Review of my new book by Peter Cole

“Historian Seth Markle has written the latest must-have book on Black Power politics. His book is “required reading” because he explores one of Black Power’s (and, more generally, Black nationalism’s) core principles, Pan-Africanism, in a new and novel way. Markle follows Black Power adherents, in the 1960s and ‘70s, as they traveled to and were inspired by the African continent’s Pan-African lodestar of that time, Tanzania, and its legendary leader, Julius Nyerere, who championed Pan-Africanism.

Due to Nyerere and Tanzania’s embrace of Pan-Africanism, many hundreds of radical African Americans and West Indians made pilgrimages to Tanzania, to learn about and support that nation. Some visitors, like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, are legends. So, too, historian Walter Rodney who wrote his still-vital How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972) while teaching at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). Many other less-renowned but still-important African Americans and West Indians also visited Tanzania or settled there in the years from 1964 to 1974, for Markle the pivotal decade. Markle’s book culminates with the much referenced but insufficiently analyzed 6th Pan-African Congress (6PAC), which he treats as tragedy.

Markle does not blow a triumphant horn about these often-glorified subjects. Rather, he frames his book as a cautionary tale. He does not shy away from the many tensions within and limitations of African American and Caribbean encounters with Tanzanians. Markle drives home the complexities that abounded when diasporic Black Power activists ran headlong into Tanzanians striving to build an African socialist nation on the foundation of a one-party political system. Markle’s book offers a fascinating take on a dynamic era as he leads readers from the United States and Guyana to Ghana and South Africa in addition to East Africa.”

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