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Additional info for C. L. R. James on the ''Negro Question''
Friends had tried to dissuade him from travelling by himself. James knew about the social code governing race relations in the American South. He assured the comrades that he wasn't planning to foment revolution; he just wanted to see things for himself. " 24 James steeled himself for the experience. But reading the newspapers and the novels of William Faulkner had scarcely prepared him for the world of Jim Crow. Needing a ride, James held his hand out in the street to hail a cab. One finally stopped, a short distance away.
In the 1930s, it was "a midget firm, fragile as bone china," as Fredric Warburg recalled, but it was growing. 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.
James tried to bring together Marxist concepts and the history of African-American movements; each must stretch to incorporate the other's insights. During his stay in the United States, James worked out a thoroughgoing critique of Trotskyism, and sought to reformulate his understanding of Marxism in new terms. This course of study and argument culminated in three book-length worksNotes on Dialectics (1948), Notes on American Civilization (1950), and State Capitalism and World Revolution (1950)which had very restricted circulation at the time.