An oral history of the UK’s soundsystem culture, featuring interviews with Dubmaster Dennis Bovell, Skream, Youth, Norman Jay, Adrian Sherwood, Mala, & others. In the years following the arrival of the Windrush generation, the UK’s soundsystem culture would become the most important influence on contemporary pop music since rock n roll. Pumped through towering, home-built speakers, often directly onto the thronged streets of events like the Notting Hill Carnival, the pulsating bass lines of reggae, dub, rave, jungle, trip hop, dubstep, & grime have shaped the worlds of several generations of British youth culture but have often been overlooked by historians obsessed with swinging London, punk, & Britpop.

This oral history, consisting of new interviews conducted by respected dance music writer Joe Muggs, and accompanied by dramatic portraits … More

Born on the 12 January 1931, Jamaican tenor saxophonist, and one of the founding members of The Skatalites, Roland Alphonso. In 1948 he left school to join Eric Deans’ orchestra and soon passed through other bands in the hotel circuit and first recorded as a member of Stanley Motta’s group in 1952, going on to record frequently as a session musician. In 1956 he first recorded for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, although these early recordings were lost before they were mastered.

When the Skatalites disbanded by August 1965, Alphonso formed the Soul Brothers (with Johnny “Dizzy” Moore, and Jackie Mittoo) to … More

He was the Wicked Wilson Pickett, the legendary soul man whose forty-plus hits included “In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1000 Dances,” “Mustang Sally,” and “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You.” Remarkably handsome and with the charisma to match, Wilson Pickett was considered by many to be the greatest, the most visceral and sensual of the classic 1960s soul singers, and as a man who turned screaming into an art form, the most forceful of them all. He wasthe living embodiment of soul. More than that, Wilson Pickett’s journey reads like a guide to popular black American music in the late 20th century.

For this first-ever accounting of Wilson Pickett’s life, bestselling biographer Tony Fletcher interviewed members of the singer’s family, friends and … More

Born OTD in 1901, Trinidadian historian, journalist, cricket fan & socialist, C.L.R. James. C.L.R. James is one of the 20th century’s most remarkable individuals. As the author of the influential book The Black Jacobins, he is widely recognized as the premier scholar of slave revolt; the publication of his acute & sensitive volume Beyond a Boundary established an equal reputation as a historian of sport; & his tireless political & intellectual interventions have become the hallmark of a highly creative Marxist thinker, a brilliant dialectician & the last surviving pioneer of Pan-African liberation.

James’s work has never previously been studied in its entirety. Now Paul Buhle, a longtime editorial collaborator with James, has … More

Born OTD in 1949, Jamaican singer Marcia Griffiths. “How Marcia Griffiths came to find herself at Studio One is a story of being in the right place at the right time, although in Kingston during the 1960s, right places were plentiful as musicians of all types were springing up all around – sound systems on corner after corner, trombones & trumpets in Coxsone Dodd’s, Duke Reid’s & Leslie Kong’s studios..”

In a music world that was rougher than rough, where men took monikers of royalty and machismo like Duke and … More

Be inspired by the lives of trailblazers past and present in this fun and factual biography series! How did Harriet Tubman help hundreds of enslaved people reach freedom? Born into slavery on a Maryland plantation, Harriet’s life was full of hardship. In 1849, she made the brave decision to run away, journeying north on the Underground Railroad. Despite the dangers, she returned to the South again and again, leading many others to safety.

Discover the story of this amazing abolitionist and find out how she overcame every obstacle in the fight for freedom. … More

Born out of resistance to slavery and colonialism, the Black radical tradition has a long and proud history, one which reaches from Marcus Garvey and the Black Panthers to the Black Lives Matter activists of today. And yet, the Black radical tradition has also consistently been one of the most misrepresented and misunderstood. The Politics of Black Radicalism explores the roots of this tradition, while also considering what a renewed politics of Black radicalism might look like in the 21st century.

Surveying Black radicalism’s many varied forms and influences, and incorporating feminist and LGBT perspectives, Andrews shows that Black radicalism has … More

Born OTD in 1887, Jamaican-born political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey was one of the greatest black leaders of the 20th century. His is a story of a man who launched an idea on the tide and created a flood in the worldwide development of black political consciousness. As the leader of America’s first mass political movement of black people, Gerbey’s achievements were both enormous in their scale and long-lasting in their effects. This is an in-depth biography and history of this great man who envisaged so much and inspired so many.

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Born OTD in 1946, Cuban-Jamaican singer, Rita Marley. “..When Beverly would travel to Studio One from Trench Town she says she and the Wailing Wailers would take a short cut through the Calvary Cemetary and pass Rita Anderson’s home…. Not only did Beverly help launch their career, but her connection also brought Rita Anderson and Bob Marley together. They were married on the 10th February, 1966.”

In a music world that was rougher than rough, where men took monikers of royalty and machismo like Duke and … More

Born OTD in 1925, French West Indian psychiatrist, political philosopher, revolutionary, & writer from the French colony of Martinique, Frantz Fanon. Fanon’s works are influential in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory & Marxism. Philosopher, psychoanalyst, politician, propagandist, prophet…although difficult to categorize, Fanon is one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century & one of our most powerful writers on race & revolution. The book opens with a biography, following Fanon from his birthplace of Martinique through combat in World War II & education in France, to his heroic involvement in the fights for Algerian independence & African decolonization.

Fanon For Beginners concludes by examining Fanon’s influence on political practice, such as the Black Power movement in the United States, … More