First Prime Minister of the Independent Republic of Congo. Lumumba was a fierce opponent of the Belgian colonial regime.
Born in 1925 to a farmer, Lumumba was educated by Roman Catholic missionaries. He showed much promise as a student and was strongly attracted by the ideas of the French Enlightement. After leaving school, he took a post with the administration which began his political career. Disturbed by the abuses his people suffered at the hands of European colonizers, Lumumba began writing speeches and poetry and did his utmost to unite and organize the Congolese working class. For his efforts he was jailed and released numerous times.
Later, he would organize the Congolese National Movement and called for independance. Mass demonstrations and strikes lead to a wave of solidarity from other countries. Despite Lumumba's arrest, the Movement grew and soon became a large and powerful political force. In 1960, he became Prime Minister and took a marked anti-imperialist line which included a non-aligned foreign policy.
Because of his radical political stance, Lumumba made many enemies. The Congo contained a wealth of natural resources and the Belgians were not pleased to be out of control. Western governments, guided by the CIA, carried out an imperialist plot. Almost as quickly as it began the dream of African unity died. Lumumba was captured, tortured and killed in January 1961. A CIA-approved dictator puppet was put in his place to "lead" the country.
"The only thing we wanted for our country was the right to a decent existence, to dignity without hypocrisy , to independence without restrictions... The day will come when history will have its say." --From his farewell letter to his wife