Nikhil Singh’s essay for our "Reading Racial Conflict" series reflects on the work of black activist and intellectual Jack O’Dell. For Singh, O’Dell’s historical analysis of the relationship between antiracist and anticapitalist movements is relevant in a moment in which voices on the American left are debating the compatibility between politics of the (white) working class vis-à-vis that of marginalized identities. O’Dell’s focus on the reinventing of black freedom struggles over the long term provides an opportunity to consider the present in light of that history.
Nikhil Pal Singh
Nikhil Pal Singh is associate professor of social and cultural analysis and history at New York University and the founding faculty director of the NYU Prison Education Program. Singh is the author of Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2004) and editor of Climbin’ Jacob’s Ladder: The Black Freedom Movement Writings of Jack O’Dell (University of California Press, 2010). His new book Race and America’s Long War will be published by University of California Press in the fall of 2017. A second book, Exceptional Empire: Colonialism in the US Cold War, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in 2018.