Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century

Regular price $ 14.95

by Kehinde Andrews

Zed Books

10/25/2019, paperback

SKU: 9781786992772


The Black Lives Matter movement reinvigorated Black political movements around the globe. People who never thought of themselves as activists are on the march, while groups that struggled to be heard are finding themselves with a megaphone and an audience. But with this renewed energy also comes renewed questions: How far have we really come? And what's the best way to keep moving forward?

In Back to Black, Kehinde Andrews argues that racism is inexorably embedded in the fabric of society, and that it can never be overcome unless by enacting change outside of this suffocating system. The book traces the long and eminent history of Black radical politics. It is an appeal to reclaim Black radicalism, a movement that has been diluted and moderated over time, willfully misrepresented and caricatured by others, and divested of its potency and potential for global change. Through chapters that center on topics such as cultural nationalism, black Marxism, and black survival, and including Black feminist and LGBTQ perspectives, Andrews explores the true roots of this tradition. He shows how its rich past encompasses figures such as Marcus Garvey, Angela Davis, and the Black Panthers, and then connects the dots to today's struggles by showing what the politics of Black radicalism might look like in the twenty-first century.

Andrews maintains there is hope that revolutionary change is possible. But he warns there can be no hesitation or excuses: "It's already too late to be standing on the side-lines waiting to see whether you should commit." Back to Black is the definitive book on the roots and evolution of Black radicalism. It is a radiant call-to-action from one of the world's most daring Black political voices.


"A fiery, in-depth investigation of black radicalism and a call for a more revolutionary, liberated society across the globe." -- Foreword Reviews

"Andrews is ferocious and brilliant and absolutely indispensable." -- Junot Díaz

"And of what is attainable: survival or liberation? Andrews's book inspires such reflection, and what is to be gained from Back to Black is the inferred possibility and perceived hopefulness of the existence of an anti-oppressive society." -- LSE Review of Books

"Back to Black redefines the Black radicalism which came to prominence through the work of Malcom X during the civil rights movement against a whole host of ideologies with which is it constantly confused. Black radicalism is not, he tells us, simply "a tradition" we need to understand it "as its own political ideology", and a blueprint for major change ... For debates about global inequality and injustice to progress, we need writers like Kehinde Andrews." -- New Statesman

About the Author:

Kehinde Andrews is associate professor of sociology in the School of Social Sciences at Birmingham City University. He developed Europe's first Black Studies undergraduate degree. Andrews is also director of the Centre for Critical Social Research, founder of the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity, and cochair of the Black Studies Association. He writes for the Guardian, among other outlets, and has made videos for BBC Viewsnight, Guardian Online, and TED Talks.