The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May 2020 sparked national outrage that coalesced into a movement across the United States demanding real, structural change in local law enforcement and the U.S. justice system. As this movement consolidated around the unifying demand of “Defund the Police,” a widespread interest in the rich history of Black radical thought reemerged. Leftist discourse reignited a critical study of ideas like the relationship between race and class, third world nationalism, critical race theory, and identity politics. What are the origins of these ideas, and how far back in our socialist history do they reach?
The DSA-LA Political Education Committee is proud to present our original Night School for 2022, A Study Series on Black Leftist Thought.
Spanning March through June, this seven module series will introduce attendees to the writings, speeches, and perspectives of Black leftists through most of the twentieth century. Through original sources in writing, audio, and video, we will trace back the history of discourses introduced and developed by Black socialists, all of which have profound impact on our political landscape today.
Join the DSA-LA Political Education Committee for our first class of the Political Education Committee’s 7-Part Night School: A Study Series on Black Leftist Thought Race and Class in the Wake of the Red Summer. This class will use the Red Summer, a period in 1919 marked by white supremacist terrorism and race riots across the United States, as a basis to explore the speeches and writings of black radicals active before and after these horrific events. While black political discourse of this period is often taught as dominated by figures such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, we will be reading the perspectives of black radicals as they discuss matters of race and class, nationalism, and the relation of black workers to the broader socialist and communist movements in the U.S.
We will be using the following readings to inform the presentations and discussion for this class. While it is not necessary to read all these passages, they will be referred to in the class presentation.
- Hubert Harrison, What Socialism Means to Us (1917), 4 pages
- W.A. Domingo, Socialism Imperiled (1919), 8 pages of excerpts
- Cyril V. Briggs, The Salvation of the Negro and The Acid Test of White Friendship (1921), 4 pages
- The African Blood Brotherhood, Program of the African Blood Brotherhood (1922), 5 pages
- Claude McKay, Report on the Negro Question (1922), 3 pages
- Marcus Garvey, An Appeal to the Conscience of the Black Race to See Itself (1923), 6 pages
- Lovett Fort-Whitemen, The Negro and American Race Prejudice and The Negro in America (1924-1925), 6 pages
Check out more classes in this series: