black jacobin

The Civil Rights Movement’s Forgotten Radicals

The gains of the Civil Rights Movement won’t be expanded through constitutional law, but solidarity and militant struggle.

by Rob Hunter

Early in Seeing Red, a 1983 documentary about the Communist Party USA during the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, Sylvia Woods, a retired black autoworker, is asked whether she was worried about becoming a member of an organization that explicitly challenged the country’s ruling institutions. She responds that she joined without fear, “because I was suffering from … discrimination — and the humiliation of discrimination.”

Like others interviewed in the film, Woods saw the radical left as the only political formation committed both to the full political and economic empowerment of individual Americans, and to challenging the institutions and power structures that disempowered them. Woods’s choice was clear: humiliation under a racist power structure, or dignity within the solidarity of a socialist movement.

Organized socialists were among the few political groups, North orSouth, who opposed segregation and Jim Crow in the decades preceding the Civil Rights Movement.



The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938), by Afro-Trinidadian writer C. L. R. James (4 January 1901–19 May 1989), is a history of the 1791–1804 Haitian Revolution.

The text places the revolution in the context of the French Revolution, and focuses on the leadership of Toussaint L'Ouverture, who was born a slave but rose to prominence espousing the French Revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality.

These ideals, which many French revolutionaries did not maintain consistently with regard to the black humanity of their colonial possessions, were embraced, according to James, with a greater purity by the persecuted blacks of Haiti; such ideals “meant far more to them than to any Frenchman.”

Confronting Black Jacobins: The U.S., the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic

The Haitian Revolution, the product of the first successful slave revolt, was truly world-historic in its impact. When Haiti declared independence in 1804, the leading powers—France, Great Britain, and Spain—suffered an ignominious defeat and the New World was remade. The island revolution also had a profound impact on Haiti’s mainland neighbor, the United States. Inspiring the enslaved and partisans of emancipation while striking terror throughout the Southern slaveocracy, it propelled the fledgling nation one step closer to civil war.

Gerald Horne’s path breaking new work explores the complex and often fraught relationship between the United States and the island of Hispaniola. Giving particular attention to the responses of African Americans, Horne surveys the reaction in the United States to the revolutionary process in the nation that became Haiti, the splitting of the island in 1844, which led to the formation of the Dominican Republic, and the failed attempt by the United States to annex both in the 1870s.

Drawing upon a rich collection of archival and other primary source materials, Horne deftly weaves together a disparate array of voices—world leaders and diplomats, slaveholders, white abolitionists, and the freedom fighters he terms Black Jacobins. Horne at once illuminates the tangled conflicts of the colonial powers, the commercial interests and imperial ambitions of U.S. elites, and the brutality and tenacity of the American slaveholding class, while never losing sight of the freedom struggles of Africans both on the island and on the mainland, which sought the fulfillment of the emancipatory promise of 18th century republicanism.

Source and video interview with author:-

community building for black radicals

we needed to get to create real, meaningful relationships with each other yesterday. with that being said, let’s use this post as a starting point for organizing communities of knowledge, love, and self-reliance so that we can truly begin working toward liberation through taking the steps necessary for our independence.

i fundamentally believe that the pathways towards independence and liberation have been illuminated by our intellectual ancestors. this being said, i respectfully recommend that any organizational work you pursue starts as an effort to search for the truth about our collective past, particularly when it comes to the work that has been done by black radicals to extricate our communities from the forces that incessantly oppress us.

in short, i recommend that you read these books:

Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition - Cedric J. Robinson

Black Reconstruction - W.E.B. DuBois

Black Jacobins - C.L.R. James

Native Son - Richard Wright

Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas - Richard Price

Africana Critical Theory: Reconstructing The Black Radical Tradition, From W. E. B. Du Bois and C. L. R. James to Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral

The Wretched of the Earth - Frantz Fanon

Return to the Source: Selected Speeches - Amilcar Cabral

Assata: An Autobiography - Assata Shakur

Maybe my recommendations are pertinent to your vision, maybe they aren’t. Regardless, I hope whatever you create is truly designed to oppose capitalism and our suicidal dependence upon it. 

Please, reblog this (this is important but remember that no revolutionary shit happens on tumblr, use this as a starting point to recruit from your real communities in real life).

If you don’t see your city or a city within your reach, be the organizer/contact for your area. Communicate that by reblogging and putting your city and a link to your inbox like this:

Chicago: palmares-politics

Summer Reading List

Now with even queerer texts and a handy online checklist.

