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Winston James

If there was no romance for me in London, there was plenty of radical knowledge. Claude McKay, 1937 Claude McKay’s sojourn in London marks one of the pivotal moments in his political and intellectual evolution. Yet it remains one of the most obscure, underexplored and poorly understood. This, no doubt, is partly due to McKay’s own misleading statements and silences about his time in Britain. But the ignoring and ignorance of valuable archival

in The Red and the Black
Editor:

Caribbean migration to Britain brought many new things—new music, new foods, new styles. It brought new ways of thinking too. This book explores the intellectual ideas that the West Indians brought with them to Britain. It shows that, for more than a century, West Indians living in Britain developed a dazzling intellectual critique of the codes of Imperial Britain. Chapters discuss the influence of, amongst others, C. L. R. James, Una Marson, George Lamming, Jean Rhys, Claude McKay and V. S. Naipaul. The contributors draw from many different disciplines to bring alive the thought and personalities of the figures they discuss, providing a picture of intellectual developments in Britain from which we can still learn much. The introduction argues that the recovery of this Caribbean past, on the home territory of Britain itself, reveals much about the prospects of multiracial Britain.

Contacts, translations, criticism and editorial policy
Olga Panova

Mutual attraction between the Soviet Union and Afro-America became apparent soon after the 1917 October revolution. For the African-American left, Soviet Russia seemed to be a ‘promised land’ for national and ethnic minorities and a complete contrast to the United States with its system of segregation and discrimination. 1 As Claude McKay put it, ‘the Russian workers, who have won through the ordeal of persecution and revolution, extend the hand of international brotherhood to all the suppressed

in The Red and the Black
Claude McKay’s experience and analysis of Britain
Winston James

I am… a social leper, a race outcast from an outcast class . (Claude McKay, 1921) The road to London I’ve a longin’ in me dept’s of heart dat I can conquer not, ’Tis a wish dat I’ve have been havin’ from since I could form a t’o’t, ’Tis to sail athwart the ocean

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Cathy Bergin

breathing space to declare our freedoms from the tyrannical rule of oppressed overlords’. 3 Similarly, the supposedly ‘moderate’ the Crisis , in addition to publishing seminal articles about the revolution by Claude McKay, could claim in 1921 that ‘everywhere in the world Socialism … is dominating’, and furthermore that ‘this is the future which the world faces and its success is the success of civilization’. 4 For the more avowedly socialist press the revolution was the occasion for untrammelled anti

in The Red and the Black
Abstract only
A Black journey of Red hope
Maxim Matusevich

How fitting it is that the first chapter in this important new volume focuses on a political and personal odyssey of Claude McKay, one of the preeminent bards of the Harlem Renaissance and the person who ‘discovered’ Soviet Russia for black America. McKay’s own journey from his euphoric 1922–23 trip to Petrograd and Moscow to an eventual disillusionment with Soviet Communism captured the hopes, the tensions and the maddening complexities of the encounter between the Black and the Red. McKay embarked on his

in The Red and the Black
Abstract only
Red October and the Black Atlantic
David Featherstone
and
Christian Høgsbjerg

in inspiring such emblematic figures as the black Jamaican poet and writer Claude McKay to become organised revolutionary socialists – in a sense ‘black Bolsheviks’. 7 Matthieu Renault and Olga Panova’s chapters explore some of the rich wider theoretical and literary relationships and dynamics around race and the revolutionary process in Russia, particularly in relation to black America. Part II of the volume, ‘Spreading the revolution across the Black Atlantic’, examines the formation of organisational

in The Red and the Black
Abstract only
A galaxy of stars to steer by
Christian Høgsbjerg
and
Alan Rice

The Suriname-born Otto Huiswoud (1893–1961), who was one of the first black figures to join the Communist Party in the United States in 1919, had previously worked as a sailor in the United States and Caribbean. Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison and Kwame Nkrumah (who was a member of the NMU) all spent time at sea. 28 The co-founder of the National Maritime Union, the Jamaican-born Communist Ferdinand Smith (1893–1961), who became one of the most powerful black trade unionists in the United States, looms

in Revolutionary lives of the Red and Black Atlantic since 1917
Comparing Mary Macarthur and Sylvia Pankhurst
Deborah Thom

Labour papers appeared all over the UK. Much of what she did was very popular – she ran a soup kitchen, a crèche and a small factory for women thrown out of work by war. Claude McKay, who became a Communist supporter, partly through contact with Pankhurst in the early 1920s, described her paper as mainly influential as a critique of trade unions more than the Labour Party, ‘And in the labour movement she was always jabbing her hat pin into the hides of the smug and slack Labour leaders. Her weekly might have been called the Dread Wasp.’46 His comment also reflects a

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
Grace P. Campbell’s role in the formation of a radical feminist tradition in African-American intellectual culture
Lydia Lindsey

unemployed and homeless in Harlem ‘with an ear for everybody woes.’ When asked, she would share the contents of her purse with every needy case, and Claude McKay, the poet, appeared to have been a regular needy case. 98 Campbell worked to organised black women workers and knew that they were the most exploited part of the workforce. She understood that within the proletarian struggle, there was also a gender struggle. The dirty deals that fall to all working women in capitalist society fell heaviest on black women

in Revolutionary lives of the Red and Black Atlantic since 1917