This article theorizes the gravitas of historical solidarity through a budding Dalit-Black archive. It looks at intersections of race and caste projects within the African American public sphere through an anchoring lens of concern for Dalits in India. The Black universalist vision exercised through media encompassed Dalit ontology and body politic as queering. Through “sibling solidarity,” it expanded the conceptual identification of similar conditions as opposed to an emphasis on sameness or likeness to build solidarity. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, untouchability and colonialism were two prisms through which the Black public sphere reorganized its internationalism, often drawing on race-caste analogies to describe the complicated patterns of post-slavery society and to imaginatively formulate potential communities across diverse geographies. The foremost Dalit figure B. R. Ambedkar was an important reference point. His moves and strategies were reported in the African American press and intellectuals and leaders drew inspiration from his works. It is through Ambedkar that archives of Dalit-Black struggles were built, and in recent years Ambedkar has resurfaced as part of a growing interest in challenging dominant narratives of solidarity between the Black elite and Indian dominant castes. By informing contemporary discourses of race and caste with their more particular histories, we might build new social imaginaries founded not on an identification as sameness but rather through a feeling of relation/relatedness with another.

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