Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Annual Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture

Linton Kwesi Johnson
Giving the Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture


Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in 1952 in Chapelton, Jamaica. He moved to London in 1963 and went on to read Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

His first book of poems, Voices of the Living and the Dead, was published by the Race Today imprint in 1974.  His second book, Dread, Beat an' Blood (1975) includes poems written in Jamaican dialect, and was released as a record in 1978.

A selection of his poetry, entitled Mi Revalueshanary Fren, was published in 2002 with an introduction by Fred D'Aguiar. In 2005 he was awarded a Musgrave medal by the Institute of Jamaica, for eminence in the field of poetry.

Wednesday 12th November

7.15pm, Arts Centre, Conference Centre 

"Brilliant Jamaican poet - the alternative poet laureate" Time Out


Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture Series

From "For Walter Rodney"
in Selected Poems by Martin Carter,
Red Thred Women's Press, 1997.

Assassins of the conversation
they bury the voice
they assassinate, in the beloved
grave of the voice,
never to be silent …

The Centre for Caribbean Studies in 1984 also established the Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture in recognition of the work and life of one the most outstanding scholar-activist of the Black Diaspora in the post World War II era. Rodney's scholarship and activism encompassed "grounding with his brothers" in Guyana (his country of birth), the wider Caribbean, Africa, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. He was one of the founders of the Working People's Alliance in Guyana in the late 1970s, which sought to provide an alternative political option to the Burnham government during that period. Walter Rodney was murdered in Georgetown on 13th June 1980.

Rodney's impact and influence on the historiography of Africa are only part of his legacy evident particularly in his many articles in both academic and popular journals. He is best known for his PhD thesis; A History of the Upper Guinea Coast 1545 - 1800 which was published in 1970. His other academic publications include: How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972), Grounding with my Brothers (1969) and A History of the Guyanese Working People 1881 - 1905 (1981).

The Centre and the University routinely invites a distinguished academic or practitioner to deliver the Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture.

The 2007 memorial lecture was given by Professor Clem Seecharan (London Metropolitan University) in November:

  • "Cricket and Empire: The Shaping of West Indian Identity"

The 2006 memorial lecture was given by Sir Trevor McDonald OBE, on Tuesday 14th November.

  • The Challenge of Journalism in the Age of the War on Terror

Previous guest lecturers have included:


The 2005 memorial lecture was in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney.

Professor Hilary Beckles (Principal, Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies, Barbados) spoke on 'Reparations for Slavery and Post-colonial Politics. ': Thursday 27th October 2005, 6.30pm in Room H052 of the Humanities Building.



Read lecture online | Download lecture


In 2003 -
Trevor Phillips - Chairman, Commission for Racial Equality
"Strangers in Our Midst~; Why Europe Needs New People"
Read lecture onlineDownload lecture


Dr Carolyn Cooper (Head of the Department of Literatures in English and Director of the Reggae Studies Unit, Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica)
Erotic Disguises - (Un)dressing the Body in Jamaican Dancehall Culture
Read lecture online | Download lectureMicrosoft word document

Dr Harry Goulbourne
The State, Politics and Violence in the Anglophone Caribbean

Miguel Barnet
The African Presence in Cuban Culture

Dr Michael Gilkes
Creative Schizophrenia - The Caribbean Cultural Challenge

Professor Stuart Hall
Myths of Caribbean Identity

Sir Shridath Ramphal
Reforming the Global Order
Read lecture online | Download lectureMicrosoft word document

Professor Sidney Mintz
Goodbye Columbus : Second Thoughts on the Caribbean Region at Mid-Millennium

Professor Alistair Hennesy
The Americanisation of the Caribbean 1898-1998

Sir Shridath Ramphal
Midnight 2000 : What Caribbean Dawn Does it Herald?

Caryl Phillips
Dispatches from Africa

The Gordon K Lewis Memorial Lecture

November, 1991

The Passionate Advocate : Gordon K Lewis and Caribbean Studies
Anthony Maingot