29 Facts About Walter Rodney


Walter Anthony Rodney was a Guyanese historian, political activist and academic.


Walter Rodney was born in 1942 into a working-class family in Georgetown, Guyana.


Walter Rodney attended the University College of the West Indies in 1960 and was awarded a first-class honours degree in history in 1963.


Walter Rodney earned a PhD in African History in 1966 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, England at the age of 24.


Walter Rodney was sharply critical of the middle class for its role in the post-independence Caribbean.


Walter Rodney was a strong critic of capitalism and argued that only under "the banner of Socialism and through the leadership of the working classes" could Africa break from imperialism.


The decision to ban him from ever returning to Jamaica and his subsequent dismissal by the University of the West Indies, Mona, caused protests by students and the poor of West Kingston that escalated into a riot, known as the Walter Rodney Riots, resulting in six deaths and causing millions of dollars in damages.

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In 1969, Walter Rodney returned to the University of Dar es Salaam.


Walter Rodney was promoted to senior lecturer there in 1971 and promoted to associate professor in 1973.


Walter Rodney worked at the university until 1974 when he returned to Guyana.


Walter Rodney was promised a professorship at the University of Georgetown in Guyana but the Forbes Burnham government rescinded the offer when Rodney arrived in Guyana.


Walter Rodney continued his pan-African activism and, analysing the causes of the continent's underdevelopment, published How Europe Underdeveloped Africa in 1972.


Walter Rodney became a prominent Pan-Africanist and Marxist, and was important in the Black Power movement in the Caribbean and North America.


Walter Rodney was due to take up a position as a professor at the University of Guyana, but the Guyanese government prevented his appointment.


On 13 June 1980, Walter Rodney was killed in Georgetown, at the age of 38, by a bomb explosion in his car, a month after he returned from celebrations of independence in Zimbabwe at a time of intense political activism.


Walter Rodney was survived by his wife, Patricia, and three children.


Walter Rodney believed that the various ethnic groups historically disenfranchised by the ruling colonial class should work together, a position that challenged Burnham's hold on power.


Yearwood testified that Walter Rodney presented detonators to him weeks prior to the explosion asking for assistance in assembling a bomb.


Yet the same Commission of Inquiry concluded in their report that Walter Rodney's death was a state-ordered killing, and that then Prime Minister Forbes Burnham must have had knowledge of the plot.


Walter Rodney's analysis went far beyond the previously accepted approach in the study of Third World underdevelopment.


Walter Rodney was a pioneering scholar who provided new answers to old questions and posed new questions in relation to the study of Africa.


Walter Rodney was clearly one of the most solidly ideologically situated intellectuals ever to look colonialism and its contemporary heir black opportunism and exploitation in the eye.


In How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Walter Rodney painstakingly argues that imperialism and the various processes that bolstered colonialism created impenetrable structural blockades to economic, and thus, political and social progress on the continent.


Walter Rodney's community-grounded approach to mass education during the 1960s and his detailed descriptions of his pedagogical approach in Groundings document his role as an important critical pedagogue and contemporary of Paulo Freire.


Since 2004, an annual Walter Rodney Symposium has been held each 23 March at the Center under the sponsorship of the Library and the Political Science Department of Clark Atlanta University, and under the patronage of the Rodney family.

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In 2006, an International Conference on Walter Rodney was held at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam.


In 2006, the Walter Rodney Foundation was established by the Rodney family.


In 2012, the Walter Rodney Conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of the publication of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa was held at Binghamton University.


Walter Rodney is listed on the Black Achievers Wall in the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, UK.