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Theodore W. Allen

Theodore W. Allen (1919–2005) was an anti–white supremacist, working-class intellectual and activist who began his pioneering work on "white skin privilege" and "white race" privilege in 1965. He co-authored the influential White Blindspot (1967), authored "Can White <del>Workers</del> Radicals Be Radicalized?" (1969), and wrote the ground-breaking Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race (1975) before publication of his seminal two-volume classic The Invention of the White Race (1994, 1997).

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  • Django Unchained and Lincoln: A reading list on race, plus your chance to win 3 titles

    Out in the UK this month, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and Steven Speilberg's Lincoln has energized interest in a period of American history defined by race. Rather than make our own critiques or slap downs, we present these books to fill the gaps left by Hollywood.

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  • "We are black..."—Verso books for Black History Month

    We are black, it is true, but tell us, gentlemen, you who are so judicious, what is the law that says that the black man must belong to and be the property of the white man? ... Yes, gentleman, we are free like you, and it is only by your avarice and our ignorance that anyone is still held in slavery up to this day, and we can neither see nor find the right that you pretend to have over us ... We are your equals then, by natural right, and if nature pleases itself to diversify colours within the human race, it is not a crime to be born black nor an advantage to be white.

    This excerpt is from a letter written in July 1792 by the leaders of the revolution of Haitian slaves. The letter has been republished in the collection of writings of the black leader Toussaint L'Overture, The Haitian Revolution, which includes also the correspondence between him and Napoleon Bonaparte. In the late eighteenth century, Toussaint L'Overture and his supporters established the first black republic in the world.

    In the United Kingdom, October is Black History Month. The celebration was originally introduced in 1926 on the initiative of Carter G. Woodson, the editor of the Journal of Negro History. In 2007, no fewer than 6,000 events were held in the UK as part of its programme. Here are some key Verso titles past and present that are relevant to the study and celebration of African and Caribbean history.

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