Marcus Garvey, Claude McKay, Claudia Jones, C.L.R. James, Stokely Carmichael, Louis Farakhan -- the roster of immigrants from the Caribbean who have made a profound impact on the development of radical politics in the United States is extensive. In this magisterial and lavishly illustrated work, Winston James focuses on the twentieth century's first waves of immigrants from the Caribbean and their contribution to political dissidence in America. Examining the way in which the characteristics of the societies they left shaped their perceptions of the land to which they traveled, Winston James draws sharp differences between Hispanic, Anglophone, and other n-Hispanic arrivals. He explores the interconnections between the Cuban independence struggle, Puerto Rican nationalism, Afro-American feminism, and black communism in the first turbulent decades of the twentieth century. He also provides fascinating insights into the peculiarities of Puerto Rican radicalism's impact in New York City and recounts the remarkable story of Afro-Cuban radicalism in Florida. Virgin Islander Hubert Harrison, whom A. Philip Randolph dubbed 'the father of Harlem radicalism', is rescued from the historical shadows by James's analysis of his pioneering contribution to Afro-America's radical tradition. In addition to a subtle re-examination of Garvey's Universal Negro Movement Association - including the exertions and contributions of its female members - James provides the most detailed exploration so far undertaken of Cyril Briggs and his little-kwn but important African Blood Brotherhood. This diligently researched, wide ranging and sophisticated book will be welcomed by all those interested in the Caribbean and its emigres, the Afro-American current within America's radical tradition, and the history, politics, and culture of the African diaspora.
Winston James, who grew up in Jamaica and Britain, earned his doctorate at the London School of Economics and teaches History at Columbia University. His previous publications include Inside Babylon: The Caribbean Diaspora in Britain (Verso 1993), edited with Clive Harris. His Claude McKay: The Making of a Black Bolshevik, 1989-1923 will be published next year.