June 30, 2011

New Book: Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment

Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment
Editor Carole Boyce Davies
Publication Date:  July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9562401-6-3
Price: £16.99

Claudia Jones was a smart, politically-wise, brilliant, transnational feminist, Pan Africanist theorist and cultural activist who brought together in her speeches and writings the politics that is now seen as a necessary way of intersecting a variety of political fields and positions. Known as the founder of the first London carnival and the editor of the first black newspaper the West Indian Gazette in England, Claudia Jones’s activism bridged US and the UK with the black world politics of decolonization that ushered in contemporary community empowerment. For the first time, in one place, Claudia Jones Beyond Containment… brings together her essays, poetry, autobiographical and longer writings, expanding our knowledge of several fields. Providing us with the clarity of the ideas of a black woman activist-intellectual of her period, for a fuller understanding of Caribbean, African American and the larger African Diaspora discourses. Claudia Jones Beyond Containment is essential reading.

Important Endorsements for Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment

'Claudia Jones is one of my personal heroines. I spent my formative political years in Claudia Jones’s London stamping ground of Notting Hill – it was the classic centre of post-war black activism in Britain. Most West Indian immigrants in the 1950s came by boat to Southampton and the train from there took them into Paddington. Hence the large black community in that part of West London. So I know people who had worked with Claudia Jones and spoke of her with awe. She founded two of Black Britain’s most important institutions; the first black newspaper, the West Indian Gazette and she was also one of the founding organizers of the Notting Hill Carnival.

The ‘hidden history’ of women’s contribution to progressive politics has been concealed for too long. This important book is part of the process of putting that right. Claudia Jones was an iconic figure who inspired a generation of black activists and deserves to be much more widely known. This book is a fitting memorial.' ~ Diane Abbott, MP, Westminster, London.

'Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment transcends the silencing and erasure historically accorded women of achievement: it makes accessible and brings to wider attention the words of an often   overlooked twentieth-century political and cultural activist, who tirelessly campaigned, wrote, spoke out, organized, edited and published autobiographical writings, poetry, essays on subjects close to her political heart – human rights, peace, struggle related to gender, race and class – this is a collection that unites the many facets of a woman whose identities as a radical thinker and as a black woman are not in conflict.

'Carole Boyce Davies, author of the acclaimed Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (2008), continues the task of ensuring that Claudia Jones takes her rightful place in the exalted list of twentieth-century Caribbean intellectuals in the Diaspora, including her compatriots George Padmore and C.L.R. James, who engaged with the world to make it a more enlightened place and whose legacy still deserves to resonate.' ~ Margaret Busby, OBE, Writer, Broadcaster and Journalist, London.

'Carole Boyce Davies’s brilliant book, Left of Karl Marx, did so much more than recover the life and legacy of Claudia Jones.  She threw down the gauntlet, forcing us to rethink many of the  fundamental assumptions and conceits of Marxism and to come to terms with Claudia Jones’s radical critiques of racism, women’s oppression and colonial rule. But Davies isn’t done. In this stunning collection of Jones’s essays, speeches, autobiographical reflections and poems, Davies not only underscores why Jones stands among the world’s most important radical theorists and organizers of the 20th century, but she reveals the Trinidadian-born, transnational intellectual as artist and visionary.' ~ Robin D. G. Kelly, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern Carolina and author of Freedom Dreams: The Back Radical Imagination.

'Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment lifts veils of ignorance and erasure that obscure a brilliant, 20th century human rights advocate. With this Collection of Jones’s writings, Carole Boyce Davies provides the 21st century with an important opportunity to revisit our collective histories and current struggles shaped by feminist, anti-racist, communist Claudia Jones, a Caribbean-born activist and intellectual who influenced international struggles of blacks, women and workers for social justice.' ~ Joy James, Williams College, USA and author of Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics.

'In Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment, Carole Boyce Davies has uncovered a super-excellent collection.... commendable not only for their breadth-of-scope but largely also for their intellectual sharpness and acuity.... while all based on past events these writings are so very directly relevant today, especially in the manner in which they assist our understanding of contemporary world politics with the US and the Anglo-American bloc playing a leading role. Indeed, Jones’s interventions are as deep and relevant as to provide a direct prognosis of contemporary US imperialism in the era of globalization. There can be absolutely no doubt that Jones was an activist and an ideologue, who used and tirelessly mobilized her identity as a member of the Young Communist League and other organizations to help in the fight to establish a new, more just, equitable and humanitarian social order.' ~ Dr Kwadwo Osei-Nyame Jnr., Lecturer in African Studies, School of Oriental & African Studies, (SOAS), University of London.

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