Sunday, June 13, 2010

Walter Rodney remembered in Peckham

Red roses placed in Peckham today in remembrance of Walter Rodney (1942-80), who was killed thirty years ago on 13 June 1980. Rodney was a key figure in Caribbean radical politics in the 1960s and 70s. He wrote a number of influential books including 'How Europe under-developed Africa' and 'A History of the Guyanese Working People, 1881-1905'. In 1968 there were riots in Jamaica after Rodney was banned from the island by the Government because of his political activities. After a spell in Tanzania, he returned to his native Guyana where he helped form the Working People's Alliance. He faced intense repression, and was seemingly entrapped by a state agent into handling the explosive device which killed him.

In 2005, palm trees were planted in Peckham square (between the library and the swimming pool) in Rodney's honour. The plaque describes him as 'local resident, historian and global freedom fighter'.

According to Walter Rodney's intellectual and political thought by Rupert Lewis, Walter Rodney came to London in 1963 to study African history at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He also joined a marxist study group around CLR James (who later wrote Walter Rodney and the Question of Power), and spoke regularly in Hyde Park. In 1966 he left to teach in Tanzania. So presumably it was in the 1963 to 1966 period that Rodney lived in South London, though I haven't been able to find any more details. Does anyone know any more?

Linton Kwesi Johnson commemorated him in the track Reggae fi Radni:



Diging in here might reveal Rodney's South London connection. Hope someone has time to!

Transpontine said...

did you mean to leave a link there Ruinist?!


Oops! I did. Also Black Cultural Archives in Brixton has a box file of Rodney cuttings and all.

Anonymous said...

Link not working