Apr 01

Black and Red: Black Liberation and Socialism


How can we understand the historical connections between Black activism and the socialist movement? How do we navigate the relationship between race and class? Join Charisse Burden-Stelley, Robin D.G. Kelley, and Barbara Smith in a conversation about what we can learn from Black and Red histories.


  • Charisse Burden-Stelly

    Carleton College

    Charisse Burden-Stelly is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science at Carleton College. She completed her PhD in African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. She holds an MA in African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in Political Science and in African and African American Studies from Barrett Honor College at Arizona State University. Her scholarship traverses Africana Studies, Critical Theory, Political Theory, and Political Economy with a substantive focus on anti-radicalism, anti-blackness, and state-sanctioned violence; globalization and economic development; and epistemologies of Black Studies.

    She is coauthor, with Gerald Horne, of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Life in American History, and numerous articles on capitalism, racial capitalism, anti-capitalism, and socialism.

  • Robin D. G. Kelley

    University of California, Los Angeles

    Robin Kelley is the Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in US History UCLA. His research has explored the history of social movements in the US, the African Diaspora, and Africa; black intellectuals; music and visual culture; Surrealism, Marxism, among other things. His essays have appeared in a wide variety of professional journals as well as general publications, including the Journal of American History, American Historical Review, The Nation, Monthly Review, New York Times, Color Lines, Souls, The Black Scholar, Journal of Palestine Studies, and Boston Review, for which he also serves as Contributing Editor.

    His books include, Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times; Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original; Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination; with Howard Zinn and Dana Frank, Three Strikes: The Fighting Spirit of Labor's Last Century; Yo’ Mama’s Disfunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America; Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class; Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.

    He is also co-editor of the following books: Walter Rodney, The Russian Revolution: A View From the Third World (with Jesse Benjamin); The Other Special Relationship: Race, Rights and Riots in Britain and the United States (with Stephen Tuck); Black, Brown and Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the African Diaspora (with Franklin Rosemont); To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans (with Earl Lewis); Imagining Home: Class, Culture, and Nationalism in the African Diaspora (with Sidney J. Lemelle); and the eleven volume Young Oxford History of African Americans (with Earl Lewis) (1995-1998).

    Kelley is currently completing three book projects, including Black Bodies Swinging: An American Postmortem which is a genealogy of the Black Spring protests of 2020 by way of a deep examination of state-sanctioned racialized violence and a history of resistance. The blood at the root is “racial capitalism.” But Black Bodies Swinging is also a history of resistance, arguing that the new abolitionists represent the “Third Reconstruction generation.” Kelley is also completing a biography of the late Grace Halsell, tentatively titled The Education of Ms. Grace Halsell: An Intimate History of the American Century, as well as collaborating with Professor Tera Hunter on a general survey of African American history.

  • Barbara Smith

    Author, Editor, Activist, Teacher

    Beginning in the 1970s, Barbara Smith broke new ground as a black feminist, lesbian, activist, author, and book publisher of women of color. Smith co-founded the Combahee River Collective in 1974. This document was one of the earliest explorations of the intersection of multiple oppressions, including racism and heterosexism, critiquing both sexual oppression in the black community and racism within the wider feminist movement. She co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press in 1980, the first U.S. publisher of books for women of color. Smith taught classes on black women’s literature and has been visiting professor, writer in residence, freelance writer, and lecturer at numerous universities and research institutions, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (1995-1996). She is the author of numerous books and continues to lecture widely.



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