The bourgeoisie in the United States appears to be giving a concession. They are saying, “Okay, fine, you go ahead and study African history and African culture,” and they will give you so much African history and culture [that] you just have time for nothing else. The object is to divorce the process of thought and reflection on our past from the process of changing the present so that you feel that you’ve gained something but you end up in some remarkable contradiction. What you will find is this (in fact it’s happening already): Rockefeller–who is making most of his money out of South African gold, out of the Rand, out of exploiting and participating in apartheid, the most vicious racial system in the world–that guy is going to finance a chair in African history. That’s the type of contradiction. So that if a black progressive thinks he’s doing something by going into African history, using up a Rockefeller grant, all he is doing is forgetting both the domestic and external implications of American capitalism and, in fact, supporting that system because the guys don’t mind if you go in a library or museum and lock yourself up all day. That’s wonderful; keep you off the street, keep you out of struggle. So we have to avoid that type of myth that cultural revival, per se, is going to carry us a long way. I don’t want to seem to be critical of the development of interest in African history and culture. Quite obviously not, that’s what I myself am involved in. What I am trying to suggest is that sometimes, while involved in a process, we ourselves have to be very careful to delimit how far that process should go. Let’s all wear afros, let’s put on African clothes. Fine. But that doesn’t mean we are not going to struggle. The system still has to be broken before we can express ourselves in any fundamental way.
— “African History in the Service of the Black Liberation”, Walter Rodney