China and the Black Liberation Struggle in America

About this Episode

Guests
James Watson-Krips

From Mao Zedong to Martin Luther King Jr., China has a long and complex history of interaction with African American movements for equal rights. Please join Ohio State University’s Melvin Barnes Jr. and Princeton University’s James Watson-Krips as they discuss Barnes’ research on the history of Chinese-African American interactions from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter.

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Cite this Site

Melvin Barnes Jr. , "China and the Black Liberation Struggle in America" , Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective
July, 2020
https://origins.osu.edu/historytalk/china-and-black-liberation-struggle-america?language_content_entity=en.
July, 2020

Transcript

James Watson-Krips 

Hello, everyone. Welcome to this discussion with Melvin Barnes, PhD candidates at Ohio State University Department history. My name is James Watson Crips PhD student at Princeton University's Department of East Asian Studies. Today's discussion will center mostly on Melvin's research. And its relevance to not only Chinese history generally, but also US China relations today. And today's discussion is brought to you by The Ohio State University Institute for Chinese Studies. Melvin, thank you so much for being with us today.

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Hey, no problem.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Everything good over Columbus?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, things are. They're pretty good over here. The weather's great. Just trying to adjust to this socially distant world that we live in now. But yeah, pretty good. I can't complain.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Awesome. Well, I know you're finishing your dissertation research. You know, we've had plenty of discussions in the past. So I'm really just interested and excited to hear more about where it's, where it's come along to and how things are progressing. So why don't we just get right into it. So for those of you who viewing at home, or those listening in who obviously are not familiar with what Melvin's doing, I'll let him tell us directly from the source about what's your research on and why should we consider it important in today's environment right now?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, so my dissertation, "Revolution and Race, the African American Freedom Struggle in the Chinese Imagination," just for the quick elevator pitch, it basically looks at how Chinese people have viewed the African American freedom struggle from 1920 until about 1989. And my significant finding is that, you know, the the big driver, behind sort of how Chinese people have looked at the African American freedom struggle has been sort of domestic politics in China, and sort of, you know, Chinese people's perception of themselves and where their country is at.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Cool. So with that in mind, then this discussion of the domestic versus, I guess, the outside influences and different kinds of lenses? Or would you mind putting the researcher in a bit of context, so not only within the, you know, historiography, but also within studies, generally. I know, your work cuts across a number of different different disciplines. So for those interested in, you know, the larger questions of history, geography, and also how the field is evolving, maybe you can kind of put it in the kind of larger perspective.

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, so this is going to take us all the way back to the early '90s. So in 1992, we had the LA riots, and sort of that was one of those moments where you could really see the tension between African American communities and certain Asian American communities in the United States. In particular, in this case, it was the Korean American community. And in the wake of that riot, there were scholars in the United States who sort of wanted to highlight a different aspect of Sino African American interaction. So they went through and evaluated sort of the historical ties between African Americans and China, African Americans in Japan, and African Americans, with Korea and Vietnam. And those initial studies were, you know, done by and large by a specialist on of African American History. And by the early 2000s, you had specialists in Chinese studies starting to sort of wade into these discussions. But I think there's still been a sort of focus on the narratives of African American leftists, some people might call them radicals, things of that sort. And I think that the, the image, or the picture that we have painted, has been greatly influenced by their sort of analyses. So I, you know, my sort of history, history of graphical intervention has been to sort of put China at the center of this discussion, and see sort of what their outlook was, with regards to those interactions. So, you know, in terms of my research, I've, you know, started looking at a lot more Chinese sources, and placing those as my primary focus.

 

James Watson-Krips 

That's great. So I think that's an that's an interesting point you make about shifting your new your focus from being American centric, or outside looking into, I guess, the Chinese side, inside looking out. And I was curious if you could talk to us a little bit more, not only about the source material that you just mentioned in Chinese, but also some of the actors and individuals that you have as your profile throughout your, I guess, 60-70 year time period here. So maybe we can start with those individuals. And then we can move into the source base and the sort of materials that you're using to kind of tease out the storylines.

