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Over the following weeks, he visited cities in Ohio and Michigan. ") He spent a week in Chicago, where, debating pacifism with the prominent philosopher and lecturer Bertrand Russell, James made a powerful argument for socialist revolution as the only alternative to world war. By a vote of the audience, James won the debate. 6 The tour continued through the West, ending in California in early March. " After the minister made some opening remarks, James took the podium. Aware that most of his listeners would have to get up for work early the next morning, he announced that the lecture would be no more than forty-five minutes long.
The core of the book consists of three major works: "Preliminary Notes on the Negro Question" (1939), "The Historical Development of the Negroes in American Society" (1943), and "The Revolutionary Answer to Page xxxi the Negro Problem in the United States" (1948). Each document represents an effort by James to synthesize his observations, reading, and theoretical perspectives. These are theoretical texts; yet each one also bears some trace of James's personal engagement with the American scene.
1 It was also the press that published George Orwell. The Black Jacobins appeared the same year as Homage to Catalonia, Orwell's report from the trenches of the Spanish Civil War. Page xii The most vivid portrait of James during the 1930s comes from Fredric Warburg, who deftly conveys the impression his author made in literary and political circles: A dark-skinned West Indian Negro from Trinidad, he stood six feet three inches in his socks and was noticeably good-looking. His memory was extraordinary.