New Book—”Black Man Listen: The Life of JR Ralph Casimir”

Kathy Casimir MacLean’s Black Man Listen: The Life of JR Ralph Casimir was just published by Papillote Press (July 2022).

Description (and reviews):

“I wanted to write Black Man Listen to honour my grandfather and to tell his story as until now it has been omitted from our island’s history,” says Kathy Casimir MacLean.

This is the first biography of the pioneering life of JR Ralph Casimir (1898-1986), a Pan- Africanist and poet from Dominica. Calling himself a “New Negro”, for more than half a century he confronted not just colonial rule, but his island’s elites. It explores his political activism, in particular his role in Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) of which he was a founding member, organiser, and also agent for Garvey’s Black Star Line. A teacher, bookbinder, and lawyer’s clerk, he was a prolific poet and editor of Dominica’s first poetry anthologies. This finely researched biography by his granddaughter sheds light on little known aspects of Dominica’s march to independence.

 “We need more biographies of this sort in order to complicate some of the simplistic narratives that so easily take hold. Clearly it was possible to be a black nationalist, Catholic, Eugenia Charles-supporting poet! … Very good idea: impeccably researched and stylishly written.”  Peter Hulme, Professor of Literature, University of Essex.

“An intimate portrait of a man who dedicated himself to the liberation of his people.” Geoffrey Philip

“I feel so much better informed for having read this book!” Margaret Busby

“He strove against great personal odds to fight for change and respect for black people.” Lennox Honychurch

For more information, see

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