January 20 marked the 50th anniversary of Amilcar Cabral’s assassination by agents of Portuguese Colonialism. Our recording of Cabral during a 1972 African American conference in New York (which was transcribed and edited for a chapter in Cabral’s seminal text, Return to the Source) reveals a personable leader who used humor and simple language to articulate the basis for waging a struggle against Portuguese colonialism and imperialism. 

Cabral didn’t view the independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde in isolation, but as part of a larger anti-colonial struggle that reached beyond the country’s respective borders and even the African continent. This internationalist perspective was fundamental to the national liberation movements in the African Portuguese colonies, who understood the importance of being in ideological and strategic unity with one another in order to defeat the common enemy of Portuguese colonialism. They succeeded after forming the Conference of Nationalist Organizations of the Portuguese Colonies (CONCP). The PAIGC won independence for Guinea Bissau in 1973, followed by the FRELIMO in Mozambique and the MPLA in Angola in 1975.

A robust commitment to joint struggle and a global anti-imperialist movement made these victories possible. Of the CONCP formation, Agostinho Neto, President of MPLA at the time, said that “This union is just and necessary and these forms of cooperation in the struggle must be perfected, because our enemies also coordinate their efforts” (With Freedom in Their Eyes: A Photo Essay of Angola in the Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique Collection). Cabral’s assassination was part of a coordinated effort among imperialist forces to destroy successful and growing people’s movements. His assassination only further inspired people to victory in defeating Portuguese colonialism. From Cabral’s early work in the countryside as an Agronomist employed by the Portuguese, to his engagement with revolutionaries from other Portuguese colonies in Africa, Cabral learned the importance of internationalism and culture to revolutionary strategy. 

Check out some of our materials from these movements below, or take a look at our complete holdings in the Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique Collection – 

Full Text Links:


1. Amilcar Cabral, Assassinated January 20, 1973

2. Commemoration of the Fifth Anniversary of Amilcar Cabral

3. Sun of Our Freedom: The Independence of Guinea Bissau


1. Independence: The People’s Republic of Mozambique 

2. Aspects of the Mozambican Struggle, FRELIMO


1. Interview with Soares da Silva, Representative of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola