A MOTORCYCLE ON HELL RUN: TANZANIA, BLACK POWER, AND THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE OF PAN-AFRICANISM, 1964-1974

(MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2017)

Tanzania emerged as one dynamic force that seized the attention of black political activists, extending, deepening and complicating their relationship with Africa and their conceptions of pan-Africanism. Between 1964 and 1974, a number of Caribbean and African American nationalists, leftists and pan-Africanists travelled to and settled in Dar es Salaam to live and work in a nation that many believed was on the forefront of Africa’s liberation struggle. Tanzania emerged as one dynamic force that seized the attention of black political activists, extending, deepening and complicating their relationship with Africa and their conceptions of pan-Africanism. Between 1964 and 1974, a number of Caribbean and African American nationalists, leftists and pan-Africanists travelled to and settled in Dar es Salaam to live and work in a nation that many believed was on the forefront of Africa’s liberation struggle. “A Motorcycle on Hell Run” revisits “Africa” of the diaspora imagination, focusing on the radical politics and culture that came into being in Dar es Salaam in the 1960s and 1970s. Under the charismatic leadership of its first president, Julius Nyerere, Tanzania would be regarded as beacon of hope, a model of nation building and a leading frontline state in the struggle for African liberation on the continent and beyond. Its foreign polices of Pan-Africanism and Third World solidarity and domestic policy of African Socialism (Ujamaa na Kujitegemea) left a global imprint that has yet to be fully appreciated in historical scholarship. Thus, this a story of travel, collaboration and conflict that critically interrogates pragmatic partnerships and exchanges between the Tanzanian state and its leaders and diaspora political activists, intellectuals and organizations associated with the Black Power movements in the United States and the Caribbean.


POLITICS OF AFRICAN ANTI-COLONIAL ARCHIVE 

(ROWAN & LITTLEFIELD, 2017)

EDITED VOLUME SUMMARY:
African political writing of the mid-20th century seeks to critically engage with questions of identity, history, and the state for the purpose of national and human liberation. Politics of African Anticolonial Archive is a collection essays that reflect on anticolonialism in Africa, broadly defined. Each contribution connects the historical period with the anticolonial present through a critical examination of what constitutes the anticolonial archive. The volume considers archive in a Derridean sense, as always in the process of being constructed such that the assessment of the African anticolonial archive is one that involves a contemporary process of curating. The essays in this volume, as well as the volume itself, enact different ways of curating material from this period.

CHAPTER SUMMARY: 

"The Hip-Hop DJ as Black Archaeologist: Madlib's Beat Konducta in Africa and the Politics of Black Memory"

This chapter examines the ways in which Madlib, an African American sample-based hip-hop producer, utilizes multiple samples as “dialogue and commentary” on the historical significance of African and African diasporic music and the anti-colonial nationalist struggle. Released in March 2010, Medicine Show #3: Beat Konducta in Africa reveals how Madlib inherited a complex set of ideas about Africa and its symbolic centrality to understanding questions about identity formation, racism, culture, history and memory. With this mind, this essay seeks to offer some reflections on the relationship between sample-based hip-hop production, archiving and narration. It is my contention that the hip-hop DJ is a crucial agent for understanding the hip-hop community’s sense of history and how sampling allows hip-hop artists to engage with historical themes and debates about African anti-colonialism.

PEOPLES MOVEMENT ASSEMBLY ORGANIZING HANDBOOK 

(PROJECT SOUTH, 2016)

HANDBOOK SUMMARY: 

Historically, the term was associated with the capitalist production ‘assembly’ line and with religious congregations or school gatherings. Today, we are decolonizing the meaning of assembly – it is a gathering of people of the social movements seeking to practice power through participatory governance and to determine action plans for systemic change. The assembly is not the act of gathering people. The assembly represents the essence of the people who have gathered and the synthesis of their knowledge and commitments. The Peoples Movement Assembly (PMA) process was inspired by the Social Movement Assembly launched at the World Social Forum in 2003 and was launched in the United States. at the first U.S. SOCIAL FORUM in 2007. The PMA process developed alongside numerous forums from 2006 to 2010.

CHAPTER SUMMARY - "6TH Pan African Congress, Tanzania, 1974"

This snapshot from the era of African decolonization and Black Power examines a historical liberation movement using assemblies and assembly practices to gain and grow power on the international arena.  GO HERE for free access to handbook

THE COMPANION TO PUBLIC HISTORY 

(forthcoming, WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2017)

CHAPTER SUMMARY - "A Brief History of Graffiti in Tanzania, 2007-Present" 

Edited by award-winning author and researcher in Public History, David Dean's new edited volume features 36 contributions from 18 different countries, including Seth Markle's chapter on the history of graffiti art in Tanzania. In this essay, Markle draws attention to a blossoming Tanzania graffiti movement, exploring its indigenous and international roots, key historical actors in the culture's making, and  future directions as a tool of youth resistance and individual and collective artistic expression. 

REVOLUTIONARY PAPERWORK: RADICAL PRINT CULTURE AND THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENT 

(forthcoming)

CHAPTER SUMMARY - "'Give Me A Book About Myself': The Drum and Spear Bookstore and the Making of African Diaspora Identity in Chocolate City, 1968-1972:": 

Former activists of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) based out of Washington, DC founded the Drum andSpear Bookstore in 1968, a few days prior to the assassination of Dr. Martin LutherKing, Jr. and the urban rebellions that immediately followed.  For the next four years, these Black Power advocates were engaged in the practice of “memorialization”, serving as rebel archivists in seeking to illustrate the relationship between the present conditions and nature of black oppression of the late 1960s and early 1970s and past racial injustices and inequalities. 

This chapter reflects upon how these activists, most notably the women, attempted to create an institution that could foster a collective black popular memory predicated on notions of racial marginalization, diasporic statelessness, and cultural and political identification with Africa. In emphasizing the physical and strategic location of the bookstore itself; the criterion of selection of the books and other products for sale; the diasporic language employed to describe the bookstore’s aims and objectives; and the architectural/visual decoration of the bookstore (i.e. the colors, the symbols,the posters, etc.), I will draw attention to the layers of meaning associated with bookstores of the Black Power era, including their symbolic, political, cultural, economic function. 


HIP HOP ATLAS

(forthcoming, WORLD HIP HOP MARKET)

EDITED VOLUME SUMMARY: 

The Hip-Hop Atlas gives a comprehensive view of hip-hop culture and music from the South Bronx to (nearly) every country in the world. While hip-hop culture has been growing for 20-30 years outside the USA, only recently has attention shined on some of the amazing talent and messages that global hip hop portrays. Each country has proven to be a unique incubator, taking the foundational elements of hip-hop culture, learning them, then combining them with their respective local cultural and musical forms of expression in order to create a unique and fascinating variation of its American origins. Language, politics, history, indigenous music styles combine differently in France, Ukraine, Brazil, Kenya, India and Australia.They introduce new slang vocabulary, new fashion trends, and new musical genres from Greek Low Bap to Uganda’s Luga Flow which underlines how hip-hop has evolved around the world as a global youth/sub cultural phenomenon.

 "A History of Tanzania Hip Hop", authored by Seth Markle, discusses how hip-hop culture is often used as an expression of local identity, against different forms of marginalization, and, ultimately, empowerment. As such, the existence of these localized hip-hop cultures in a formerly socialist nation embolden a redefinition of what it means to be “hip-hop”, young, and African.

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