‘Jim-Crowed the World Over’: Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and the Idea of the Global South

In 1946, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay published her second book on the United States. In a chapter that connected American racism to imperialism, she wrote, ‘The international colour line has been challenged and stormed by Asia. No more the colonials will allow themselves to be jim-crowed the world over.’ From the 1920s until the 1980s, Kamaladevi challenged white supremacy within India and on the global stage. In the process, she crafted an expansive and intersectional understanding of what would come to be known as the Global South. At stake was the relationship between local, national, and transnational struggles against racism—as well as the relationship between those struggles and evolving conceptions of feminism, socialism, nonviolence, national sovereignty, and the global community.

Nico Slate is Professor in the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University. His research examines struggles against racism and imperialism in the United States and India. He is the author of Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India (Harvard University Press, 2012); The Prism of Race: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson and the Colored World of Cedric Dover (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating With the World In Mind (University of Washington Press, 2019); and Lord Cornwallis Is Dead: The Struggle for Democracy in the United States and India (Harvard University Press, 2019). He is also the editor of Black Power Beyond Borders (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

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