Walter Rodney

Walter Anthony Rodney (23 March 1942 – 13 June 1980) was a prominent Guyanese historian, political activist and academic. He was assassinated in 1980.

He completed his bachelor's degree from the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) in Jamaica, graduating in 1963 with a first-class degree in History, thereby winning the Faculty of Arts prize.

Rodney earned a PhD in African History in 1966 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, England, at the age of 24. His dissertation, which focused on the slave trade on the Upper Guinea Coast, was published by the Oxford University Press in 1970 under the title ''A History of the Upper Guinea Coast 1545-1800'' and was widely acclaimed for its originality in challenging the conventional wisdom on the topic.

Rodney travelled widely and became very well known internationally as an activist, scholar and formidable orator. He taught at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania during the periods 1966-67 and 1969-1974 and in 1968 at his alma mater University of the West Indies at Mona. He was sharply critical of the middle class for its role in the post-independence Caribbean. He was also a strong critic of capitalism and argued that only under "the banner of Socialism and through the leadership of the working classes" could Africa break from imperialism.

On 15 October 1968, the government of Jamaica, led by prime minister Hugh Shearer, declared Rodney ''persona non grata''. The decision to ban him from ever returning to Jamaica and his subsequent dismissal by the University of the West Indies, Mona caused protests by students and the poor of West Kingston which escalated into a riot, known as the Rodney Riots, resulting in six deaths and causing millions of dollars in damages. The riots which started on 16 October 1968 triggered an increase in political awareness across the Caribbean, especially among the Afrocentric Rastafarian sector of Jamaica, documented in Rodney's book ''The Groundings with my Brothers'' published by Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications in 1969.

In 1969, Rodney returned to the University of Dar es Salaam, where he served as a Professor of History until 1974.

Rodney became a prominent Pan-Africanist, Marxist, and was important in the Black Power movement in the Caribbean and North America. While living in Dar es Salaam he was influential in developing a new centre of African learning and discussion. Provided by Wikipedia
Published 1986
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