  • Americanah - Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie
  • The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende
  • Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others - Sara Ahmed 
  • The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética - Maya Chinchilla 
  • Discourse and Power - Teun Van Dijk
  • Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy - Lisa Duggan 
  • Como agua para chocolate - Laura Esquivel
  • Malinche (English) - Laura Esquivel 
  • Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader ed. Michael Hames-García and Ernesto Javier Martínez.
  • The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo RevolutionC.L.R. James 
  • State Repression and the Labours of Memory (Contradictions of Modernity) - Elizabeth Jelin 
  • Varieties of Spanish in the United StatesJohn Lipski
  • Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History by Heather Love
  • Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings - ed. Eithne Luibhéid and Lionel Cantú Jr.
  • Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala – Cecilia Cecilia Menjívar
  • Redefining Realness - Janet Mock
  • This Bridge Called My Back: Writing by Radical Women of Color - ed. Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa 
  • Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia - Rigoberta Menchú, ed. Elizabeth Burgos 
  • Disidentificati​ons: Queers Of Color And The Performance Of Politics (Cultural Studies of the Americas) - José Esteban Muñoz
  • Clybourne ParkBruce Norris 
  • Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalis​m in Queer Times (Next Wave: New Directions in Women’s Studies) - Jasbir Puar 
  • El beso de la mujer araña -  Manuel Puig.
  • From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction – ed. Charles Rice-González and Charlie Vázquez.
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of PilgrimageHaruki Murakami
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity Julia Serano
  • The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the AmericasDiana Taylor
  • Negotiating Performance : Gender, Sexuality, and Theatricality in Latin/o America – ed. Diana Taylor and Juan Villegas


Yo, @sasha-art​, you know how I’m always talking to you about digging? Here’s a story about how a random image on the cover of an old book put me onto an amazing artist. 

So I’ve always been taken by the cover to the second edition of C. L. R. James’ Black Jacobins (The first image above), though I’ve never had this copy. The comparison to Jacob Lawrence’s portrait of L’Ouverture are obvious as pointed out by this interesting survey of the many covers of the book.

(Jacob Lawrence’s General Toussaint l’Ouverture)

…but something about this cover was even MORE powerful to me. I looked online for the name of the designer but couldn’t find it, so I ordered a copy of the book, just so that I could find out who the designer was. (speaking of digging, looking into this edition actually is what caused me to stumble onto this Bomb article that I posted about last week).

So I just got the book today. I tear open the package flip the book around and read, “Cover design by Loren Eutemy”. So I set to googling  “Loren Eutemy”. No luck. But I keep digging and trying different combinations of image searches until finding a blog that has some design in it under the name “Loring Eutemey”. So had they misspelled his name? Was “Loren Eutemy” a pen name?

Either way, after finding that his real name, I was able to do a decent search on him and boy did this guy cook! I’ll let the design work above speak for itself. He obviously didn’t draw all the covers (maybe most notably that Richard Amsel Bette Midler cover) but the design is tight regardless. I wonder what he did draw. Who drew that Black Jacobins cover? Before long I stumbled onto his name in the New York Times Obituaries

EUTEMEY–Loring P., died on September 22nd in his apartment in Manhattan, at age 82, after a short illness. Son of Bert V. Eutemey and Lousie Hope Holmes Eutemy, brother of the late Edward Eutemey. Loring grew up at Revere Place in Brooklyn, and graduated from Samuel J. Tilden High School. After graduating from Cooper Union, where he trained as a graphic designer, he began his career at Push Pin Studios during its early days. Later he became a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, widely recognized for his distinctive album cover designs for Atlantic records. His two marriages ended in divorce. He was a military veteran, a collector of rare books, and an avid bicycler around New York. He will be greatly missed by his friends and neighbors.

Born in Brooklyn. He’d been here in the city with me all along, lol. I love this place. I wish I had gotten a chance to meet him. Did he draw the cover to The Black Jacobins? If I had discovered him just a few years sooner, I may have been able to ask him. Anybody else out there familiar with Loring P Eutemey’s work?

Where imperialists do not find disorder they create it deliberately
—  C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
Yet when the masses turn (as turn they will one day) and try to end the tyranny of centuries, not only the tyrants but all ‘civilisation’ holds up its hands in horror and clamours for ‘order’ to be restored. If a revolution carries high overhead expenses, most of them it inherits from the greed of reactionaries and the cowardice of the so-called moderates. Long before abolition the mischief had been done in the French colonies and it was not abolition but the refusal to abolish which had done it.
—  C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

will y’all please WAKE THE FUCK UP

i know white people have worked their hardest to deny us access to the truth about our people but god damn.

“one does not need education or encouragement to cherish a dream of freedom." C.L.R. James, Black Jacobins

do yall even want to be free?

do yall even know what freedom requires?

do yall even know about why Black Jacobins is such a fuckin important book?

as long as you are a citizen of a white country, you are complicit in the oppression of yourself and your people domestically and abroad. 


go wwoofing in the diaspora, go backpacking in the diaspora, go somewhere, get out.

"the price of freedom is death” - Malcolm X

kill your colonized self, be free.

all you cowards can stay here and get murked. 

New online exhibit on the French and Haitian revolutions

Ideas about freedom and natural rights had reverberations throughout the Atlantic world and gave way to what historians call the “Age of Revolution.” While they came to be synonymous with two vastly different movements, this was the particular context in which both the French and Haitian revolutions evolved. In his influential Black Jacobins, C. L. R. James argued the importance of studying both revolutions together. This is partly what The Newberry Library achieves with its new digital exposition entitled  “Revolutionary France and Haiti, 1787–1804.″ This exhibit highlights a few interesting documents and provides some context for the readers. Happy browsing!