba Simango had obtained a doctorate under Franz Boas in the 1920s and was also assisted by the Methodist Church network and support, but does not seem to have returned to Mozambique and his trajectory is primarily interesting in terms of gaining a better understanding of the complex history of the subject-object relation in anthropological practice.
6 In his PhD thesis Samuel (2005) deals more in general with Mondlane's political thinking that he defines as 'liberal' – of course in Portuguese this words as a less progressive connotation than in English.
7 For a painstaking analysis of these two auto-biographical essays, as well as for a comparison between them and the two biographies of Samora Machel, see the excellent work by Matsinhe (1997 and 2001).
8 Reprinted with a brilliant introduction by Colin Darch as "Eduardo Mondlane – Dissent on Mozambique" in the African Yearbook of Rhetoric 2, 3, 2011, ISSN 2220-2188, pp. 45 – 59. I thank the anonymous reviewer of my text for having indicated this source.
9 Marvin Harris-Eduardo Mondlane Correspondence, M. Harris Papers, National Anthropological Archive.
10 Those written to serve the national projects of both governments and opposition forces.
11 See, among others, the following biographical essays, all of them dealing with the tension between pan-Africanism and cosmopolitanism: Tomás 2008, Berman & Lonsdale 1998, Gikandi 2000, Araújo 2008.
12 The continuation of Mondlane's academic activity, especially his editorial work, from Dar Es Salaam onwards will not be explored in this text.
13 Here is what Afonso Ferraz de Freitas, a fist level administrator, had t say about Marvin Harris' behaviour in Mozabique: "Professor Marvin Harris spent around a year, accompanied by his wife, in the districts of Lourenço Marques and Gaza, in 1956/1957, to conduct anthropological studies on higher recommendation. I knew him personally and at the time of the Presidential visit he came to congratulate me for the enthusiasm and order of the natives during the different manifestations. He invited me more than once to have lunch with him but I never accepted his invitations. As he was inciting some natives to refuse assimilation, the idea was raised to ask him to abandon the Province but the American General Consulate anticipated this plan and ceased to pay him his monthly allowance, forcing him to leave. At the General Assembly of the United Nations last year, via the American Committee on Africa, he launched a vehement attack on Portugal, widely distributing leaflets and pamphlets to the different delegations. I have in my possession one of these pamphlets, offered by the Australian delegation. It seems that he subsequently wrote a book that, last month, was cited several times by the head of the Indian delegation, Krisna Menon, at the United Nations General Assembly", Torre do Tombo National Archive (Lissbon), Mozambique Information Coordination and Centralization Services, Documentation Center, Information processes on subversive organisms (20), ACOA (71), pp. 54-57, SCCIM, [Information], Lourenço Marques, 4 Nov. 1959. My thanks to Fábio Baqueiro for providing me with a copy of the PIDE document in question.
14 It is curious that this doctoral thesis is mentioned neither in Shore's text (1999) nor in the Mondlane bibliography compiled by Sopa (1999) in an appendix to a special issue of the journal Estudos Moçambicanos dedicated to Mondlane. The Centro de Estudos Africanos of the Mondlane University acquired a reprinted copy of the thesis from University Microfilm in the early 1980's. I thank one of the unknown reviewers for this piece of information.
15 Some of the correspondence concerns the voyages made by Melville and Frances Herskovits, and later Marvin Harris, to Mozambique. These researchers, along with Charles Wagley at a later date, had received invitations from Portuguese authorities and academics to visit Mozambique as part of a plan to show the advances made in the government of the colony/province. As can be conferred in the article by Macagno (2012) as well as the correspondence, especially of Marvin Harris and Charles Wagley, but also of Herskovits, the plan backfired. These authors became staunch critics of Portuguese colonialism.
16 Unfortunately most of the correspondence with Mondlane forms part of the archive under embargo until 2081.
17 This topic had attracted the attention of many (prestigious) foreign researchers from the 1930s to the 1950s: Gunnar Myrdal, for example, who in 1939, precisely because he was a foreigner, was invited by the Carnegie Foundation to direct the major research project that would result in the classic work An American Dilemma, as well as Oracy Nogueira, who conducted research from 1947 to 1952 on prejudice, precisely in Chicago too. Although I have no evidence to the effect, and Oracy studied sociology under Donald Pierson, it is very likely that Oracy and Mondlane had met in the city, perhaps through Herskovits himself who maintained contacts with Brazilian researchers visiting the USA or who had completed doctorates in the country.
18 The present work represents another offshoot of my 'traditional' interest in racial thought and the international circulation of ideas concerning both racism and anti-racism. Without any claim to being exhaustive, the text seeks to complement other recent descriptions of the period during which Mondlane lived in the United States (Cossa 2009, de Jesus 2010), focusing on his academic production.
19 On the political context in the USA during the 1950s and the impact of this context on the period spent by the Mondlane in Chicago and later New York, see the excellent essay by Minter (forthcoming).
20 In his speech to the UN in 1962 Mondlane complaints that in that period in Maputo he was closely watched by the political police and that the Director of Civil Administration in Mozambique summoned him to warn him personally against nationalistic activities.
21 According to Kevin Yelvington, a bust of Mondlane exists at this university, an important Black College: a student organization at Oberlin College, CLAWS (Coalition Against Apartheid and White Supremacy), was at the forefront of the campaign to ensure a permanent memorial to Eduardo. On May 23rd 1998, on the occasion of the 45th reunion of his class of 1953, a commemorative sculpture and a plaque were unveiled in his honor in Peter's Hall, Oberlin College. Consulted on 2-10-2012.
22 An African-American anthropologist, supervised by Melville Herskovits during her doctorate and at the moment of writing director of the National Museum of African Art of the Smithsonian Institute.
23 The activism and brilliance of Ralph Bunche, who played a key role in the United Nations' intervention in the Congo under the direction of Dag Hammarskjöld, contributed – especially during the years of the JFK presidency when Robert Kennedy was Attorney General – to generating the idea among African leaders of a third way outside the Cold War blocks. The interesting biography of Bunche by Charles Henry (1999) mentions the fact that Patrice Lumumba himself believed in this third way for a time. It is a shame that this detailed biography make no reference to Mondlane, with whom Bunche mist have worked closely in the Trusteeship Council, though many other African leaders appear in the work.
24 Manghezi (1999:98), based on interviews with Janet Rae Mondlane, observes that the fact that Northwestern University had been founded as a Methodist institution must have made obtaining the master's scholarship easier, observing too that Herskovits himself had sent the application.
25 It was during this phase that Eduardo and Janet had fairly close contacts with Adriano Moreira, Overseas Minister at the time. As is well-known, in the response to the hardening of Salazar's regime, Moreira would soon resign his post and this phase of relative political opening would come to an end.
26 Based on the correspondence with former colleagues of Mondlane, Cossa argues that some contemporary academic staff at Syracuse University were proud to belong to the only American university that had employed an African revolutionary leader on its teaching staff.
27 Concerning the Eduardo Mondlane Memorial Lecture Series, I discovered the following on the wiki page on the Department of African-American Studies at Syracuse University:
The [Eduardo Mondlane Memorial Lecture Series] was named after the founder of Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), Eduardo Mondlane, who was also a former professor at Syracuse University. In recent years, it has become more important in keeping a focus on topical issue on Africa in academia. The lecture series was originally administered by the East African Studies Program at Syracuse University that is now dissolved. For several years, this interactive series has brought scholars, students, and the community together to discuss pertinent issues concerning Africa to the university. It is during one of these lecture series on February 20, 1970, that Guinea-Bissau nationalist Amílcar Cabral delivered his famous speech "National Liberation and Culture" at Syracuse University.
Source :–_Syracuse_University
28 Mondlane goes on to state the most important concept in the work will be that of social attitude, first proposed by George Herbert Mead in 1950.
29 It might be considered that this belief was integral to the behavior of the majority of African students in Chicago at the time, almost all of them men, who, creating a certain frisson in the black community, preferred to look for white partners rather than African-American women – this is a comment that I heard personally in Chicago from African-American colleagues from Northwestern University and the DuSable Museum in 2009 and 2011.
30 In this case Mondlane's approach resembles the (oftentimes highly polemical) ideas of sociologist E. Franklin Frazier, for whom African-Americans had not much to contribute to the emancipation of Africa, because they had developed identities and aquired skills that can be useful for the US context, but do not match the needs of Africa in the process of decolonization. Frazier outed his tough opinions in his contribution to the special issue of the journal Presénce Africaine devoted to black America's contributionto today's Africa, which was later republished in bookformat (Davis ed. 1958). The issue had intended to be a celebration of international Pan-African solidarity. Frazier's acid comments where so much at odds with all the other contributors, among others Du Bois and Lorenzo Turner, that irritated the editor of the journal Alioune Diopp.
31 Was he thinking of, among other countries, Brazil?
32 Later in his career, at Syracuse University from 1961 to 1963, Mondlane would collaborate with Stouffer, a renowned researcher.
33 Associate Social Affairs Officer, Trusteeship Department, United Nations, New York, 1957 to 1961.
34 Instructor at the Department of Sociology, Roosevelt University, Chicago 1954-55; lecturer in African Studies at Garrett Theological School 1955-56; lecturer in African Affairs at New York University 1959-60; Associate on the African Seminar at Columbia University 1958-60.
