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Aaron Henry of Mississippi
Inside Agitator
Minion K. C. Morrison
University of Arkansas Press, 2015
Winner of the 2016 Lillian Smith Book Award

When Aaron Henry returned home to Mississippi from World War II service in 1946, he was part of wave of black servicemen who challenged the racial status quo. He became a pharmacist through the GI Bill, and as a prominent citizen, he organized a hometown chapter of the NAACP and relatively quickly became leader of the state chapter.

From that launching pad he joined and helped lead an ensemble of activists who fundamentally challenged the system of segregation and the almost total exclusion of African Americans from the political structure. These efforts were most clearly evident in his leadership of the integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation, which, after an unsuccessful effort to unseat the lily-white Democratic delegation at the Democratic National Convention in 1964, won recognition from the national party in 1968.

The man who the New York Times described as being “at the forefront of every significant boycott, sit-in, protest march, rally, voter registration drive and court case” eventually became a rare example of a social-movement leader who successfully moved into political office. Aaron Henry of Mississippi covers the life of this remarkable leader, from his humble beginnings in a sharecropping family to his election to the Mississippi house of representatives in 1979, all the while maintaining the social-change ideology that prompted him to improve his native state, and thereby the nation.
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Abandoning the Black Hero
Sympathy and Privacy in the Postwar African American White-Life Novel
Charles, John C
Rutgers University Press, 2012

Abandoning the Black Hero is the first book to examine the postwar African American white-life novel—novels with white protagonists written by African Americans. These fascinating works have been understudied despite having been written by such defining figures in the tradition as Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Ann Petry, and Chester Himes, as well as lesser known but formerly best-selling authors Willard Motley and Frank Yerby.

John C. Charles argues that these fictions have been overlooked because they deviate from two critical suppositions: that black literature is always about black life and that when it represents whiteness, it must attack white supremacy. The authors are, however, quite sympathetic in the treatment of their white protagonists, which Charles contends should be read not as a failure of racial pride but instead as a strategy for claiming creative freedom, expansive moral authority, and critical agency.

In an era when “Negro writers” were expected to protest, their sympathetic treatment of white suffering grants these authors a degree of racial privacy previously unavailable to them. White writers, after all, have the privilege of racial privacy because they are never pressured to write only about white life. Charles reveals that the freedom to abandon the “Negro problem” encouraged these authors to explore a range of new genres and themes, generating a strikingly diverse body of novels that significantly revise our understanding of mid-twentieth-century black writing.

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The Absent Man
The Narrative Craft of Charles W. Chesnutt
Charles Duncan
Ohio University Press, 1998

As the first African-American fiction writer to achieve a national reputation, Ohio native Charles W. Chesnutt (1858–1932) in many ways established the terms of the black literary tradition now exemplified by such writers as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Charles Johnson.

Following the highly autobiographical nonfiction produced by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and other slave narrative writers, Chesnutt’s complex, multi-layered short fiction transformed the relationship between African-American writers and their readers. But despite generous praise from W. D. Howells and other important critics of his day, and from such prominent readers as William L. Andrews, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Eric Sundquist in ours, Chesnutt occupies a curiously ambiguous place in American literary history.

In The Absent Man, Charles Duncan demonstrates that Chesnutt’s uneasy position in the American literary tradition can be traced to his remarkable narrative subtlety. Profoundly aware of the delicacy of his situation as a black intellectual at the turn of the century, Chesnutt infused his work with an intricate, enigmatic artistic vision that defies monolithic or unambiguously political interpretation, especially with regard to issues of race and identity that preoccupied him throughout his career.

In this first book-length study of the innovative short fiction, Duncan devotes particular attention to elucidating these sophisticated narrative strategies as the grounding for Chesnutt’s inauguration of a tradition of African-American fiction.

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Across the Color Line
Reporting 25 Years in Black Cincinnati
Mark Curnutte
University of Cincinnati Press, 2019
Across the Color Line: Reporting 25 Years in Black Cincinnati presents newspaper reporter Mark Curnutte’s stories published in The Cincinnati Enquirer over a twenty-five-year period beginning in 1993.  With hard-won insights gained from years of community reporting, Curnutte describes experiences of African-Americans living in Cincinnati through individual and neighborhood profiles, explorations of community institutions, historical perspectives, and issue stories.  The anthology tells a sweeping narrative of a city suffering and maturing through turn-of-the-century racial growing pains and increased racial sophistication and diversity. These stories are complimented by excerpts from Curnutte’s personal journal, providing his reflection on his role as a white man and reporter making the intentional decision to work and live across the color line.
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Act Like You Know
African-American Autobiography and White Identity
Crispin Sartwell
University of Chicago Press, 1998
Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcolm X—their words speak firmly, eloquently, personally of the impact of white America on the lives of African-Americans. Black autobiographical discourses, from the earliest slave narratives to the most contemporary urban raps, have each in their own way gauged and confronted the character of white society. For Crispin Sartwell, as philosopher, cultural critic, and white male, these texts, through their exacting insights and external perspective, provide a rare opportunity, a means of glimpsing and gaining access to contents and core of white identity.

