Ere Roosevelt Came

Regular price $ 25.95

by Duse Mohamed Ali, Edited by Marina Bilbija and Alex Lubin

Pluto Press

1/20/2024, paperback

SKU: 9780745348605


Ere Roosevelt Came is a short novel by early Pan-Africanist Duse Mohamed Ali. Originally serialized in Ali's Nigerian magazine The Comet in 1934, it grapples with the rise of global fascism and white supremacy, and the growing geopolitical influence of the USA in the interwar period.

This is a fantastical, intricately woven and speculative story about how Black American airmen, organizing in secret, fight an international assemblage of white supremacists and Russian foreign agents bent on instigating a new world war. The narrative reveals how Black liberation struggles, Bolshevism, and the rise of so-called "colored" Japanese empires were bound together in the Pan-African literary imaginary.

Written by a Sudanese-Egyptian, serialized in a West African magazine, and set in the USA, Ere Roosevelt Came is a Pan-African novel par excellence, and a fascinating historical document that conveys the complexities of Black internationalism in the interwar years. The novel is presented with two original, contextualizing essays and appendices featuring selected other writings to provide further insight into Ali's vision of a Pan-African future.


"Ali's creative intellectual productivity was a major force in early twentieth-century pan-Africanism. The introductory material by Alex Lubin and Marina Bilbija offer essential tools for today's readers to appreciate this extraordinary, yet previously inaccessible, novel and its author. Reading this text through the multi-continental circuits of both its author's travels and the novel's protagonists, we recalibrate our own grid of pan-African literary productivity." -- Dr. Leslie James, Queen Mary University of London

"A compelling addition to the canon of Pan-African creative writing from the 1930s. The engaging, informative essays by the editors show how Ali brought to life core themes of African American literature for readers in colonial Africa." -- Stephanie Newell, George M. Bodman Professor of English, Yale University

About the Contributors:

Duse Mohamed Ali (1866-1945) was an Egyptian political activist known for his African nationalism. He was also a playwright, historian, journalist, editor, and publisher. In 1912 he founded the African Times and Orient Review, and while living in Lagos, Nigeria, The Comet newspaper, in which his novel Ere Roosevelt Came was serialised in 1934. He inspired many Black nationalists, including a young Marcus Garvey, who he mentored.

Marina Bilbija is Assistant Professor of English at Wesleyan University, Connecticut. Her work has appeared in American Literary HistoryAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, ? South Atlantic Review and Modern Fiction Studies.

Alex Lubin is Professor of African American Studies at Penn State University, Pennsylvania. He is the author of? Romance and Rights: The Politics of Interracial Intimacy, 1945-1956;? Geographies of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary, and Never-Ending War on Terror.