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, so at the the center of my dissertation is one particular Chinese Individual His name is Yong Zhang Mao. And he's a scholar who did most of his teaching at non chi university. But he's also a US trained scholar. So he did, he attended college or parts of his university education in California, before returning to China in 1946, I believe. And so he's the sort of person that I've built most of this story around. One reason why he's important is because NACA University was one of the first universities in the People's Republic of China to establish an American Studies Institute. And a lot of what they did in the 1960s, and then into the 1970s, really picks up in the late 1970s was they took part in the production of books on the African American information, a developing information on the African American freedom struggle. So he's at the center of my narrative. But in terms of other Chinese sources that I use, I use a lot of newspaper articles, magazine articles, the first chapter of my dissertation focuses on a lot of sort of magazine articles from between 1920 and 1945. And so, beyond the focus on those articles, I also do still take a look at the the writings of African American leftist or black radicals. Because I think that it offers an opportunity to sort of look at the places where their ideas line up with what's being written in China and the places where you can see that there's a very clear disconnect. And in terms of the the people that I've featured, I've featured Robert F. Williams, and Victoria Garvin. These are two people who have sort of been looked at in the past. But my hopes are to sort of place them in a sort of deeper into the Chinese context, and looking at sort of where their ideas converge and then diverged with Chinese thinking at the time.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Interesting, would you mind giving us all a little bit of more background information on Robert Williams and Victoria government and what they were advocating, and how their how their journey has brought them to China?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, so I'll start with Robert F. Williams. Williams was born in Monroe, Monroe, North Carolina. And he was actually politically active very early on in the 1950s. He became the head of Monroe's NAACP chapter. And what unfortunately happened to him was he got caught up in what ultimately ultimately became a kidnapping case. There were a few, there was a Caucasian couple, who was passing through passing through the black community at a time when there was essentially sort of a lot of unrest going on. And these people, according to Williams, his account, he brought these people into his home and sort of protected them from the the, the African Americans who were outside, that were calling to harm these people. And eventually, he was able to help them sort of get out of get out of that community. But after, after sort of helping them get out, he was sort of charged with kidnapping. So rather than remain in the United States, he and his family fled first north to Canada, and then they ultimately ended up in Cuba. And that was, I believe, in 1961. So then, from there, he ends up traveling, he ends up reaching out to Mao in 1963 Miles famous statement in support of the African American freedom struggle, was actually sort of written in response to a letter that Robert Williams had written to Mao but ultimately, he ended up sort of wearing out his welcome in Cuba, and then he relocates to the PRC in 1966. And he stays there from 1966 until 1969. When he finally comes back to the States, and ideologically, what he was trying to do was he wanted to sort of take African Americans from being a minority in the United States and transform them into being a sort of global majority. So his outreach was sort of in building a global coalition that could be used to sort of assist African Americans in the United States. And Victoria Garvin, her path was different. She was a she was a had long been a labor organizer in the United States. But in the 1950s, she sort of became disillusioned with politics in the US and, and with the Communist Party USA. So she leaves for West Africa. And it was while she was working as an English language teacher in Ghana, that she met the Chinese ambassador to Ghana, Wonka, and he eventually asked her to relocate to the People's Republic of China to teach English there. At the time, she didn't know a whole lot about the PRC. But, you know, given her sort of, given her political positions in the US, you know, as a Communist Party member, and things like that, you know, she was largely sympathetic to the sort of Chinese cause. And she shows up in China, and eventually teaches English there until about 1970.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Okay, now, that's fascinating, I asked this, because even you know, for someone like myself, who's also, you know, operating or working in the field of modern Chinese history, a lot of these stories, I think, are oftentimes overshadowed by the bigger kind of broad strokes of history. So I think it's important to not only uncover these voices, but also, you know, complicate existing narratives. And with that in mind that that was my next question is what is the research that you've done into? Victoria Garvin into Robert Williams, and into Professor Jung, what what kinds of I guess things have you uncovered? What kind of complications? What is having your bias has been confirmed if any of your initial assumptions has been? No, I guess, up ended? What has been some of the more interesting and surprising findings you found over the course of your dissertation?