Algerian psychiatrist and theorist
Born in the French West Indies, Frantz Fanon is considered one of the leading theorists of revolution of his time. After attending medical school in France, he served for three years as chief psychiatrist at a hospital in Blida, Algeria. Then he joined the National Liberation Front, a movement formed to free Algeria from French rule. Fanon's political and philosophical outlook had begun to take shape while he was still in France, influenced by the revolutionary and socialist writings of Karl Marx.
In his first book, Black Skin, White Masks (1952), Fanon expresses his frustration with racism. His best-known work, The Wretched of the Earth, appeared in 1961. By this time, Fanon was convinced that colonialism corrupted both the people who were colonized and their colonizers. He argues in the book that colonized peoples should use violence if necessary to cleanse their minds of the colonial way of thinking. After Fanon's death, his theory of revolutionary cleansing became well known in the United States in the Black Liberation Movement and in the Black Panther Party. (See also Diop, Alioune.)