Black Radicalism in the United States

New York
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office and The Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Prof. Dr. Frank Jacob, City University of New York; Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office; The Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University
14.04.2018 - 15.04.2018
Prof. Dr. Frank Jacob

Black radicalism in the United States had many faces and followed many directions, yet always dealt with the important question of how the plight of African Americans in the US – the (former) slaves – could be changed for the better. Many of the ideas related to the question might have been utopian, but even more of them were radical, covering the broad meaning of the word. Dealing with black radicalism in the United States therefore does not only mean political radicalism or the question related to the nation, it also demands an analysis of religious or cultural forms of radical thoughts.

The aim of this two-day conference in New York City is to bring together scholars and activists alike, who deal with the history and the actual legacy of black radicalism in the United States. What have been the dreams, but also the fears of these radical movements, its African American supporters, but also its African American antagonists? What, to be more precise, were the hopes and dreams of black radicalism in the United States, and who were the supposedly or actually existing enemies of these dreams? Which means were perceived as legitimate to achieve the utopia black radicalism was possibly leading to?


SATURDAY, APRIL 14 - Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office

9:30am Welcome Notes

9:45-11:30am Panel 1 - Disputes and Dialectics
The Dialectics of Black Nationalism - Albert Scharenberg (RLS–NYC)
From Black Reconstruction to Black Liberation: The Radicalization of William Edward Burghardt DuBois, 1931-1961 - Charisse Burden-Stelly (Carleton College)
C.L.R. James and the Hidden Disputes within the Black Radical Tradition - Matthew Quest (Arkansas)
“Black Radical Knowledge Production in the Academy: Africana Existentialism v. Afropessimism” - LaRose T. Parris (LaGuardia Community College)

11:45-1:00pm Panel 2 - Thought Leaders of Black Radicalism
Gendering the Black Radical Tradition: Grace P. Campbell’s Role in the Formation of a Radical Feminist Tradition in African American Intellectual Culture - Lydia Lindsey (North Carolina Central University)
“My Kind of Communist”: Marxism, Nationalism, and Richard Wright’s Radical Imagination - Shana A. Russel (Rutgers University)
Claudia Jones: Recentering Communism on Black Women’s Issues - Gregory Bekhtari (Paris Nanterre University, France)

1:00-2:00pm Lunch Break

2:00-3:45pm Panel 3 - The “Black Belt” Nation
Early Black Socialists and Radical Internationalism in the United States, 1850-1919 - Charles Holm (University of Texas at Austin)
“Black Belt Nation”: Populism, Labor and The Growth of Radicalism within the African American Civil Rights Movement, 1870-1935 - Willie Mack (SNHU)
“The Communist International and the Fight Against Black Oppression in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s” - Jacob A. Zumoff (New Jersey City University)
Hosea Hudson and African American Communism in the “Black Belt” - Frank Jacob (Queensborough Community College)

4:00-5:15pm Panel 4 - Black Radicals, Socialism, and Communism
Marvel Cooke, Black Feminist Beacon of Conduct in the Depression Era - Laura Hapke (Pace University)
This City in Itself: Harlem’s Socialists and the Challenge to New Deal Liberalism - Robin Dearmon Muhammad (Ohio University)
“Reds, Rights, and Firing Lines”: The Southern Negro Youth Congress and the Anti-Communist Crusade 1936-1949 - David C. Rothmund (College of Charleston)

5:30-6:15pm Roundtable - Black Radicalism in Arts, Literature, and Press
Today’s role of Black Radicalism in arts, literature, and press.
The Racial Imaginary Institute: An Ivory Tower on the Front Line of Racial Struggle - Yulia Tikhonova (St. John’s University)
Harlem Renaissance as Dialectical Gambit of Black Radicalism - A. Shahid Stover (Brotherwise Dispatch)
The Printed Legacy of the Black Liberation Movement - Brad Duncan (University of Pennsylvania, AFSCME Local 590)
Fascination and Failure: Communist Ideas, the Black Nationalists Movement, and Jazz in 1960s and 1970s America - Rüdiger Ritter (TU Chemnitz, Germany)

6:15pm Dinner

6:45-7:15pm Worker Writers School
Poetry Presentations

SUNDAY, APRIL 15 - The Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

9:30-10:00am Interludium: Fifty Years after Martin Luther King Jr.
Religion and Black Radicalism - Michael Honey (University of Washington Tacoma) (TBC)

10:00-11:15am Panel 5 - The Legacy of the Black Panther Party
The Black Panther Party in Chicago - Ethan Young (Left Labor Project)
“To Build the World Anew: Black Anti-imperialism in the era of Black Power” - Robyn C. Spencer (Lehman College)
The Film Reviews of the Black Panther Party - Kazembe Balagun (RLS–NYC)

11:30-12:45pm Panel 6 - The International Dimensions of Black Radicalism
Black, Dutch & Radical: exploring the politics of black Dutch radicals - Mitch Esasjas (Black Archives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Making Differences Work and Fight: The Black Movement(s) in Germany - Folashade Ajayi and Tahir Della (Initiative Black People in Germany)
“Black Fire” – Conceptualizations of Black Liberation and engaged views of African and Black aesthetics in the USA and South Africa - Lena Dallywater (Graduate School “Global and Area Studies” at the
Research Academy Leipzig, Germany)

12:45pm Closing Remarks


Frank Jacob

History Department, CUNY-QCC
22205 56th Ave, Bayside, 11364 New York, USA

Black Radicalism in the United States, 14.04.2018 – 15.04.2018 New York, in: H-Soz-Kult, 14.02.2018, <>.
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