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, you know, one thing that I think going into looking at the materials that Garvin and Williams left behind was that I think, you know, I suspected that a lot in a lot of their interactions there, because there was going to be a lot of sort of miscommunications, or that they wouldn't sort of really have a good idea of what was going on in China at the time. And I think by looking at sort of Chinese sources, in addition to these sources, what it really highlights is, I think that you know, Williams and Garvin both had a really good grasp on what was happening in China while they were there. I don't think that either of them. I think Williams ultimately, you know, learn to speak some Chinese but I don't think that they ever really were were fluent in Chinese Williams was probably, yeah, I'm not sure that they were ever fluent in Chinese. But I think that nonetheless, they were still able to sort of get a pretty good understanding of what was going on. But I think one of the bigger things that I learned from looking at the Chinese sources, in addition to the sources left behind by the by Williams and Garvin is that it really shifts, the points that we find to be the really the really important points are the bookends of this story. I think that when we place the focus on the African American perspective, for them, as actors who are sort of working to build a coalition against sort of racial oppression in the United States, sino us approachment in and around 1972 was a was sort of a significant moment that sort of kind of signaled the the beginning of the decline for those relationships between African American radicals or leftist and, and the PRC, but from looking at it from the PRC perspective, one thing that I've sort of discovered, you know, is that in 1972, these Chinese, you know, friends of theirs didn't necessarily think like, Oh, we're going to abandon our, you know, our African American friends, in 1972, the picture looks quite different. Really, the big shift for them comes after the conclusion of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. And with Mao's death in 1976, where you start to have a sort of different political objectives coming into play in and around 1978. And that really signals a big shift in sort of how Chinese people imagined what was going on in the United States as it regards to black people.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Yeah, I think that's, that's interesting, as well, because, you know, a lot of the times you mentioned already that we have these large kind of bookends within history and actuality the reality is often far more complicated than these kinds of manmade or these arbitrary periodization is often often imply, I did want to ask one more follow up question. However, in our previous discussions, you had mentioned not only this this kind of disconnect between the rapprochement in 1972 and this kind of shift post Mao's death and post cultural evolution in 76. You also mentioned there was a shift also earlier Right, because I mean, your research spans from the 1920s, up into the 1980s. So were there any other changes or differences you saw when crossing them? The 1949? Divide?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah. So hey, that is a really good question. The, there were a number of shifts that took place over over the sort of span of time from the 1920s, to 1989. Before 1949, there was a lot of different sort of interpretations of the African American freedom struggle that was playing out in the Chinese imagination. You know, there's been in the literature, there's a lot of discussions about sort of how African Americans were a standard for Chinese suffering. And they also served as a sort of warning as to what might befall the Chinese quote, unquote, race, if, if they fail to sort of stand up and protect the Chinese people. And in that time, you know, we've done a lot of sort of, we've produced a lot of materials that, that focus on the black slave. And a lot of those discussions were revolved around sort of Chinese people avoiding the, you know, future enslavement. And what I found by looking back at the literature was that there's actually sort of a lot of different discussions going on. And one thing that was really unique in the, you know, before 1949, was that Chinese people also look to African Americans as a source of inspiration. So you had, you had Chinese people visiting places like the Hampton Institute, and the Tuskegee Institute, so these sort of African American institutions of higher learning, and they were going there, because they realize that some of the issues that were facing the African American community were the very same issues that we're facing or similar issues that were confronting Chinese people in the PRC. So to give you an example, they would look at sort of the progress that African Americans had made in combating illiteracy. And they would sort of take the lessons that they learned from that back to China in their own efforts to sort of combat illiteracy in the Chinese countryside. So they saw sort of the African Americans, as you know, these, I think one of my documents says that they are from the fields and back to the fields, they would go. And they compare that to the sort of the, the, the Chinese peasantry. And they said that if they wanted to, if they wanted to overcome illiteracy in China, than they needed to uphold the spirit of Booker T, Washington, and make effective change that way.

