The Death of Walter Rodney

The work of historians like Walter Rodney alters the way we look at the world, and in recognition of the significance of his work and life, History Today is publishing a tribute to him written by the eminent historian of Africa, Professor Richard Gray

On June 13th the historian, Walter Rodney, died in a car explosion in Georgetown. Mystery surrounds his death, with the Guyanan regime claiming he was killed by a bomb which he intended to throw at a prison in order to release men arrested on treason charges. The opposition, however, counter-charged that Rodney was assassinated by the regime and that the bomb was planted in a radio provided by a sergeant in the Guyana Defence Force. The untimely death of this fine historian forcibly reminds us in the West of the vulnerability of historians in the Third World, where the context of historical research is intimately linked to preoccupations with national identity, authenticity and liberation.

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