The Black Radical Tradition
Historian and author Cedric Robinson defined the Black radical tradition as “the continuing development of a collective consciousness informed by the historical struggles for liberation.” The Black radical tradition is a rich and vibrant tapestry woven by the efforts of many Black people who raised their voices demanding freedom and equality denied to them by racial capitalism. They broke through white supremacy and forged the Black Radical Tradition. There were such giants as W. E. B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, and Malcolm X. And important cultural figures such as Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, Paul Robeson, and Toni Morrison. Today, the legacy of these pioneers and many others inform and inspire Black movements for liberation and justice from Ferguson to Minneapolis to Memphis.
Robin D. G. Kelley, a professor of history at UCLA, is a distinguished scholar and award-winning author. Among his many books are Race Rebels, Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times and Freedom Dreams.