Black Desi History


Black Desi History


From the website: South Asians and African Americans have been standing up for each other for over a century. These are the histories we were never taught. By Anirvan Chatterjee (@anirvan) of the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour. (Want to go deeper? Read Nico Slate's Colored Cosmopolitanism and Vijay Prashad's Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting.)

MLK's use of Gandhian nonviolence is all we're taught about African American and South Asian history. But the story goes way beyond Gandhi and King.

 In 1942, the Black press was heavily covering the widespread anti-colonial civil disobedience in India. Nico Slate, Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India. Harvard Univ. Press, 2012.

African Americans who supported the Indian Freedom movement include Horace R. Clayton, Jr. and Bayard Rustin. Learn of the Black Bengalis, mixed race lives, 1880s-1940s, and Indian Freedom fighter Ram Manohar Lohia vs. Jim Crow. Most importantly, the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, a success of the Civil Rights struggle which created the multicultural USA of the 1990s and today.  Vijay Prashad, The Karma of Brown Folk, University of Minnesota press, 2001. 

Prominent names (W.E.B. Du Bois, B.R. Ambedkar, Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Jawaharlal Nehru) groups, and recent history and events are included as well with less well known names: South Asians for Black Lives (2014-15), and Dalit Panther (founded 1912), Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Mary McLeod Bethune, James Lawson, K.Abbas, Sue Bailey Thurman,  and Mira Nair (film director of Mississippi Masala)

This website provides attractive social media graphics of the people, quotes and facs that can be easily shared or printed and displayed.



Creator Chatterjee


2016 (Last updated 5 June 2020)


Web archives


United States


Citation Chatterjee, “Black Desi History,” Global Library for Antiracism & Digital Citizenship , accessed July 20, 2024,