“We Have Heard of the Great Assistance that You Render to Many Territories:” African United Nations Trusteeships and the International League of the Rights of Man (ILRM), 1948-1970


ACLS Fellowship Program




Through a comparative historical analysis of the ILRM’s engagement with anticolonial movements in the African U.N. Trusteeships, this project explores the relationship between universal human rights (as they were articulated and put into practice through the United Nations and its affiliated NGOs) and the politics of Africa’s decolonization. The study shows the ways in which African activists, particularly in the U.N. Trust territories, looked to organizations such as the ILRM to protect the freedoms of association and speech that enabled them to speak out against their European administrators. Grounded in the ILRM’s files, this work probes the connections between African nationalists’ and Western anti-imperialists’ activism as it unfolded in the U.N., the Trust Territories, and NGOs.