35 Oberlin College Archives, George Eaton Simpson Papers, Folder E. Mondlane, Box 2.
36 See the defamatory pamphlet "A Profile of Dr. Eduardo Mondlane," published in English, included in the appendices to Duarte de Jesus 2010 (pages 498-506). According to the latter, the libel was published by Udenamo. In fact, most certainly, it was published by the Secret Committee for the Reorganization of Udenamo, which was made up of Frelimo dissidents and split off very early. The original UDENAMO, which was supported by Nkrumah in Ghana, was the most radical of the constituent movements that founded Frelimo.
37 Some time at the start of the 1960s, Alioune Diop, editor of the journal Presénce Africaine, contacted Mondlane to ask for a contribution from him. As far as I know, there are at least two articles by Mondlane in this journal (Mondlane 1963 and 1965). Nonetheless it is worth highlighting that the book edited by Valentin Mudimbe (1992) on the history of this journal from 1947 to 1987 does not contain a single reference to Mondlane, although Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Nyerere and to a lesser extent Amilcar Cabral were given multiple entries in the index. This fact can be linked to the preeminence of Anglophone and Francophone authors, but also to the fact that Mondlane never invested all his energy in this transnational network.
38 On this point he reminds me of when Franz Fanon, in Black Skin, White Masks, declares that he simply preferred to study in Grenoble, where he was the only black student on the course, than in Paris, where there were many more black students: his objective was to get to know white society from up close, not to socialize with other young black scholars.
39 Mondlane is another intellectual who shows us that language is a means and not an end, and that during someone's life one language may be determinant in the first phase (Shangana) to be replaced later in terms of its centrality by another language (English) and then by another (Portuguese). After all, as Borges Graça reminds us (2000: 262), Mondlane's life was as short as it was varied and he wished to have at least three professions in sequence: Evangelical educator, university teacher and nationalist leader. His trajectory also shows, however, that the fight for national liberation contains as perhaps in the political struggle in general, a politics of language in which there are moments where one language (or lexicon or accent) functions better than another.
40 Here Nadja Manghezi's opinion is more direct and harsh than my own: "Perhaps the strangest and most admirable aspect of Eduardo's character was his ability to go beyond his Africanism. He had absolutely nothing to do with negritude, and therefore felt no need to hoist a flag to his African ancestors. Without denying his African roots, he had from an early age identified with the human race more than the black race" (1999:332).
41 One of the few times that an application by Mondlane was unsuccessful. The person appointed to this position was well-known to him: the black American intellectual Saint Claire-Drake, a professor at Roosevelt University and also a friend of Herskovits. Still, Mondlane was eager to work at an African university and got hugely disappointed when failed to obtain the position or receive any explanation.
42 In one of the several letters of recommendation written by Herskovits for Mondlane, he is defined as a 'linguist' with an excellent knowledge of – aside from 'his languages' of Xangana and Portuguese – French, English, Afrikaans and Zulu (MH to Maxwell, M. Herskovits Papers, Northwestern University, Box 79, Folder 21). José Cossa (2011) goes as far as to argue that Mondlane, at least during his long period of stay in the United States, expressed himself more eloquently in English than in Portuguese. According to Janet, Mondlane himself recognized that during the 1950s he felt more comfortable writing in English than in Portuguese (Manghezi 1999: 109).
43 On the correspondence with the Reverend Clerc, based in Switzerland, who was his tutor and close friend, see Cruz e Silva 1991.
44 Borges Graça (2000:280) shows that who in fact supervised the dissertation and the thesis was the social psychologist Raymond Mack and that Mondlane's preference was for social psychology. Based on a personal interview with Mack, the author adds that Mondlane never worked closely with Herskovits. This information diverges both from my reading of the relation between the two and the recollections of Herskovits's daughter, Jean, with whom I have been in contact for years.
45 MH to EM, 12 December 1952, M. Herskovits Papers, Northwestern University, Box 60, Folder 12.
46 MH to Maxwell, M. Herskovits Papers, Northwestern University, Box 79, Folder 21.
47 Concerning the Herskovits' visit to Mozambique and the general relationship between them and Janet and Eduardo, Jean Herskovits, daughter of Frances and Melville Herskovits and an Africanist researcher, told me the following in a personal communication (January 16th 2013): "Of course my father and mother knew Eduardo Mondlane, as, indeed, did I. My father first met him when he was an undergraduate at Oberlin, and as you must know, he came, with Janet, to Evanston, to do graduate work at Northwestern. And yes, my parents were in Mozambique, as was I, with them, in June or early July of 1953. This trip was because of the Program of African Studies at Northwestern which, as you know, my father started. My parents had started the long trip in Dakar in January and worked their way through West Africa and south through the western Congo and Angola. I joined them once my classes were over in June, in South Africa, and after several weeks there, we continued to Mozambique, where we did meet people via Eduardo, and then on through the Rhodesias, eastern Congo, Ruanda-Urundi, Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, returning to the US in early September. The notes of that trip are at the Schomburg. I last saw Eduardo soon after I had moved to New York, when he came by to see me about a month before his tragic death".
