Black Power for the Third World: Decolonizing Pedagogies, Revolutionary Transnationalism, and Britain's Black Liberation Front
William Christopher Johnson

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Toronto

Primary Discipline

History of Education
This study uncovers a broad range of education projects designed by members of the Black Liberation Front (BLF) to safeguard the welfare of African, Asian, and Arab people in Britain and to ensure the destruction of global imperialism. Founded in North London in 1971, the BLF was a Third World revolutionary socialist organization that provided education, vocational training, employment and empowerment to Black British people for more than two decades. A small, clandestine collective of first and second-generation immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, the BLF emerged at the intersection of diasporas, and built self-help social welfare programs within Britain for the vulnerable and neglectedââ?¬â?particularly black youth, unemployed and homeless populations, and prisoners and formerly incarcerated people. Globally, the BLF leveraged their position as migrant exiles living in the metropole to support indigenous liberation movements in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean through education, consciousness raising, and material aid. For self-described ââ?¬Å?Third World minoritiesââ?¬Â ensnared in a global, imperial web of anti-black discourses and practices, the BLF turned to education as the first step toward dismantling the logics of settler colonialism, and enacting forms of self-governance that could usher a postcolonial future.
About William Christopher Johnson
W. Chris Johnson is an interdisciplinary scholar of black diasporas. His research uncovers transnational histories of gender and black liberation. This work situates mobility, kinship, and decolonial education projects as adhesives that knit together disparate but interconnected revolutionary movements across Africa, the Caribbean, North America, and the United Kingdom during the 20th century. Johnson grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, where he first learned about Black Power. His essays have appeared in Gawker, Gender & History, the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, the International Journal of Francophone Studies, and the edited collection Black British History: New Perspectives. He holds an A.B. in English and History from Vassar College, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in African American Studies and History from Yale University. In addition to these institutions, Johnson?s research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the American Historical Association, the Marcus Garvey Foundation, and Colorado College, where he was a Riley Scholar-in-Residence. He is an assistant professor in the Women & Gender Studies Institute and the Department of History at the University of Toronto.

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