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Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth Century America Paperback – May 17, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A brilliant, nuanced and sensitive re-examination of the history of Caribbean radicals and radicalism in the United States. James's book will survive for many years as the standard work on the subject and establishes the author as one of the premier scholars of the African Diaspora.”—Colin Palmer, City University of New York

“A major historical contribution to the 'hidden history' of the African diaspora ... richly detailed, powerful and compelling.”—Stuart Hall, The Open University

“Imaginatively written in addition to its solid scholarly base, this book breaks significant new ground in our understanding of modern black American radicalism.”—Arnold Rampersad, Princeton University

“In this thoroughly researched and tightly argued book Winston James has revealed and explained the prominent role of Afro-Caribbean immigrants in socialist, communist and nationalist struggles in the United States, whilst rescuing the topic from the stereotypes that have long surrounded it.”—David Montgomery, Yale University

“James elucidates, as no one has done before him, just how profound were the Caribbean contributions that enriched the soil of American radicalism ... . A truly prodigious and imaginative reconstruction [which] heralds a genuine renascence of radical scholarship in the best Caribbean tradition.”—Robert A. Hill, University of California, Los Angeles

“Powerfully argued and provocative, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia literally reframes our understanding of the African-American experience.”—Thomas C. Holt, University of Chicago

About the Author

Winston James is Professor of History at University of California Irvine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Reprint, edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859841406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859841402
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,371,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia is required reading for anyone interested in the history of Black radicalism in the United States, particularly the singular role played by people of Caribbean descent. Professor James skillfully examines the history and political economy of race relations in the French and Spanish speaking Caribbean. Here is the background of the African Blood Brotherhood led by Cyril Briggs and the Universal Negro Improvement Association led by Marcus Garvey. Moreover, this is the background of the singular Arthur Schomburg (actually Arturo Schomburg) who founded the pivotal Harlem library and research center. There is an important analysis of Hubert H. Harrison's role in inspiring Harlem's Black radicalism. Furthermore, this is the complex history of Jesus Colon's ideas on race and class. In conclusion, this book is essential to an understanding of 20th Black radicalism, modern Black leadership, and the background to Black Power. While we are waiting for Jeff Perry's biography of Hubert H. Harrison, the Black Socrates of the Harlem Renaissance, this is as good as it gets!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roy Wilson on September 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Winston James' Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia will clarify our understanding of Afro-Caribbean migrants in the US. It sheds more light on not just Hispanics but non-Hispanics as well.

His thesis is expository. He explains the "scale and determinants of Caribbean migration to the United States and the migrants' political behavior from the turn of the century up to the Great Depression."

Some well-known but poorly constructed and substantiated arguments, advanced by scholars about the political behavior of Caribbeans in their States of origin and as migrants in America are rejected by James. It could well be that literature on the subject--Afro-Caribbeans political views/behaviour--is just sparse. Then James is right, much more scholarly work on the people who came to America from the Caribbean should be done.

The book is fairly comprehensive in its study, by looking beyond the English speaking Caribbean to the Spanish speakers as well, covering the period 1900-1932.

His stated objectives for the book are:

i.) To present historical evidence and analysis to of arguments claiming that Caribbean migrants changed from "conservatism" in the Caribbean to "radicalism" in America;
ii.) To broaden the discussion beyond the Anglophone Caribbean to the Hispanic Caribbean;
iii.) To contribute to the wider understanding of the African Diaspora; and
iv.) To throw new light on the historical and cultural complexity and heterogeneity of the Caribbean Region and variations in it's Diaspora in the USA.
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