The Charles V. Hamilton and Wilmot James Oral History Project is a series of oral history dialogues with Hamilton, a former Columbia University political scientist who wrote Black Power with Stokely Carmichael in 1967; and Wilmot James, a South African leader and former member of the South African Parliament who currently teaches at SIPA and is also an appointed scholar at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, working on children at risk issues. Also included in the interview is Delicia Forbes, from Cape Town, now living in New York who has worked on issues concerning arts culture and heritage and education.   

Mary Marshall Clark, director of CCOHR, is conducting a series of oral history conversations with Hamilton, James and Forbes on their respective histories as leaders and observers of social and political change in the United States and in South Africa.  The project is a comparison of three life histories, and two countries, that intertwine both personal and professionally. Those points of intersection are still being mapped out.

The story of Hamilton and James’s mutual influence began in 1976, when Wilmot James was twenty-three years old and was taken to prison by the S.A. apartheid police because he was part of the student representative organization at the University of the Western Cape. The university had an arrangement with the prison officials that they could receive their books in boxes that were sealed. A copy of Black Power was in Wilmot James’ box.


Maurice Ivy Dowell
Project Coordinator