C. L. R. James
(1901-1989)

Died aged c. 88

Cyril Lionel Robert James (4 January 1901 – 31 May 1989), who sometimes wrote under the pen-name J. R. Johnson, was an Afro-Trinidadian historian, journalist and socialist. His works are influential in various theoretical, social, and historiographical contexts. His work is a staple of subaltern studies, and he figures as a pioneering and influential voice in postcolonial literature. A tireless political activist, James's writing on the Communist International stirred debate in Trotskyist circles, and his history of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins, is a seminal text in the literature of the African Diaspora. Characterised by one literary critic as an "anti-Stalinist dialectician", James was known for his autodidactism, for his occasional playwriting and fiction — his 1936 book Minty Alley was the first novel by a black West Indian to be published in Britain — and as an avid sportsman. He is also famed as a writer on cricket, and his 1963 book, Beyond a Boundary, which he himself described as "neither cricket reminiscences nor autobiography", is often named as the best single book on any sport, ever written.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

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C. L. R. James 1901-1989 West Indian writer and political activist lived and died here

165 Railton Road, Brixton, Lambeth, SE24, London, United Kingdom where they lived and died (1989)