 

James Watson-Krips 

So in terms of these kinds of threads of solidarity, they seem to be, you know, evolving over time, but also, are some clear parallels between the Republican experience and the people's Republican experience. How did that then change, following, you know, Mao's death and cultural evolution into up into the 80s, and up until 89.

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

So I'm gonna actually go back a little bit before I get to that, and that, and after 1949, the Chinese people, at least in the way that they saw themselves had sort of stood up, they had moved beyond some of those, I guess some of those, I guess, without a better way of putting it, quote, unquote, the lowly position that they had been in before. And in doing so, that changed the mindset. And it moved them away from being able to look at African Americans sort of in as sources of inspiration. Instead, as the sort of commentary changed in the PRC period, African Americans became sort of symbolic of the excesses of capitalism and the United States. So from, you know, in the 1950s, they're viewed African Americans are viewed almost exclusively as victims of racial or economic oppression. So those discussions about the sort of, you know, the achievements of African Americans and those sorts of things, those kind of melt away in the 1950s, and you don't see those sorts of discussions come back around until maybe the 1960s. But that depends on how you frame it. Because in the 1960s, African Americans become synonymous, especially in the late 1960s. They become synonymous with revolution in the United States. And this is also sort of an image that is promoted and cultivated by the small number of African Americans that are living in the PRC at the time. So here I'm specifically referencing Victoria Garvin and Robert F. Williams. So as sort of things start to pick up in the US in terms of sort of the long hot summers of the 1960s. And then you eventually have the emergence of the Black Power movement. They are sort of contextualizing these events for the Chinese people, but they're also presenting them as sort of markers of revolution in the United States. So what this ultimately does is it starts to confirm the sort of lessons of the Chinese revolution, because they're saying, you see this revolution developing in the United States. And then they're also making the case that these these African Americans in the United States are grasping sort of Mao Zedong thought or picking up the lessons that of the Chinese revolution. So by the 1960s, this starts to produce the sense that, yes, these African Americans are learning from China, and developing a more revolutionary consciousness. But after 1976, you know, the Chinese people had just endured, you know, roughly a decade of the Cultural Revolution. So, the sort of discussions of revolution, revolutionary violence, those things are not the discussions that a lot of Chinese people or citizens are excited to have, after the Cultural Revolution. So as Dong XIAO PING comes to power, and the emphasis shifts to stability and economic prosperity, you have a corresponding sort of reevaluation of the African American freedom struggle. And this leads to interesting revaluations of certain figures in the movement.

 

