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Tue, 07.23.1935

The International African Friends of Abyssinia is Formed

An International African Friends of Abyssinia gathering

*On this date in 1935, The International African Friends of Abyssinia (IAFA) was formed. Also known as the International African Friends of Ethiopia, it was established in London, England, to protest Italian aggression against Abyssinia.

Its membership comprised many important Pan-African figures, several of whom later formed the International African Service Bureau. C. L. R. James founded the IAFA with assistance from fellow West Indians Amy Ashwood Garvey and Chris Brathwaite. IAFA's first public meeting was at Memorial Hall in Farringdon Street, London.  George Padmore and Ras Makonnen joined IAFA soon after its founding.

Throughout the summer of 1935, the IAFA passed resolutions urging all Africans and people of African descent to help Abyssinia and called upon the League of Nations and the British Government to protect Abyssinia. In August, the IAFA organized a rally in Trafalgar Square, which drew a crowd of nearly five hundred supporters. The IAFA became the International African Service Bureau (IASB), which lasted till 1945 and published several pamphlets and monthly newspapers, beginning with the International African Opinion, which led to the banning of IASB publications by the colonial authorities. Padmore's books had also, of course, been banned.

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