A History of Negro Revolt & A History of Pan-African Revolt

Latest Edition: Drum and Spear Press, Washington DC,1989

Throughout his life C.L.R. James was a key activist and writer on anti-colonnial struggles and the struggle for freedom in the New World. A History of Negro Revolt was first published by the Independent Labour Party in Britain in 1938. It was revised as A History of Pan-African Revolt in 1969. Innitially it formed a series of pamphlets rather than a book, one was published every month as part of the ‘Fact’ series of ‘sixpenny monographs’. It is divided into six chapters: ‘San Domingo’, ‘The Old United States’, ‘The Civil War’, ‘Revolts in Africa’, ‘Marcus Garvey’ and ‘Negro Movements in Recent Years’.”

“The only place where Negroes did not revolt is in the pages of capitalist historians,” James asserted against the leading historians who promoted virulently racist depictions of the peoples of Africa and the diaspora as passive savages to be “civilized” by colonialism. His history placed Black people at the center of struggles for their own future as opposed to passively waiting on the sidelines of history for enlightened white people to rescue them.

16 A History of Pan-African Revolt2James work provides us with a rich history of little known rebellion and as he later wrote in 1939 “The Negro’s revolutionary history is rich, inspiring, and unknown. Negroes revolted against the slave raiders in Africa; they revolted against the slave traders on the Atlantic passage. They revolted on the plantations. The docile Negro is a myth.”

During the thirties, with George Padmore and Jomo Kenyatta, C.L.R. James organized the International African Service Bureau for African independence and edited the movement’s journal. “International African Opinion”. Visiting the USA in 1938, C.L.R. James continued the struggle for African independence and for black freedom everywhere through his political writings and activities.

“C.L.R. James is probably the greatest chronicler of the Negro’s long standing international revolt against slavery and imperialistic control. The present revised work embraces the whole scope of revolts which have broken out in the Pan-African world since the time of the San Domingo Revolution. To the original manuscript which appeared in FACT, James has added the important events of the last two decades which continue to reshape the relation of black people to Imperialism.   I am glad that this volume of C.L.R. James’ studies of Black Rebellion is coming back into publication. I hope to see more of his work widely distributed and read.”
Martin Holloway, Centre for Black Education Washington DC October, 1969


A History of Pan-African Revolt is available here


The Pan-African Revolt: A History Within A History by Paul Buhle

They are still fighting by Jason Netek

C.L.R. James, A History of Pan-African Revolt (1939,1969) by Mathew Quest