Left of Karl Marx

by Dr. Carole Boyce Davies 


Africana and English faculty member Carol Boyce Davies has received an award from the Association of Black Women Historians for her historical biography of radical intellectual Claudia Jones.


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On behalf of the 2008 Association of Black Women Historians’ Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award committee, I would like to congratulate Carole Boyce Davies and Duke University Press for winning the 2008 Letitia Woods Brown award for Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones.   The committee unanimously viewed this work as one worthy of the award and the attention of historians in general.   Committee member’s reported comments such as:

This piece explores a previously under researched subject of the Black radial activist Claudia Jones. Davies uses a wide array of documents to examine the political and personal life of Claudia Jones including primary archival materials and interviews.  Paula Seniors, Ph.D.

I was captivated by this book! It is a real page turner, which is hard to find in any history book. Davies’ writing is poetic; her research impeccable; her contribution to the field is unparalleled. The title is brilliant—especially given what Jones added to international radicalism. She was, indeed, “Left of Karl Marx.” So few of the works we consider for this prize are so international
in scope. Davies has made critical contributions to several fields, including Women in the African Diaspora and radical African American women.  Nikki Taylor, Ph.D.

Davies writes about the lifetime desire of Claudia Jones to address injustice led to her multiple arrests, health problems and an absence in American history.  Yet, Jones remained a freedom fighter with politics ideologically to the left of Marx, because she advocated for women’s rights along with social justice. Davies has recovered Jones from the shadow of history giving her a rightful place at the center of scholarship our attention and consumption. Ida Jones, Ph.D.

Ida E. Jones, Ph.D.
Letitia Woods Brown Committee
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©2009 Carole Boyce-Davies