Rufus E. Fennell: a literary Pan-Africanist in Britain

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Rufus E. Fennell (1887–1974) was a remarkable black intellectual and activist, born in America, but possibly of Caribbean descent. Now almost completely forgotten, he made an important contribution to Pan-Africanism and the struggle for racial justice in Britain, where he spent much of his life. He also worked in the theatre and appeared alongside Paul Robeson in the 1937 film Jericho. And, most interestingly, he wrote a hitherto completely unknown screenplay for Robeson on Haiti, The Black Prophet, on the themes of race, empire and revolution. This article attempts to explore Fennell’s life and work more fully, in particular The Black Prophet.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-80
JournalRace & Class
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


  • 1919 race riots
  • The Black Prophet
  • Jericho
  • Pan-Africanism
  • Paul Robeson
  • Rufus E. Fennell


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