Held at Montreal’s McGill University from 11 to 14 October 1968, the “Congress of Black Writers: Toward the Second Emancipation—the Dynamics of Black Liberation” was dubbed the largest Black Power conference ever held outside the United States. In Moving Against the System: The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Making of Global Consciousness, David Austin has compiled the surviving transcripts of this historic gathering, including the speeches by Walter Rodney, C. L. R. James, Stokely Carmichael, and Richard B. Moore, and he provides an extended introduction locating Montreal within the global politics of the late 1960s. This essay considers Moving Against the System as an archive of black and Caribbean history, examining both the debates that occurred among the participants of the conference and Austin’s role as an archivist and interpreter of Montreal’s radical past.

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