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2023 James Baldwin Lecture by Bill Fletcher Jr.
None of Us Is Free Unless All Are Free: Anti-Imperialism and the Black Radical Tradition
Co-presented with the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, the UMass Amherst History Department Feinberg Series, and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts
Read More and View Video Recording
From joining with First Nations peoples to contest European settlement to protesting the annexation of foreign territory, the political struggles waged by African Americans have fostered a vibrant Black Radical Tradition consistently opposed to U.S. imperialism. Those drawing on this tradition have not only protested U.S. invasions of other nations as a matter of principle, but also highlighted the interconnections between injustices waged abroad and oppression at home. In doing so, this tradition has often served as the basis for solidarity with those struggling against U.S. imperialism, a solidarity that has helped to inform radical movements here against patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalist exploitation.
Due to inclement weather, this event will now only be on Zoom. A recording will be available on the Feinberg Series website and the History Department's YouTube and Soundcloud. Spanish interpretation and closed captioning will be available.
Bill Fletcher Jr. has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staff person in the national AFL-CIO.
Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941; the co-author (with Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice; and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us!” – And Twenty Other Myths about Unions. Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the web.
The James Baldwin Lecture
The James Baldwin Lecture addresses issues connected to social, economic, and political justice and underpinnings in institutional racism. The lecture honors the late James Baldwin, who taught at UMass for several years. It was established by and made possible with generous support from History Department alumnus Dr. Allen J. Davis '68. This lecture is co-presented by the Department of History, the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Read more. This year, the Baldwin Lecture is co-presented by the 2022-2023 Feinberg Series on histories of U.S. imperialism and anti-imperialist resistance. It is presented by the UMass Amherst Department of History in collaboration with the Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy. The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass Amherst history department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg ’67 and associates. The series is co-sponsored by more than 3 dozen community and university partners. Visit the Feinberg Series webpage for more information about the series.