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The Walter Rodney Collection

Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

Walter Rodney (1942-1980), pan-Africanist historian and educator, was a highly respected intellectual who personified the “scholar-activist.” A prolific writer, Rodney authored nine books and over fifty articles, chapters, and book reviews during the brief thirteen-year period between 1967 and his untimely death in 1980. Rodney is widely known for his seminal work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, first published in 1972.

A native of Guyana, Rodney was born March 23, 1942. Rodney believed that education and history should be used as a tool for social change. Recognized for his scholarship and teaching on African and Caribbean history, Dr. Rodney is equally revered for his political activism. A popular lecturer with college and university students and at academic conferences and symposia, Dr. Rodney extended his teaching beyond academic settings to the broader community, making a specific effort to reach out to the working class and the disenfranchised. He spoke to school children, community groups, workers, and labor unions, and at political forums and rallies. He traveled extensively, lecturing and teaching in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America.

The Walter Rodney Collection is a compilation of materials donated by a number of individuals and institutions. The donations help to broaden the documentation about the life, contributions, influence, and legacy of Walter Rodney. The Walter Rodney Collection will continue to grow as more donations are made. The collection complements the Walter Rodney Papers, which were donated to the Robert W. Woodruff Library in 2004.

The Walter Rodney papers span the years 1960–1987, with the bulk of the collection from the period 1970-1979. The collection provides insight into Rodney’s life as a scholar and an activist, primarily revealed though his writings and teaching. Arranged in chronological order, these files document Rodney’s popularity as a speaker and the international audience that embraced him. There is a series on the Working Peoples Alliance that includes a small amount of significant materials about the WPA’s political positions and organizational structure during its formative years. Complementing these papers are audio recordings. Most are recordings of Rodney lecturing at universities and conferences. 

Contact Information

Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
111 James P. Brawley Drive, SW
Atlanta, Georgia
United States
1 404-978-2052

North America

Year Established

Fellowships and Potential Scholarly Affiliations