James Watson-Krips 

So what kind of figures get reevaluated? So I remember, prior conversations we had discussed, of course, figures such as Martin Luther King, for instance, are being as prominent as he was in the United States, you had mentioned in another conversation that he had been a relatively overlooked up until that time. Is that the case?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, so Martin Luther King, in the Chinese media of the 1960s. Initially, it's what you see, the allusions to him are relatively positive in and around 1963. But by the time you get to 1968, Martin Luther King has been almost completely transformed into a villain in Chinese media. He's referred to as a stooge. But he's often painted as a sort of part of the US government's plans to undermine the civil rights, the civil, the, the movement, or the revolution that's taking place in the United States. And he's often sort of compared to Robert F. Williams, because Williams is a political platform. By the late 1950s, he had been calling for African Americans to arm themselves and to use violence when necessary. And really, one thing that's important for me to stay is that non violence in the African American freedom struggle has all it was a sort of political weapon or a political tactic. You know, self defense had long been a part of the African American sort of freedom struggle. So you know, oftentimes, we overemphasize sort of the the discrepancies between non violence and violence, but it's important to recognize them as sort of political non violence as a political tool to achieve certain aims. And because MLK had adopted a nonviolent methods, it appeared to Chinese, to the people who are analyzing those events in China that he was doubting the sort of fires of revolution. So by 1968, when you have the, you know, the uptick of the Cultural Revolution, he's largely despised, but when he's killed in early April, you sort of have a minor shift. But they mostly discuss the sort of assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, as providing a lesson to the African American people. And it's basically putting the the, in their minds, it's putting an end to the idea of using non violence to affect change in the United States. But this actually ends up changing once you get into the 1980s. By 19, you know, the mid 1980s, you start to see King reevaluated and he often becomes a symbol of sort of sino us friendship, as opposed to sort of anyone who is who is sort of dampening revolution. So the the shift if you look at publications from the 1960s, and then look at you know, discussions of King and The 1980s It's almost a complete 180. But I think that a large part of that has to do with sort of, you know, the Chinese experience, they were, you know, by the 1980s, they had been through a lot. And the idea of sort of violent revolution wasn't one that they were looking to promote at that time. But also you couple that with, you know, sino us friendship, and you know, the priorities had changed radically.

 

James Watson-Krips 

That's, that's an interesting segue, I think, for the researchers larger relevance to today. So what I'm what I'm hearing, when I, when I hear you talk about this is kind of a shift from radicalism to a narrative that's more centered on stability, right, a desire for order and desire for, I guess, the the kind of environment that is in many ways conducive to the development and to the large scale kind of poverty alleviation and these sorts of measures that largely eluded the country during the Maoist years. And I was curious, then, with that kind of notion of stability in mind in this kind of conflict between radicalism and state power and outside influences and internal influences. And I was wondering if you could speak to that a bit more about how you see this shift, not only within the experience of, you know, black, black political actors and versus Chinese scholars at home, but also, I guess, the general public at large and how you see these sorts of things, dovetailing or perhaps diverging from sort of the events that are going on now, not to get political, per se, but rather, we are seeing, obviously, disruptions in Hong Kong, we're seeing contested contentious kind of debates over COVID-19. And of course, here in the United States, we're seeing the black left Black Lives Matter movement, finding widespread support throughout the country, leading to, again, protests and the occasional riots. So I was curious as to your understanding of these movements in the context of China and how your research can also inform our understanding of them in the larger kind of context of sino US

