I suspect that the genius/tragic hero Elmo Baines was based on a real person, or maybe several. He and his ideas and thinking ring true. Conrad was a reporter, and a lot of this reads like journalism. This story could have happened.
It doesn’t quite break the speculative fiction barrier. The Republic doesn’t happen, making it more like Hank Lopez’s Afro-6, where black militants don’t succeed in their attempt to take over the island of Manhattan, than Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat By the Door, that ends in the creation of Black Nationalist nation, or George S. Schuyler’s Black Empire, in which Africa is taken back by blacks and Europe is crippled. But it still deserves a place as a proto-Afrofuturist classic.
There are flashes of the world Elmo Baines is trying to build. This is from a dream sequence: