In October of 1968, Walter Rodney left Jamaica to speak at the Congress of Black Writers in Montreal. The Jamaican government told him to never return.
The Groundings with My Brothers, a collection of speeches that Rodney gave in that year, show exactly why the Jamaican government banned him.
Rodney was a revolutionary intellectual activist committed to educating and organizing with oppressed Black people for the sole purpose of revolution. He clearly recognized how even the Black Jamaican government “served the interests of a foreign, white capitalist system” and reenacted the same violence on Black people that their white oppressors did.
Rodney called out the myth of the harmonious, multi-racial Jamaican society that was “designed to justify the exploitation suffered by the blackest of our population” and believed wholeheartedly in the revolutionary power of Black people learning African history.
To end with a quote from Rodney, here he speaks about two principles of learning African history, “Firstly, the effort must be directed solely towards freeing and mobilizing black minds. There must be no performances to impress whites… Secondly, the acquired knowledge of African history must be seen as directly relevant but secondary to the concrete tactics and strategy which are necessary for our liberation. There must be no false distinctions between reflection and action, because the conquest of power is our immediate goal, and the African population at home and abroad is already in combat on a number of fronts.”