Appreciating Jack O’Dell: A Conference on the Black Radical Tradition

University of Washington, Seattle

Saturday, January 13, 2024


Jack O’Dell (1923-2019) was a visionary intellectual and an astute organizer who helped shape the course of the Black freedom movement in the second half of the twentieth century. Though driven out of the spotlight by anticommunism, O’Dell worked creatively and tirelessly to advance the Black Radical Tradition through labor activism, piercing analysis, and political mobilization. He passed away on October 31, 2019, shortly before the pandemic.

The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest at the University of Washington invite proposals from people of different backgrounds—activists, scholars, and others—on any aspect of the Black Radical Tradition as we gather to honor Jack O’Dell’s life and work.

Each proposal should include: paper title, abstract (up to 100 words), and a one-page CV. If you would like to propose an entire panel, please submit a panel abstract (up to 100 words) along with the individual paper proposals (up to 100 words each) and individual one-page CVs. All proposals should be sent as PDF attachments to by Monday, May 15, 2023, 11:59 p.m. (PDT). We plan to finalize the conference schedule by about June 15, 2023.

Confirmed speakers at the conference include Roderick Ferguson, Bill Fletcher Jr., Sharon Maeda, Nikhil Pal Singh, Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor, and Robin D. G. Kelley.

To learn more about Jack O'Dell, please see "Capitalism, Colonialism, and the Long Arc of Black Struggle: Reading Jack O’Dell" by Nikhil Pal Singh. 

Questions? Please email the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at