Recommended Readings on Black Radicalism

What are the best books to read about Black radicalism and revolutionary praxis?

It is probably crucial to read primary texts by key theorists, radicals, and revolutionaries, and for that this PDF compilation is critical; titled “The Black Radical Tradition”, it pulls together works from WEB Du Bois, CLR James, Huey P. Newton, Malcolm X, Frantz Fanon, and many many more into an exhaustive anthology.  And along with this, it might be useful to also check out  Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (1983) for a general analysis of how Black liberation praxis and Marxism fused and developed with one another.

For learning about the Black Panther Party–arguably the most potent revolutionary group in US history, let alone in Black radical history–I’d recommend Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (2013) and Liberated Territory: Untold Local Perspectives on the Black Panther Party (2009).  Black Against Empire is an exhaustive and balanced account of the Panthers’ history, and their evolution (and devolution) in the context of wider societal forces; and Liberated Territory is an anthology of essays, mostly written by former Panthers, about their specific local experiences with the rise and fall of the party.  Liberated Territory is noteworthy as it is full of sober criticism and reflection on where the Party fell short in terms of a feasible revolutionary program and its counter-counter-intelligence/insurgency strategies.

An excellent book on organizations allied with the Black Panthers, and adopting much of their strategy and program, is Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power–Community Organizing in Radical Times (2011), which is about how young White working-class radical leftists organized and related to the Black Power movement.

And I’d recommend Detroit: I Do Mind Dying – A Study in Urban Revolution (1975) as a good overview of the revolutionary scene in Detroit in the late ’60s and early ’70s and the different organizations that Black communist autoworkers created, and the general dynamics of their movement and struggles.

black panther women


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