Jamaican Scholar Lewis to Keynote PuLSE Forum on Garvey, Kamala Harris

Wed, December 2, 2020 9:00 PM – 10:30 PM GMT

An online forum series featuring conversations and interviews with authors of books making impact and creating social change.

The PuLSE Literary Circle is a high profile forum conversation and keynote with authors whose books on issues of social change are making indelible impact across the global literary landscape. The thrust of the forum is to promote critical literature that represents a diverse cultural landscape in the age of a multiracial democracy.

With the election of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris as the first Black woman Vice President-elect of the United States, the Caribbean nation of Jamaica has been placed into the global spotlight, as Harris is also the first woman of Jamaican heritage set to become the second in command of the United States of America.

Jamaica and the entire Caribbean region has long had a prominent presence on Black political life in America. In fact, children of Jamaican and other Caribbean parents have long shaped U.S. politics and have been a force in the Civil Rights Movement and the entire sphere of influence in national politics. Among them is the elder statesman of the Civil Rights Movement Harry Belafonte (Jamaica) Black activist and philosopher Stokeley Carmichael (Trinidad), Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first African American to run for president (Barbados), Eric Holder, the first Black Attorney General (Barbados) and General Colin Powell, the first African American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Jamaica).

The earliest and most notable of these global influencers with deep Caribbean roots is Marcus Garvey, a son of Jamaica and the father of Black nationalism, whose message of Black economic and political empowerment permeated the veins of the American Civil Rights Movement and the contours of the global liberation movements. As a matter of fact, one of the icons of the struggle for Black humanity, Malcolm X, whose mother was from the Caribbean nation of Grenada, was heavily influenced by Garvey. Malcolm’s parents were loyal disciples of the Garvey movement.

The elevation of Senator Harris completes a cycle of history because it encapsulates in vivid terms the under-appreciated but significant and monumental contributions of the Caribbean world to U.S. politics.

The PuLSE Institute, Detroit’s independent and non-partisan anti-poverty think tank, is one of the first institutions in the nation to dive into this significant cultural contribution in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.

The Institute has invited Dr. Rupert Lewis, an internationally renowned Jamaican scholar and authority on Marcus Garvey, whose book Marcus Garvey, documents the forging of his remarkable vision of pan-Africanism, to deliver the keynote address at The PuLSE Institute Literary Circle, on Wednesday, December 2, 4-5:30pm. He will discuss the impact of Garvey on the American experience and how the Black Lives Matter movement is shaping U.S. politics.

The PuLSE Literary Circle is an online conversation series with authors whose books are making impact in the literary world. Lewis’ address will be followed by a Q&A session which will be moderated by nationally renowned journalist, author and culture critic Bankole Thompson, the editor-in-chief of The PuLSE Institute. Thompson is an opinion columnist at The Detroit News, where he writes a twice-a-week column on politics and culture and the host of REDLINE, a popular daily two-hour radio program on 910AM Super Station-Detroit.

Professor Lewis will also examine the overall quest for racial and economic justice in America and across the global Black diaspora which was crystalized in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations this past summer that were borne out of the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Lewis is professor emeritus of political thought in the Department of Government, at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, where he lectured for forty years in political science, political thought and Caribbean, African and global politics.

Professor Lewis is currently a Research Fellow in the PJ Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy at The UWI working with former Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson to build bridges between the Caribbean and Africa. A scholar of the Garvey movement and Caribbean radicalism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Lewis has collaborated with colleagues to organize two international academic conferences on Marcus Garvey at The University of the West Indies in 1973 and 1987. He co-edited two volumes, Garvey, Africa, Europe and the Americas and Garvey: His Work and Impact emerged from these conferences.

He has been an activist for reparative justice since the 1980s and is a member of Jamaica’s National Council on Reparation. For his services to Jamaica the Government of Jamaica awarded him the Order of Distinction, Commander class.

The PuLSE Institute, is an independent non-partisan think tank headquartered in Detroit and committed to deep analysis and examination of the broad spectrum of issues affecting majority of the people who are often left out of the conversation about the future of the city. The Institute works to promote dialogue and debate about socioeconomic issues and how they impact public policy and quality of life in Michigan’s largest city.



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