John Munro

The Anticolonial Front

The African-American Freedom Struggle and Global Decolonization

Cambridge University Press 2017

New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network May 21, 2018 Roxanne Panchasi

John Munro’s new book, The Anticolonial Front: The African-American Freedom Struggle and Global Decolonization (Cambridge University Press, 2017) is a transnational study that traces the...

John Munro’s new book, The Anticolonial Front: The African-American Freedom Struggle and Global Decolonization (Cambridge University Press, 2017) is a transnational study that traces the persistence and continuities of Black radicalism from the end of the Second World War through the period of McCarthyism in the United States. Departing from an insistence on colonialism as the primary historical driver of the twentieth century, the book moves from the Popular Front politics of the interwar years to the beginning of the 1960s. Considering of “long civil rights movement” in relationship to the history of forms of colonialism and imperialism that were global in scope, the chapters of the book travel from key sites and events in the U.S. across the Atlantic to the U.K. and Europe, and further afield to spaces and conversations between activists in Asia and Africa.

Reframing the history of Cold-War U.S. politics in relationship to broader histories of decolonization, The Anti-Colonial Front challenges analyses that over-emphasize national and generational differences in the social justice struggles and movements of the period, as well as those narratives that would have us believe that McCarthyism was wholly successful in suppressing radical political thought and activisms in the 1950s. Indeed, the book makes a contribution to our understanding of the origins of the revolutionary ideas and events of the 1960s. Drawing on a range of archival materials, the book examines the work of organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Council on African Affairs and the American Society for African Culture. It also explores the lives and political work of individuals, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Claudia Jones, Alphaeus Hunton, George Padmore, Richard Wright, Esther Cooper Jackson, Jack O’Dell and C. L. R. James. Engaging literary works, press and periodical literature across a political spectrum, the book interrogates the boundaries and histories of left and liberal politics in the period. The Anticolonial Front will be of tremendous interests to historians of American political culture, Black radicalisms, and the complex global past of anticolonialism and decolonization in the Cold-War era.


Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University. Her current research focuses on the representation of nuclear weapons and testing in France and its empire since 1945. She lives and reads in Vancouver, Canada. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send an email to: [email protected].

*The music that opens and closes the podcast is an instrumental version of “Creatures,” a song written by Vancouver artist/musician Casey Wei (performing as hazy). To hear more, please visit https://agonyklub.com/.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial