The Republic of New Afrika (RNA), was a social movement organization that proposed three objectives. First, the creation of an independent Black-majority country situated in the southeastern region of the United States. The vision for this country was first promulgated on March 31, 1968, at a Black Government Conference held in Detroit, Michigan, United States. Proponents of this vision lay claim to five Southern states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina) and the Black-majority counties adjacent to this area in Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida. A similar claim is made for all the Black-majority counties and cities throughout the United States. Second, they demanded several billion dollars in reparations from the US government for the damages inflicted on Black people by chattel enslavement, Jim Crow segregation, and persistent modern-day forms of racism. Third, they demanded a referendum of all African Americans in order to decide what should be done with their citizenry. Regarding the latter, it was claimed that Black people were not given the choice to decide in regard to what they wanted to do after emancipation.
The Black Government Conference was convened by the Malcolm X Society and the Group on Advanced Leadership (GOAL), two influential Detroit-based organizations with broad followings. This weekend meeting produced a Declaration of Independence (signed by 100 conferees out of approximately 500), a constitution, and the framework for a provisional government. Robert F. Williams, a controversial human rights advocate then living in exile in China, was chosen as the first President of the provisional government; attorney Milton Henry was named First Vice President (a student of Malcolm X's teachings); and Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X, served as Second Vice President.
The Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PG-RNA) advocated/advocates a form of cooperative economics through the building of New Communities—named after the Ujamaa concept promoted by Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere; militant self-defense through the building of local People's Militias and an aboveground standing army called the Black Legion; and respect for international law through the building of organizations that champion the right of self-determination for people of African descent.
During its existence, the organization was involved in numerous controversial issues. For example, it attempted to assist Oceanhill-Brownsville in seceding from the United States during the conflict that took place there. Additionally, it was involved with shootouts at New Bethel Baptist Church in 1969 (during the one-year anniversary of the founding) and another in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1971 (where it had begun to start its occupation of the South on a single farm). Within both events, law-enforcement officials were killed as well as injured and harsh legal action was imposed against organizational members.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) believed the Republic of New Afrika to be a seditious group and conducted raids on its meetings, which led to violent confrontations, and the arrest and repeated imprisonment of RNA leaders noted above. The group was a target of the COINTELPRO operation by the federal authorities but was also subject to diverse Red Squad activities of Michigan State Police and Detroit Police Department—among other cities.