Taken together, C. L. R. James’s 1933 political pamphlet The Case for West-Indian Self Government and 1936 novel Minty Alley reveal the author’s competing visions of relations between Africans and Indians in the British West Indies. In The Case for West-Indian Self Government, James proclaims that West Indian societies are fit to govern their own affairs because they are modern and harmonious. However, James’s argument contradicts his literary sketches of the barrack yard in Minty Alley. The novel features a fractious relationship between Benoit and Mrs. Rouse, the owners of the yard. Mrs. Rouse responds to Benoit’s infidelity by remarking, “My blood and coolie blood don’t take.” They fight over ownership of No. 2 Minty Alley, but when Benoit dies, Mrs. Rouse buries him at the yard. Minty Alley portrays a barrack yard politics made through the combined—if tense—efforts of African and Indian descendants.

You do not currently have access to this content.