Black Internationalism and Environmental Justice
African American Intellectual History Society Pauli Murray Book Prize
A Black Perspectives Best Black History Book of 2020
Honorable Mention, Organization of American Historians Liberty Legacy Foundation Award
Finalist, Association for the Study of African American Life and History Book Prize
Pauulu’s Diaspora is a sweeping story of black internationalism across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Ocean worlds, told through the life and work of twentieth-century environmental activist Pauulu Kamarakafego. Challenging U.S.-centered views of Black Power, Quito Swan offers a radically broader perspective, showing how Kamarakafego helped connect liberation efforts of the African diaspora throughout the Global South.
Born in Bermuda and with formative experiences in Cuba, Kamarakafego was aware at an early age of the effects of colonialism and the international scope of racism and segregation. After pursuing graduate studies in ecological engineering, he traveled to Africa, where he was inspired by the continent’s independence struggles and contributed to various sustainable development movements. Swan explores Kamarakafego’s remarkable fusion of political agitation and scientific expertise and traces his emergence as a central coordinator of major black internationalist conferences. Despite government surveillance, Kamarakafego built a network of black organizers that reached from Kenya to the islands of Oceania and included such figures as C. L. R. James, Queen Mother Audley Moore, Kwame Nkrumah, Sonia Sanchez, Sylvia Hill, Malcolm X, Vanessa Griffen, and Stokely Carmichael.
In a riveting narrative that runs through Caribbean sugarcane fields, Liberian rubber plantations, and Papua New Guinean rainforests, Pauulu’s Diaspora recognizes a global leader who has largely been absent from scholarship. In doing so, it brings to light little-known relationships among Black Power, pan-Africanism, and environmental justice.
A powerful, thoroughly researched, diasporic history of Black liberation politics during most of the 20th Century. . . . A remarkable study in political evolution and tenacity.’—Choice
‘Makes crucial contributions to a set of inter-connecting literatures that probe the breadth and depth of black internationalism. . . . Leaves us pondering how deeply this material—and technical—history might shift our understandings of the routes of black internationalism and the registers of black power.’—Journal of Social History
With its geographic breadth, meticulous research, and gorgeous writing, this book is a breakthrough, a trailblazer, and a trendsetter in diverse fields including pan-African studies and the emerging field of the ‘Black Pacific.’’—Gerald Horne, author of Facing the Rising Sun: African Americans, Japan, and the Rise of Afro-Asian Solidarity
‘In this excellent examination of the political experiences and development of Kamarakafego, Swan enables us to encounter key figures and moments in the international Black Power, pan-African, anti-imperialist, and environmental justice movements.’—Akinyele Omowale Umoja, author of We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement
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