In the old days, London and Paris were headquarters for the hot-eyed young African nationalists in search of learning, eager audiences and cash for the worthy cause back home. Today they still stop off in such European capitals long enough to present their independence demands to colonial ministers, but more often than not, they are headed westward to a new mecca of funds and sympathy: the U.S.

More than 1.700 African students are enrolled at American colleges and schools, and rare is the week that a black man with a name newly famous...

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