This reminiscence intends to sketch out the political and intellectual atmosphere in which a minor episode took place within a wide redefinition of political activity: how a tiny but diverse group of young radicals came to read W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in the second half of 1967 in Milan, Italy. Black Reconstruction struck a responsive chord in those readers because of both its vision of an egalitarian social structure in its formative years and a sense of victory by the exploited and the oppressed in their process of putting an end to slavery. This group of readers was motivated by the ascent of the desegregationist campaigns in the United States and by the anticolonial struggles being waged in Africa and Asia, while Europe remained deeply divided by the barbed wire of the Cold War. It was in that European context that many young people from all kinds of social backgrounds in the 1960s, instead of limiting themselves to the assigned textbooks, took position on crucial issues of world politics.
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Ferruccio Gambino; Reading Black Reconstruction on the Eve of 1968. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2013; 112 (3): 529–535. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2146386
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