Anton de Kom was an anticolonial thinker, resistance fighter, father, author, and poet—a renaissance man par excellance born in the Dutch colony Suriname. In his Wij slaven van Suriname (1934), De Kom, as a descendant of enslaved peoples in Suriname, described with razor-sharpness the oppression and exploitation of people on the basis of “race” and class, both during the period of slavery and after its abolition. Although he became known as a national hero in Suriname, in the former colonial metropole of the Netherlands his name, work, and life story were relatively unknown. In 2020, however, Wij slaven became a bestseller, eighty-six years after its original publication, and De Kom became part of the Dutch canon. This essay explores this new, even unexpected, “success” of Wij slaven, and indeed of Anton de Kom, within the Dutch public and political spheres.

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