Revolutionary Papers

A year long series on the archival remnants of African and black diaspora anti-colonial movement materials to retrieve a politics and pedagogy that challenge the contemporary cooptation of radical histories. Guest editors: Mahvish Ahmad, Koni Benson, and Hana Morgenstern from the Revolutionary Papers project (

Nigeria's archives of revolutionary printmaking offers us insights into the dissident voices of the country's old left, which are surprisingly relevant today.

Christian theology was appropriated to play an integral role in the justifying apartheid’s racist ideology. Black theologians resisted through a theology of the oppressed.

We hardly think of children as agents of change. At the height of 1980s apartheid repression in South Africa, a group of activists did and gave them the tool of print.

The 1959 Pidjiguiti Massacre served as an important historical marker in the curriculum of the anticolonial resistance in Guinea-Bissau.

How an experimental periodical led by an individual editor thrived in Nasserist Cairo even though it never joined the canon of revolutionary print.

How 'Dawn' magazine illustrates the significant role women played in South Africa’s armed struggle against apartheid.

Two miles from the White House, 'Black Land News' forwarded a bold vision of political, economic, and cultural autonomy inspired by African decolonization struggles.

During apartheid, literary magazine 'Staffrider' flourished from its ability to represent multiple social visions. However, it struggled to achieve the same in democratic South Africa.

Many know Frene Ginwala, the iconic anti-apartheid activist, as democratic South Africa’s first speaker of parliament. But few know of her time building pan-African media in Dar Es Salaam.

In the 1980s, the South African arts collective Vakalisa Art Associates reclaimed time as a tool of social control through their subversive calendars.

In doing the intellectual activist work of editing and supporting cultural production, literary magazines have been crucial for Black cultural renaissance.

In its first few years, the magazine 'Révolution Africaine' opened possibilities for Franco-Algerian cooperation. It was then co-opted by the state.

Revisiting the papers of left, anti-colonial revolt from the continent can remind us of messy, rich alternatives.