Programs: C.L.R. James Book Donation Project

The Onyx Foundation paused its programming in 2010, but aims to resume its public engagement efforts soon. Please see a record of our past efforts below.

This project seeks first and foremost to promote the legacy of C.L.R. James (1901-1989), an insurgent thinker of both the Pan-African and international labor movements. Best known as the author of The Black Jacobins, the classic account of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Haitian Revolution, his belief in the capacity of everyday people to be self-governing distinguished his entire career. James’ charismatic lecture tours and teaching engagements, in university classrooms and movement study groups, were instrumental in coalescing the collective memory of the Black radical tradition. C.L.R. James taught some of the first Black Studies courses at Northwestern University and Federal City College in 1969 and 1970. He insisted that individuals of all races appreciate the contributions by peoples of African descent to Western and American civilization as a whole.

We have chosen a number of academic libraries to receive a donation of several books written by or in collaboration with Mr. James including:

  • American Worker
  • Facing Reality
  • History of Pan-African Revolt
  • C.L.R. James on the Negro Question
  • Modern Politics
  • Negro Americans Take the Lead

The ideas of democratic governance, community self-management of economic, social, and judicial affairs are prominent in these works. We are donating these books to a number of academic institutions, to encourage students and faculty to consider these ideas and use them in practice in their scholarship and community organizing.

The struggles James confronts in his writings are still relevant today as people attempt to formulate political, economic and social systems promoting democracy and independence. The founders of the Onyx Foundation, consisting of educators and community activists, believe that the best way to meet these challenges is to encourage initiatives by those living and working closest to where problems are located. We promote collaboration among community-based initiatives for educational and cultural autonomy, seeking to ensure participation by men and women from diverse backgrounds regardless of creed or national origin. The Onyx Foundation is one source of support for these activities, providing grants or loans for projects that build knowledge and strengthen organizations and networks on a national and international level. This book donation project is just one of many programs furthering these goals.

We are pleased to announce that libraries from the following institutions and organizations received the foundation’s donation of materials:

2008 Recipients

  • Miami-Dade County Public Library
  • North Carolina Central University
  • Oakland Public Library (California)
  • University of Oregon

2007 Recipients

  • Abahlali baseMjondolo (South Africa)
  • Alabama State University
  • Los Angeles Public Library
  • Mississippi Valley State University
  • Philadelphia Free Library
  • Red Thread (Guyana)
  • Tennessee State University
  • Trinidad Oilfield Workers Trade Union Library

2006 Recipients

  • Atlanta University Center (Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, Spelman College)
  • Auburn Avenue Research Library, Atlanta-Fulton County Public Libraries
  • Florida A&M University
  • Oberlin College
  • San Francisco State University
  • Savannah State University
  • University of Arizona, Tucson
  • University of Missouri, St. Louis
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • University of the District of Columbia
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • University of the West Indies, Trinidad
  • Xavier University (New Orleans)
  • Youngstown State University