48 The obituaries of great leaders, especially in a context dictated by the Cold War, tended to celebrate their political leadership rather than their qualities as intellectuals or their kindness. The case of Eduardo Mondlane was no exception. Only the reports in the newsletters published by those universities frequented by Mondlane made any reference to his studies, for obvious reasons.
49 Marvin Harris Papers, Correspondence with E. Mondlane.
50 M. Harris Papers Box 1, Off Campus
51 M. Harris Papers, Box 1, Off Campus
52 In depth research of this episode in the CEAO archive may help shed light on what actually happened.
53 Some of the actors from the transnational network that contributed to the creation and later the consolidation or financing of African-American and African studies from the USA spent periods in Brazil, in particular Bahia, at three different moments: 1940-42 (Frazier, Turner and Herskovits), 1950-52 (Harris) and 1965 (Harris, the Ford Foundation and Robert Kennedy).
54 In 1965 Marvin Harris organized a meeting in Rio de Janeiro – by now under the military dictatorship – between US senator Robert Kennedy and Anisio Teixeira, one of the mentors of education and research in Brazil. At that time Robert Kennedy was working with Bunche's assistance in the Congo and in Africa more generally, but also in Brazil, trying to alleviate the impact of Portuguese colonialism and the military dictatorship as part of an attempt to redefine US policy towards the Third World.
55 In the obituary written by Professor Simpson as a resolution for the general assembly of the Faculty of Art and Sciences of Oberlin College, one day after his assassination on February 3rd 1969, Mondlane is described as: "Dedicated to the cause of freedom for his own country, he was in every sense a citizen of the world" (Oberlin College Archives, E. Simpson Papers, E. Mondlane Folder).
56 On the importance of this 'fully African' childhood before Chitlango became Eduardo for the narratives surrounding Mandela and Mondlane, see the thesis by Araújo (2008).
57 The former obtained a master's degree in anthropology at the London School of Economics in 1938, which was published in book format under the title Facing Mount Kenia with a preface by Malinowski himself. The latter obtained a master's degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania and began a doctorate at the London School of Economics in 1945.
58 The scholarship program for university education offered to all war veterans, which democratized and increased access to the study of the social sciences in the United States and the UK (Patterson 2001: 95).
59 In this sense too Mondlane mirrors the classicist approach of the sociologist E. Franklin Frazier, whose publications on the black family in the United States were read by Mondlane and cited by him during his research in Chicago and whose (polemical) classic Black Bourgeoisie is cited in his review of Hilda Kuper's book on Indians in South Africa (Mondlane 1961). It is not unlikely that Mondlane actually met E. Franklin Frazier, who was based at Howard University in Washington DC but travelled to Chicago regularly, at some point in the United States or during his visits to Paris – where Frazier spent relatively long spells of time during his periods of collaboration with UNESCO. This theoretical similarity with Frazier is curious if we consider that Mondlane was supervised at masters' and doctoral level by Herskovits, who was the spokesman for an approach inspired by the search for Africanisms in the New World. On the difference between the approaches of Frazier and Herskovits, see Sansone 2012.
60 Clearly a series of parallels can be traced between Mondlane and Amilcar Cabral, both in terms of perspectives, personal trajectory and the historical moment in which they acted, and in terms of humanism and even their moments of more radical choices (Tomás 2008). Boaventura Souza Santos (2011) signals this comparison, emphasizing the importance of figures like Aquino de Bragança, himself a master of humanism, in the creation of spaces and moments of dialogue between Mondlane and Cabral. However it is worth remembering that Cabral came from the creole population, while Mondlane came from the much more recent and proportionally smaller group of assimilated populations – so although both had a Portuguese forename, the former had a Portuguese surname and the latter an African surname.
61 My aim with this text, which is mostly based on documents obtained from US archives and secondary sources, has been to encourage a dialogue with the reconstructions of Eduardo Mondlane's biography based on documents from other places (in Mozambique, the Swiss Mission, etc.) as well as oral sources. The new communication technologies allow us to conceive the socio-historical reconstruction of the complex and multifaceted trajectories of someone like Mondlane as an exercise in crowdsharing and crowdsourcing – group sharing the analysis of documents through, for example, wiki resources, enabling more people to compose a (hyper)text simultaneously. This form of multiple views, perspectives and positionings may contribute to new readings of a document. Interesting experimental work in this direction is being conducted by the Digital Museum of African and Afro-Brazilian Memory – see and Sansone 2012ª.

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