The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic
Groundbreaking New Publication with a BlackQuaker Project Contribution and Other 2020-2021 Pandemic Productivity!
Publication Date: 15 August 2021!
The BlackQuaker Project (BQP) is excited to announce the publication of The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic on 15 August 2021 by the Manchester University Press (available for purchase for school, public, and personal libraries). This transnational collection of works by scholars from various countries challenges traditional Western narratives of the 1917 Russian Revolution’s impact on the Black world. The book reframes Red October as a supportive context for the Pan-African, anti-racist freedom movements of the 20th century.
Prolific scholar Gerald Horne, author of Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary, reviews the anthology:
This ideologically diverse collection is uniformly well-written and exceedingly informative. The inescapable and unavoidable conclusion it renders is that the Russian Revolution of 1917 delivered a mighty blow against colonialism, imperialism and forms of apartheid alike. Simultaneously, by implication it blazes the trail and illuminates the way forward for those seeking to create a better world.
The BQP’s contribution is a chapter written by Project Director Dr. Harold D. Weaver, titled “Decolonisation and the Cold War: African student elites in the USSR, 1955–64.” You can read the chapter on the BQP website here. Adapted from his 1985 dissertation, the first book-length monograph on the topic, and his book in progress, Weaver’s chapter corrects disinformation by demonstrating the importance of the training programs for African students at Moscow’s Patrice Lumumba Friendship University for the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These Soviet training programs directly addressed critical economic, health, and scientific-technical needs in the newly independent African nations of the early 1960s.
To investigate the affective and cognitive aspects of the training programs for African students in Moscow, Weaver began collecting his data through participant observation and interviews with African students when he was a member of the official USA-USSR youth exchange program in the Soviet Union in summer 1959. In summer 1961, as an observer at the
World Youth Forum in Moscow, he met his lifelong friend, Tanzanian Lumumba University student Jason Kessi (See photo: Kessi on right with Hal on left, Dec. 1963, Moscow). Finally, Weaver was in Moscow from July 1963 to February 1964 to conduct field research, serving simultaneously as a journalist accredited by the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Unlike most of the anti-Soviet articles and books that had been published about African students focusing on their alleged mistreatment and dissatisfaction, Weaver discovered, first-hand, that Afro-descendant guests received preferential treatment in the Soviet Union. Moreover, African students were receiving the critical training and self-empowerment needed to build new, decolonizing African societies. This chapter is the latest in Weaver's decades-long work contesting widespread Western myths about Africans’ participation in Soviet transnational programs in education and human-resource development.
In addition, on 19 June 2021, the quarterly journal Jacobin published online Weaver’s article, “Paul Robeson Was One of the Greatest Figures of the 20th Century,” adapted from The Black Scholar (Dec. 1973-Jan. 1974), “Paul Robeson: Beleaguered Leader.” Click here to read!
Below is an abbreviated list of the BQP’s other racial-justice publications and public presentations during the COVID-19 pandemic:
September 2020: Le 1er festival mondial des Arts nègres: Mémoire et actualité, including Weaver’s chapter, “The First World Festival of Black Arts and One Young, Budding African (Scholar)"
October 2020: Pendle Hill pamphlet by Weaver, Race, Systemic Violence, and Retrospective Justice: An African American Quaker Scholar-Activist Challenges Conventional Narratives (Pamphlet #465).
January 2021: Weaver’s article, “A Proposed Plan of Retrospective Justice” in Friends Journal.
August 2020: “Dialogue on Survival: A Conversation with Dr. Amanda Kemp and Dr. Harold D. Weaver” at the 2020 New England Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions
November 2020: Weaver paper, “Race, Decolonization, and the Cold War: African Student Elites in Moscow in the Early 1960s,” as part of panel, “Soviet and Post-Soviet Histories of Race,” sponsored by the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia.
November 2020: Weaver lecture on the 1989 German Democratic Republic film, I am a Negro, I am an American: Paul Robeson, at the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) annual meeting, hosted virtually by the UMass Amherst DEFA Archives.
May 2021: Weaver paper, “Setting the Record Straight: Pioneering Black Filmmakers on Slavery in the Americas,” and co-convenor of panel, “Coping with the Difficult Past: Remembering and Forgetting the Slave Trade and Slavery in Africa, Europe, and the Americas,” part of the Moscow, Russia, virtual 15th International African Studies Conference
June 2021: Weaver and BQP team group presentation, “Black Lives Matter/Black Quaker Lives Matter!,” at the annual gathering of the Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association (SAYMA): retrospective/reparatory justice, economic/housing structural violence, etc.
June 2021: Workshop by Weaver and BQP team, “Black Lives Matter/Black Quaker Lives Matter!,” for Quakers of Color at the annual gathering of Friends General Conference with action items for retrospective/reparatory justice, justice testimony for Quakers, and collaboration with Quakers of Color worldwide.
July 2021: Year-end review by Weaver and BQP team (Su Spina, Cooper Vaughn, and Haverford Center for Peace and Global Citizenship interns, Sarah Jennings and Charlotte McDermott) at Wellesley Friends Meeting’s Wellesley Thursday: “Black Lives Matter/Black Quaker Lives Matter!” Included compilation video of a variety of interviews in the Quakers of Color International Archive (QCIA) at UMass Amherst, “Was Paul Robeson a Birthright Quaker?”, “Housing Structural Violence against African Americans,” and a plan for Quakers for involvement in retrospective justice.
Write to us at email@example.com with any comments, suggestions, or questions you may have about our variety of topics inspired by the Quaker testimonies of Truth, Peace, Equality, Community, and Justice. Consider signing up for our mailing list on our website to follow our ongoing work, including the expanding Quakers of Color International Archive.
--The BlackQuaker Project