There is, Sartwell contends, a fundamental elusiveness to that identity. Whiteness defines itself as normative, as a neutral form of the human condition, marking all other forms of identity as "racial" or "ethnic" deviations. Invisible to itself, white identity seeks to define its essence over and against those other identities, in effect defining itself through opposition and oppression. By maintaining fictions of black licentiousness, violence, and corruption, white identity is able to cast itself as humane, benevolent, and pure; the stereotype fabricates not only the oppressed but the oppressor as well. Sartwell argues that African-American autobiography perceives white identity from a particular and unique vantage point; one that is knowledgeable and intimate, yet fundamentally removed from the white world and thus unencumbered by its obfuscating claims to normativity.

Throughout this provocative work, Sartwell steadfastly recognizes the many ways in which he too is implicated in the formulation and perpetuation of racial attitudes and discourse. In Act Like You Know, he challenges both himself and others to take a long, hard look in the mirror of African-American autobiography, and to find there, in the light of those narratives, the visible features of white identity.
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Activist Sentiments
Reading Black Women in the Nineteenth Century
P. Gabrielle Foreman
University of Illinois Press, 2009

Activist Sentiments takes as its subject women who in fewer than fifty years moved from near literary invisibility to prolific productivity. Grounded in primary research and paying close attention to the historical archive, this book offers against-the-grain readings of the literary and activist work of Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, Frances E. W. Harper, Victoria Earle Matthews and Amelia E. Johnson.

Part literary criticism and part cultural history, Activist Sentiments examines nineteenth-century social, political, and representational literacies and reading practices. P. Gabrielle Foreman reveals how Black women's complex and confrontational commentary–often expressed directly in their journalistic prose and organizational involvement--emerges in their sentimental, and simultaneously political, literary production.

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The Addison Gayle Jr. Reader
Edited by Nathaniel Norment Jr.
University of Illinois Press, 2008
This reader collects sixty of the personal essays, critical articles, and other seminal works of Addison Gayle Jr., one of the most influential figures in African American literary criticism and a key pioneer in the Black Arts/Black Aesthetic Movement. The volume contains selective essays that represent the range of Gayle's writing on such subjects as relationships between father and son, cultural nationalism, racism, black aesthetics, black criticism, and black literature. The collection, the first of its kind, includes definitive essays such as "Blueprint for Black Criticism," "The Harlem Renaissance: Toward a Black Aesthetic," and "Cultural Strangulation: Black Literature and the White Aesthetics." A key chapter from Gayle's autobiography is supplemented by his literary criticism, and a general introduction and editor's notes for each section discuss the articles' lasting significance and influence.
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Adolescence in a Moroccan Town
Davis, Susan S
Rutgers University Press, 1999
Adolescence is in many ways a culturally constructed category, with different meanings for different societies. Susan Schaefer Davis and Douglas A. Davis have studied adolescence in Zawiya, a town in northern Morocco. They examine changes in views of adolescence, changes in adolescent behavior, and differences in the adolescent experiences of boys and girls over the past few decades.

Rashid was eighteen in 1982, when he helped us understand the feelings and activities of young people in his neighborhood, no longer a boy but not quite a man. He liked to talk about how his feelings and his understanding had grown from the time described, when he was just a kid. He recalled his dreams and plans in one of the hundreds of conversations we had about adolescence in this Moroccan town. His generation of youth in "Zawiya," on the western edge of North Africa, are the subject of this book.
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Adopted Territory
Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging
Eleana J. Kim
Duke University Press, 2010
Since the end of the Korean War, an estimated 200,000 children from South Korea have been adopted into white families in North America, Europe, and Australia. While these transnational adoptions were initiated as an emergency measure to find homes for mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the war, the practice grew exponentially from the 1960s through the 1980s. At the height of South Korea’s “economic miracle,” adoption became an institutionalized way of dealing with poor and illegitimate children. Most of the adoptees were raised with little exposure to Koreans or other Korean adoptees, but as adults, through global flows of communication, media, and travel, they have come into increasing contact with each other, Korean culture, and the South Korean state. Since the 1990s, as Korean children have continued to leave to be adopted in the West, a growing number of adult adoptees have been returning to Korea to seek their cultural and biological origins. In this fascinating ethnography, Eleana J. Kim examines the history of Korean adoption, the emergence of a distinctive adoptee collective identity, and adoptee returns to Korea in relation to South Korean modernity and globalization. Kim draws on interviews with adult adoptees, social workers, NGO volunteers, adoptee activists, scholars, and journalists in the U.S., Europe, and South Korea, as well as on observations at international adoptee conferences, regional organization meetings, and government-sponsored motherland tours.
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Adventures in Shondaland
Identity Politics and the Power of Representation
Griffin, Rachel Alicia
Rutgers University Press, 2018
Innovator Award for Edited Collection from the Central States Communication Association (CSCA)

