The gentle revolutionary: essays in honour of Jan Carew

A special issue of Race & Class dedicated to black novelist and anti-colonial activist and thinker Jan Carew.

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Best known for his seminal novel Black Midas, Carew was also a founding father of Britain’s Black Power Movement, publishing and editing the paper Magnet.

The Gentle Revolutionary includes articles, essays and tributes from those who have been influenced by Carew’s contribution to movements in Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, the US and Europe.

Dennis Brutus, Roy Heath, Ken Ramchand, Cecil Foster, Frank Birbalsingh, Clinton Cox, Nancy Singham and others underline Guyanese-born Carew’s unique contributions – to creating an indigenous Caribbean literature, in the construction of black identity in Canada and in chronicling the history of pre-Colombian America.

A. Sivanandan, director of the Institute of Race Relations, describes Jan Carew as a ‘renaissance man’:

‘Once in a while, a man or woman comes along who epitomises the best of the worst of time – and shines out like a beacon to signal us to the further shores of hope. Jan Carew is one of them. Born at a time when empire was at its height and growing up when the pus of racism was seeping out from the sores of capital, Jan heralded and helped to shape the cultural revolution against colonialism and racism in poetry, painting, polemic and play. A wandering minstrel uprooted and cast abroad by the imperial imperative, he rooted himself wherever he was in the struggles of the people around him. And he was in many places, wearing many faces, but always in the same cause: freedom for the oppressed and downtrodden – teaching, writing, broadcasting, engaging with mighty men and women such as Malcolm X and Claudia Jones, Cheddi Jagan and Kwame Nkrumah, Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes.’

Race & Class is published quarterly, in January, April, July and October, by Sage Publications for the Institute of Race Relations; individual subscriptions are £27/$47, for four issues, with an introductory rate of £20/$35 for new subscribers.


A5, 92pp., ISBN 0 7619 7489 0, 2002