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

relations. Yeah, so I think that the big lesson that I've taken away from my research is that we have a need, not only in the United States, but also in China, to really to probe more deeply into some of the the social and political questions that are dogging each country at this time, I think that you hit the nail on the head with the discussions of sort of, you know, this shift in the Chinese psyche, to, to really emphasizing maintaining, or the the political shift to maintaining stability. And that has obviously created some some tension points, you bring up Hong Kong, and sort of the the need to sort of maintain stability, not only in the rest of China proper, but also in Hong Kong. And that's led to certain tensions. But one thing that's really interesting in terms of what's going on right now is the the sort of domestic tensions are interacting with the sort of internet international tensions in very interesting ways, right? So you have what's going on in Hong Kong, and you have throughout China, a lot of these calls for sort of public order, and things like that. But that's also clashing with sort of the image of what they see in the US. And it's really interesting in that China has this long history of interacting and supporting sort of what have been deemed by many in the US radical sort of black movements. But they also have this tension in China where they're stressing stability. And that's created a really interesting, and in many ways, unfortunate tension, in terms of their analyses of what's going on in the US. So you have these places where sort of, I think, in a lot of people's minds, they really want to support, things like the Black Lives Matter movement. But they're also you know, they also have a tendency to maybe sometimes view these movements as being simply unruly, and as chaotic and as symbolic of the sort of loss of control. And there's oftentimes a sort of reflexive reaction to sort of get behind the police or the state. But because of the tension that's going on between the United States and China politically, a lot of times it's really hard to pin down. pin down how these things look today, because there's so many points of contact going on between China and the United States. And it's really hard to sort of discern much of a a coherent, I guess, narrative.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Or taking a step back then with that in mind, this idea of, you know, fractiousness and can kind of multiple points of contact. I'd be curious, especially in the context of your research, how much race itself as a discourse played, has played not only, I guess, within or excuse me, not only within the The exchanges that were going on, you know, within the time period that you're looking at, but also today, so for instance, within that period from 1920 1989, and that kind of frames your research, you had mentioned that, you know, there was a search for solidarity, was that based around race? And this kind of, I guess, almost using you mentioned this kind of status as oppressed minorities, or was it more class based? And then with that in mind, how much do you see today, I know your your background is a story of China. So I'm not going to put you too much on the spot here. But in your in your readings, or your viewings of, you know, China's interactions? For instance, with the Black Lives Matter movement? How much do you see race is actually coloring the the kind of discourse that's going on?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, so this has been a big question in terms of the the study of sort of Chinese interactions in the 1960s. One of the big questions is what explains the rise and decline of race in the PRC, during the 1960s, and into the 1970s. And one thing that I learned from my research is that the way that I sort of painted is more so that it was not necessarily an adaption of the language of race, but it was more so what I call it co opting of the language of race. Oftentimes, at least in the the official documents, right, what you tend to see is that there's always an ending where it says, At the end of the day, or in the final analysis, race problems are, in fact, actually class problems or issues of class. So really, you know, if you, when you think about it, it's sort of almost dismissive. Of, of race, because at the end of the day, they're always drawing these things back, or the documents are always drawing these things back to class. And this, again, goes back to sort of the what's going on in China at that time, by the late 1950s, Most discussions of race had been eliminated in China, at least at the universities and things of that sort. But what this means or this doesn't mean that there was no race, quote, unquote, in China, the the idea of race was still present and prevalent throughout China, it had just been sort of moved beneath the surface. And that sort of brings us to sort of the issues, some of the issues that we see today, because one thing that I learned, you know, traveling throughout China, traveling throughout East Asia, and around the United States is that race is mapped differently in different locations. And in the US, because we live in a very sort of racialized society. Many of us have become accustomed to sort of thinking in the mode of race, or, or, you know, understanding how race plays out in the US. But I think because, you know, when, when a lot of African Americans travel, we oftentimes go to these other places, and we try to sort of find the markers of race, you know, when we visit China, but the problem is, is that we sometimes fail to realize that race is actually mapped out differently in these different locales. So looking for those same markers that you see in the United States, you're not going to you're not going to find them. But that doesn't mean that it's not there. So what getting back to sort of how this interacts with the relationships today, is that I think that because of those different ways that race is mapped in the US, as opposed to China, there's a lot of times where different groups aren't able to see eye to eye. And sometimes you can have interactions that are negative without fully realizing the implications of those interactions. For example, you know, I have, you know, a number of Chinese friends who I didn't know, to use the N word on occasion, and I had to explain to them, you know, the importance of sort of avoiding that sort of language. And I think for a lot of them, it was just that they didn't sort of understand the long history, and things of that nature. So explaining to them why it wasn't okay with something that we had to do. And on the flip side, there are interactions that I think a lot of people have, when they go to China that they don't realize they may have, you know, done something that was insensitive, in a certain way. So, I think that really the best way to sort of address these things, you know, moving forward is sort of having more education, in terms of sort of helping people understand why certain things are certain ways in different places. Because, you know, like I always say, I teach on modern China and East Asia and I have a lot of people who don't know too much about China, but they could tell you that they don't like you know, the Chinese Communist Party or something like that, but they don't know how the Chinese part communist party came to power. Why They, you know why or how certain things played out in China. And I think that the same thing can sort of sort of influences the relationships today where people, a lot of Chinese people looking at sort of Black Lives Matter, they don't know the long history of sort of policing in the United States sometimes. Or they don't realize that some of the assumptions that they've been given are sort of racially charged, right. Like there's some times, especially amongst some first generation, immigrants from from China, sometimes they might think that African Americans are lazy, because as we've touched on in previous discussions, you know, there's this idea of the model minority, and that, you know, sometimes they've adopted that thinking where there are people who say, Well, you know, immigrants from Asia have made it because they have worked harder than African Americans or something of that sort. And so there's all of these sort of points where you have racialized thinking, coalescing around sort of what I would call thinking from the old country, and it produces something that's a little different. But that's something that we can sort of address with education. And, you know, people really learning about the histories of these different communities, whether it's African American communities, Asian American communities, or, you know, China, the history of the People's Republic of China.

