Our members-only podcast is now available to all! A People’s Anthology is a reading series of radical essays and speeches. Season one highlights six short texts related to Black liberation struggles in the U.S., from Claudia Jones to the Combahee River Collective. Find the other episodes and links to Apple, Spotify, and more here.
Read and introduced by Carole Boyce Davies.
Born in 1915 in Port Au Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Claudia Jones grew up in Harlem during its renaissance and joined the Communist Party aged 18 before becoming a scholar and activist. After being incarcerated for her work with the party, she was deported in 1955 and found refuge in the United Kingdom. It was here that she founded the longstanding Notting Hill Carnival and made her most famous request: that she would be buried “to the left of Karl Marx.”
This episode dives into Claudia Jones’s 1949 essay “An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman!”—an early, woefully understudied text Black feminist Marxism. In our interview, Africana studies professor Carole Boyce Davies speaks to the importance of the essay:
One of my colleagues who is producing a book on Black feminism wants to date Black feminist thought from this particular essay. One could of course take it back further to Harriet Tubman or even Ida B. Wells—but it is Claudia Jones who puts together questions that became central to Black feminist theorizing and the work of people like Angela Davis. Jones builds on classic Marxist thought to define the super-exploitation of the Black woman—how we are exploited not just through class, but through class, race, and gender.
Carole Boyce Davies is a professor of English and Africana Studies at Cornell. She is the author of Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones.
Note: A transcript of this episode is available here.