A History of Pan-African Revolt

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History. African Studies. In the Introduction, Robin D. G. Kelly comments, A HISTORY OF PAN-AFRICAN REVOLT is one of those rare books that continues to strike a chord of urgency, even half a century after it was first published. Time and again, its lessons have proven to be valuable and relevant for understanding liberation movements in Africa and the diaspora. Each generation who has had the opportunity to read this small book finds new insights, new lessons, new vision for their own age....-- This new edition of James' classic, originally published in England in 1938, brings a work that previously enjoyed underground popularity to a much wider audience.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This short, perceptive book—part history, part social critique—was first published in 1938 and later expanded in 1969. James (The Black Jacobins), a Marxist scholar, anti-colonialist, and noted black nationalist, explores race relations and black revolutions starting as far back as the 1789 uprising in San Domingo (now Haiti). Subversive and widely considered ahead of its time, the book offers an exacting critique of both imperialism and the Communist International. Pan-African liberation, James argues, can only be realized through bottom up nationalism, never through allegiance with Western capitalism or the international proletariat. USC History professor Robin D.G. Kelley provides a helpful introduction, which places both James and his works within a global context, illustrating the evolution and importance of his ideas. The book's central message, as Kelley puts it, is that "as long as black people are denied freedom, humanity, and a decent standard of living, they will continue to revolt unless these revolts involve the ordinary masses and take place on their own terms, they have no hope of succeeding." History, as detailed by James, would back up this claim. More than an historical curiosity, James's work brims with transcendent ideas so adamant and clear they continue to read fresh today. (Mar)
From the Publisher
"Kudos for reissuing C. L. R. James's pioneering work on Black resistance. Many brilliant embryonic ideas articulated in A History of Pan-African Revolt twenty years later became the way to study Black social movements. Robin Kelley's introduction superbly situates James and his thought in the world of Pan-African and Marxist intellectuals."  —Sundiata Cha-Jua, associate professor in the Department of History, University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign

"A mine of ideas advancing far ahead of its time."  —Walter Rodney, historian, political activist, and author, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

"C. L. R. James has arguably had a greater influence on the underlying thinking of independence movements in the West Indies and Africa than any living man."  —Sunday Times

"When one looks back over the last twenty years to those men who were most far-sighted, who first began to tease out the muddle of ideology in our times, who were at the same time Marxists with a hard theoretical basis, and close students of society, humanists with a tremendous response to and understanding of human culture, Comrade James is one of the first one thinks of."  —E. P. Thompson, historian and author, The Making of the English Working Class

"More than an historical curiosity, James's work brims with transcendent ideas so adamant and clear they continue to read fresh today." —Publishers Weekly (March 31, 2013)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780850366600
  • Publisher: Merlin Press Limited, The
  • Publication date: 3/28/2012

Meet the Author

C. L. R. James was a major figure in Pan-Africanism and the author of a wide array of fiction and nonfiction, including Beyond a Boundary, The Black Jacobins, Every Cook Can Govern, The Invading Socialist Society, A Majestic Innings: Writings on Cricket, and The Nobbie Stories for Children and Adults. Robin D. G. Kelley is a professor of history and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is a coeditor of Black, Brown, & Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora and the author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination and Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, which received several honors, including Best Book on Jazz from the Jazz Journalists Association and the Ambassador Award for Book of Special Distinction from the English Speaking Union. It was also a finalist for a PEN USA Literary Award. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

Publisher's Foreword vii

Introduction 1

A History of Pan-African Revolt 35

San Domingo 37

The Old United States 51

The Civil War 55

Revolts in Africa 65

The Old Colonies 69

Religious Revolts in New Colonies 73

The Congo 77

The Union of South Africa 80

Marcus Garvey 87

Negro Movements in Recent Years 95

Epilogue 107

I Africa 109

Gold Coast to Ghana 109

The Myth of Mau Mau 113

Independence and After 115

II South Africa 118

III The United States 121

IV The Caribbean 123

V "Always Out of Africa" 127

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