The Black Archives: Exploring the Politics of Black Dutch Radicals

Mitchell Esajas 1  and Jessica de Abreu 2
  • 1 , Amsterdam
  • 2 , Amsterdam


In this article, the authors introduce “The Black Archives”—an alternative archive consisting of more than 8,000 books, official documents and artefacts. The archive is a critical intervention, challenging dominant historical narratives, which tend to downplay histories of colonialism, slavery and their legacy. The authors explore how archival research and art can be used to make visible the histories that have been marginalised in dominant historical narratives. This is done with a case study: an exhibition based on archival research on two Black radicals, Hermina and Otto Huiswoud. The research reveals the history of the black and Surinamese activism in the Netherlands which intersects with global histories of the black radicalism.

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Open Cultural Studies is a peer-reviewed journal exploring the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts. It interprets culture in an inclusive sense and promotes new research perspectives in cultural studies. The journal aims to enhance international collaboration among scholars from the Global North and the Global South and help early-career researchers. It is also committed to increasing public access to scholarship on cultural studies.