Originally published in England in 1938 and expanded in 1969, this work remains the classic account of global Black resistance. This concise, accessible history of revolts by African peoples worldwide explores the wide range of methods used by Africans to resist oppression and the negative effects of imperialism and colonization as viewed in the 20th century. Written from a radical perspective with a substantial new introduction that contextualizes the work in the ferment of the times, A History of Pan-African Revolt is essential to understanding liberation movements in Africa and the diaspora and continues to reveal new insights, lessons, and visions to successive generations.
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.