A Bibliography of Black Internationalism

From Toussaint to TupacOver the past several years, I have been conducting research for a book on black nationalism, radical politics, and internationalism during the twentieth century. Last year, I began co-editing a volume on black women’s internationalism with Tiffany M. Gill. Recently, a number of scholars and students have reached out to ask me for suggested readings on the topic. I have compiled a list of secondary works for those who are interested in learning more about the topic; or those who are looking for suggested readings to include in their course syllabi for next year. In an earlier post, I offer suggestions for how to teach black internationalism. The literature on black internationalism (or transnationalism) is extensive so this list is not meant to be exhaustive. Many of the works listed below explore women’s roles and the politics of gender in black internationalist movements. The majority of these works focus primarily on the twentieth century. Feel free to add your own suggestions to the comments section. *Last updated: January 24, 2016


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Keisha N. Blain

Keisha N. Blain is a historian of the 20th century United States with broad interdisciplinary interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is the author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). Follow her on Twitter @KeishaBlain.

Comments on “A Bibliography of Black Internationalism

  • Excellent list, thanks for sharing this! I would add Sara E. Johnson’s The Fear of French Negroes: Transcolonial Collaboration in the Revolutionary Americas, and Anne Garland Mahler’s “Global South in the Belly of the Beast: Viewing African American Civil Rights through a Tricontinental Lens “, Latin American Research Review 50.1: 2015. It can be found here: Amerhttps://lasa.international.pitt.edu/LARR/prot/fulltext/vol50no1/50-1_95-116_mahler.pdf

  • Thanks for the reading recommendations! Actually, do you have any suggestions on African (American) sailors/Africans in early/golden-age-of-piracy (and later) maritime history I should check out? Or even books that have a section on them? I’ve read Black Sailors: Afro-American Merchant Seamen and Whalemen Prior to the Civil War by Martha S. Putney, Rediker’s works on sailors and pirates, and W. Jeffrey Bolster’s Black Jacks: African American Seaman in the Age of Sail. Any others I should check out? Can be from any era/region in history.

    • I wish I could help you out in this regard, alas, nothing comes to mind, except for Ada Ferrer’s new book, check it out.

  • Thanks so much for checking out my post!

    Great suggestions, Kahil. A Chaos Fairy: I agree with Kahil. Check out Ada Ferrer’s Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution. Also, take a look at Julius S. Scott’s seminal work, “The Common Wind: Currents of Afro-American Communications in the Era of the Haitian Revolution” (Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 1986); and some of the books on Paul Cuffee including Rosalind Cobb Wiggins’ Captain Paul Cuffe’s Logs and Letters. It sounds like you are already off to a great start!


  • Good list. I would add Robinson’s *Black Marxism*; David Austin’s *Fear of a Black Nation*; C.L.R. James: *History of Pan-African Revolt*

    • Thanks, Paul. Great suggestions. I’ll add them to the list.


      • Gerald Horne’s Black Revolutionary, Plummer’s In Search of Power, And Perry’s Hubert Harrison should also be added… And of course my forthcoming dissertation. ?

      • Thanks so much! Yes, I agree. There are so many more amazing books that I could add to this list. And I look forward to reading your dissertation (and future book)!

  • Great resource. Perhaps add Claudrena N. Harold, *Rise and Fall of the Garvey Movement in the Urban South, 1918-1942* (Routledge, 2007)

    • Great book! Thanks so much.

  • Another one for the list:
    Wu, Judy. Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013.

    • Thanks, Marketus. Great addition.

  • Here is another source for the list:

    Slate, Nico, ed. Black Power Beyond Borders: The Global Dimensions of the Black Power Movement. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

    • One of my favorites! Thank you! ~KNB

      • Here’s some possible additions to your wonderful compilation:
        • Adi, Hakim. West Africans in Britain, 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Communism. London: Lawrence and Wishart, Ltd., 1998.
        • Adi, Hakim and Marika Sherwood. The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited; with Colonial and…Coloured Unity (The Report of the 5th Pan-African Congress), George Padmore, ed. London: New Beacon Books, 3rd ed., 1995.
        • Baptiste, Fitzroy and Rupert Lewis, eds. George Padmore: Pan-African Revolutionary. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers, 2009.
        • Carew, Joy Gleason. Blacks, Reds, and Russians: Sojourners in Search of the Soviet Promise. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008.
        • Clemons, Michael L., ed. African Americans in Global Affairs: Contemporary Perspectives. Lebanon, NH: Northeastern University Press/University Press of New England, 2010.
        • Haywood, Harry. Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist. Chicago, IL: Liberator Press, 1978.
        • Hooker, James R. Black Revolutionary: George Padmore’s Path from Communism to Pan-Africanism. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1967.
        • Lynch, Hollis R. Black American Radicals and the Liberation of Africa: The Council on African Affairs, 1937-1955. Ithaca, NY: Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, 1978.
        • Nwankwo, Ifeoma Kiddoe. Black Cosmopolitanism: Racial Consciousness and Transnational Identity in the Nineteenth-Century Americas. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.
        • Plastas, Melissa. A Band of Noble Women: Racial Politics in the Women’s Peace Movement. Syracuse. NY: Syracuse University Press, 2011.

  • Great list! Thanks for compiling. Of course, there are many other great works including, in the “shameless self-promotion” department, my own:
    Peter Cole, “No Justice, No Ships Get Loaded: Political Boycotts on the Durban and San Francisco Bay Waterfronts,” International Review of Social History 58:2 (2013).

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