This chapter examines the radical, and often hidden, role of African American Marxists. It seeks to correct an intellectual and political myopia that either ignores black Marxists or sees them simply as pawns in the international Cold War. Marxists are often analyzed solely within the purview of the Communist Party, which obscures other aspects of black Marxism. If one understands black Marxism in the U.S. simply as black radicals engaging Marxist theory and its organizational manifestations, then the proximity of that history to the history of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) is understandable. The chapter specifically highlights the role of race, anticolonialism, and the civil rights concerns of black Americans within the Marxist tradition, altering Marxism's seemingly colorblind and class-based focus with an appreciation of African American thought.
Keywords: black Marxists, African Americans, Communist Party, CPUSA, race, anticolonialism, civil rights, black radicals, Cold War