Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Akinyele Umoja

Second Advisor

Dr. Makungu Akinyela

Third Advisor

Dr. Maurice Hobson


The evolution of African stateless societies and the diverse impact of their cultures, on political thought previous to and post-modernity, are not well understood. Scholars acknowledge the varied influence of precolonial African culture on the artistic, spiritual, and linguistic expressions of African-descended populations. However, observations regarding the impact of such acephalous societies on the political thought of the African Diaspora remain obscure. The organizational techniques of such societies are best described as a form of kinship-based anarchism. This study seeks to examine the persistence of such organizational techniques among African-descended populations in the United States. The political life and background of Ella Baker will be used as a historical case study to illustrate the possible strands of continuity that may exist between the organizational habitude of African acephalous societies, and modern African-American grassroots political structures.