The C.L.R. James Collection

Documentary heritage submitted by Trinidad and Tobago and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2005.

© The Alma Jordan Library
Manuscript for CLR James' Play Toussaint L'Overture

The C.L.R. James Collection is a unique body of archival material formed by the late Cyril Lionel Robert (C.L.R.) James, one of the leading intellectuals of the 20th century. C.L.R. James (1901-1989) was born in Trinidad and Tobago, although he spent much of his life in Britain and the United States. He was an internationally famous leftist icon: during the 1940s and 1950s, he was a leading theoretician of the Trotskyite wing of American communism; he was also the main ideologue and leftist thinker of the nationalist movement in Trinidad and Tobago during its most radical phase, 1958-1960.

James was also the author of The Black Jacobins, the highly influential historical study of the Haitian Revolution which was published in English, French, German and Italian. Furthermore, he was an inspirational figure in the Pan-African movement from the 1950s to the 1970s. He was a close friend of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first Prime Minister and was extremely influential with leftist African-American intellectuals. A man of wide intellectual interests, James also authored Beyond a Boundary, the seminal work on cricket; the latter is a sport which Britain introduced to much of its empire.

The C.L.R. James Collection consists mainly of primary documents and comprises correspondence, manuscripts, pamphlets, posters, newspaper clippings, sound and video recordings as well as the books that formed James’ personal library.

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