CLR James Plaque in Southwick unveiled

On Friday 17 March, the Southwick Society unveiled a blue plaque to commemorate the late, great black Trinidadian cricket writer and revolutionary historian C.L.R. James (1901-1989) with special guests of honour Leila Hassan Howe, co-founder of the Race Today Collective, and editor and publisher Margaret Busby.  The plaque was possible thanks in part to a letter James wrote from 290 Old Shoreham Road on 19 July 1937 that was intercepted by Special Branch who were monitoring James – like many other activists – for his anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist activism.    In 1937, James was a leading activist in the British Trotskyist movement as well in the Pan-Africanist movement, and was in Southwick (just outside Brighton) that summer writing up what would become his classic history of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins (1938).   In his preface he described writing the work ‘in the stillness of a seaside suburb’.  The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, led by Toussaint Louverture, was the only successful mass slave revolt in human history and saw the birth of the world’s first independent black republic outside of Africa. 

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