 

James Watson-Krips 

I think that's incredibly salient, especially, you know, given how globalized society is today. And I guess, in closing that, I wanted to ask you one more question, because you kind of honed in there on the importance of education and the importance of these kinds of dialogues. Given the interdisciplinarity of your research, right, you you kind of span not only Chinese history, but also, you know, American history, also political science, and I would say argue some intellectual history as well. And these people were, indeed radical thinkers, with big ideas that had that they felt could change the world. Looking ahead, not only to your own research, but other people who are potentially also interested in this kind of, in this kind of intersection between the American Studies or the kind of US history experience, Chinese history experience, where would you see a future research going? Or where would you recommend someone who's potentially interested in this field to kind of then take your research further?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Yeah, I think that, you know, when you're working on projects like these, you realize how much may actually be out there. And I think that opening up this discussion and thinking beyond sort of just the black, the radical black experience, and thinking about sort of the broad scope of the civil rights movement, the African American freedom struggle, I think that there's a lot left to be to be analyzed, they're moving away from sort of some of the the sort of Cold War narratives that we've had. So I think that the more time or the more research that we can do, actually in China, and getting at sort of Chinese interpretations of events in the US, I think that that's where the greatest benefits sort of in the future is going to be made. It's really interesting, because like I said, you know, we're used to, especially myself, I'm used to thinking about race in the US context. And it's sometimes really informative and very refreshing to read an outsider's perspective, you know, even if it's, you know, 1925. And sometimes you think like, oh, well, you know, I didn't really even think about it that way. But I think that the more that we can do in terms of sort of getting at the Chinese perspective, finding those Chinese sources, the more that this sort of field is going to, is going to grow.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Great. Well, thank you so much, and thank you to everyone listening at home. Again, this is I've had the pleasure of speaking with Melvin Barnes, PhD candidate at The Ohio State University Department of History. Melvin, you're hopefully defending soon. Yeah.

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Hopefully, I don't want to jinx anything. But we're hopefully a month or two out, we'll see what ends up happening.

 

James Watson-Krips 

All right, well, fingers crossed. The research sounds fantastic. I look forward to reading not only dissertation, but the book in the future. And is there anything else you'd like to say? Maybe some, some resources or for those interested, potentially in this subject? Is there any way you might want to point them towards?

 

Melvin Barnes, Jr. 

Oh, I guess we could we could leave some some reading. Right. Yes, the reading list. I think if you're if you're interested in this subject, you could definitely start with Tosh Frazier's the East is black. Out of I think Duke University Press. You also have Frank decoders or decoder. I'm not sure exactly how Coda at least last name, but the discourse of race and modern China and you can also locate the articles written by Keisha Brown. She has wonderful articles on the subject, and obviously you can reach out to me at OSU. My email is On the History Department site, and I can share some of the readings that I have. Great.

 

James Watson-Krips 

Well, thanks so much again. Today's discussion has been brought to you by The Ohio State University Institute of Chinese Studies. I'm James Watson-Krips and hope to see you all again soon.

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