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 (

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.