Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 July 2021
One of the founding events within narratives of Afro-Asian, South-South, and Third-World solidarity has been the 1955 Asian-African Conference held in the Indonesian city of Bandung. And one of the foundational accounts of the Asian-African Conference has been Richard Wright’s 1956 book The Color Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference, which Wright wrote based on a three-week sojourn in Indonesia. Drawing on alternative accounts and perspectives regarding the Bandung Conference and Wright’s concomitant interactions with Indonesian interlocutors, this essay examines Wright’s perspectives on colonialism and decolonization as well as his stance on questions of racial and colonial shame and the powers of postcolonial leaders such as Indonesia’s President Sukarno and the Gold Coast’s Kwame Nkrumah. These contexts—taken together with a historically relevant short story written by one of Wright’s main Indonesian interlocutors—illuminate the subject of Wright’s, and Bandung’s, relation to Third-World liberation in colonialism’s enduring wake.