‘Do what the Afro-Americans are doing’: Black Power and the start of the Northern Ireland Troubles

Journal article


Prince, S. 2015. ‘Do what the Afro-Americans are doing’: Black Power and the start of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Journal of Contemporary History. 50 (3), pp. 516-535. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022009414557908
AuthorsPrince, S.
Abstract

This article challenges the local focus of much of the work on the Northern Ireland Troubles, by examining the importance of the impact that Black Power movements had on activists in the 1960s and 1970s. It is not, however, the story of the transnational diffusion of the ideas of a US movement to a nation-state on the periphery. Conceiving of the West in the ‘cycle of protest years’ as a networked space, this article argues that Northern Ireland during its Black Power moment was the unique and fleeting coming together of many different trajectories. The left-wing activists used Black Power to build transnational networks of revolt and to inspire local political struggles; the British authorities used the information that they collected from around the world on Black Power as a lens through which to view subversives and as a resource for making strategy. The start of the Troubles was interpreted by actors on both sides of the barricades as a forerunner of the class and race conflicts to come in the West, not as the latest small, local war in Britain's retreat from empire.

Year2015
JournalJournal of Contemporary History
Journal citation50 (3), pp. 516-535
PublisherSAGE
ISSN0022-0094
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0022009414557908
Publication dates
PrintJul 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Sep 2015
Accepted11 Oct 2014
Output statusPublished
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