Shonda Rhimes is one of the most powerful players in contemporary American network television. Beginning with her break-out hit series Grey’s Anatomy, she has successfully debuted Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away with MurderThe Catch, For The People, and Station 19. Rhimes’s work is attentive to identity politics, “post-” identity politics, power, and representation, addressing innumerable societal issues. Rhimes intentionally addresses these issues with diverse characters and story lines that center, for example, on interracial friendships and relationships, LGBTIQ relationships and parenting, the impact of disability on familial and work dynamics, and complex representations of womanhood. This volume serves as a means to theorize Rhimes’s contributions and influence by inspiring provocative conversations about television as a deeply politicized institution and exploring how Rhimes fits into the implications of twenty-first century television.  
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The Aesthetics of Equity
Notes on Race, Space, Architecture, and Music
Craig L. Wilkins
University of Minnesota Press, 2007

Architecture is often thought to be a diary of a society, filled with symbolic representations of specific cultural moments. However, as Craig L. Wilkins observes, that diary includes far too few narratives of the diverse cultures in U.S. society. Wilkins states that the discipline of architecture has a resistance to African Americans at every level, from the startlingly small number of architecture students to the paltry number of registered architects in the United States today.

Working to understand how ideologies are formed, transmitted, and embedded in the built environment, Wilkins deconstructs how the marginalization of African Americans is authorized within the field of architecture. He then outlines how activist forms of expression shape and sustain communities, fashioning an architectural theory around the site of environmental conflict constructed by hip-hop culture.

Wilkins places his concerns in a historical context, and also offers practical solutions to address them. In doing so, he reveals new possibilities for an architecture that acknowledges its current shortcomings and replies to the needs of multicultural constituencies.

Craig L. Wilkins, a registered architect, teaches architecture and urban planning at the University of Michigan.

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Affirmative Action in Medicine
Improving Health Care for Everyone
James L. Curtis, M.D.
University of Michigan Press, 2003
Affirmative action programs have significantly changed American medicine for the better, not only in medical school admissions and access to postgraduate training but also in bringing a higher quality of health care to all people. James L. Curtis approaches this important transition from historical, statistical, and personal perspectives. He tells how over the course of his medical education and career as a psychiatrist and professor--often as the first or only African American in his cohort--the status of minorities in the medical professions grew from a tiny percentage to a far more equitable representation of the American population.
Advancing arguments from his earlier book, Blacks, Medical Schools, and Society, Curtis evaluates the outcomes of affirmative action efforts over the past thirty years. He describes formidable barriers to minority access to medical-education opportunities and the resulting problems faced by minority patients in receiving medical treatment. His progress report includes a review of two thousand minority students admitted to U.S. medical schools in 1969, following them through graduation and their careers, comparing them with the careers of two thousand of their nonminority peers. These samples provide an important look at medical schools that, while heralding dramatic progress in physician education and training opportunity, indicates much room for further improvement.
A basic hurdle continues to face African Americans and other minorities who are still confined to segregated neighborhoods and inferior school systems that stifle full scholastic development. Curtis urges us as a nation to develop all our human resources through an expansion of affirmative action programs, thus improving health care for everyone.
James L. Curtis is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
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Africa in America
Slave Acculturation and Resistance in the American South and the British Caribbean, 1736-1831
Michael Mullin
University of Illinois Press, 1992
Extensive archival and anecdotal sources support Michael Mullin's description of slavery as it was practiced in tidewater Virginia, on the rice coast of the Carolinas, and in Jamaica and Barbados. Drawing upon case histories, Mullin offers new and definitive information about how African people met and often overcame the challenges and deprivations of their new lives through religion, family life, and economic strategies.
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African American Arts
Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity
weems, carrie mae
Bucknell University Press, 2020
Signaling such recent activist and aesthetic concepts in the work of Kara Walker, Childish Gambino, BLM, Janelle Monáe, and Kendrick Lamar, and marking the exit of the Obama Administration and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, this anthology explores the role of African American arts in shaping the future, and further informing new directions we might take in honoring and protecting the success of African Americans in the U.S. The essays in African American Arts: Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity engage readers in critical conversations by activists, scholars, and artists reflecting on national and transnational legacies of African American activism as an element of artistic practice, particularly as they concern artistic expression and race relations, and the intersections of creative processes with economic, sociological, and psychological inequalities. Scholars from the fields of communication, theater, queer studies, media studies, performance studies, dance, visual arts, and fashion design, to name a few, collectively ask: What are the connections between African American arts, the work of social justice, and creative processes? If we conceive the arts as critical to the legacy of Black activism in the United States, how can we use that construct to inform our understanding of the complicated intersections of African American activism and aesthetics? How might we as scholars and creative thinkers further employ the arts to envision and shape a verdant society?

Contributors: Carrie Mae Weems, Carmen Gillespie, Rikki Byrd, Amber Lauren Johnson, Doria E. Charlson, Florencia V. Cornet, Daniel McNeil, Lucy Caplan, Genevieve Hyacinthe, Sammantha McCalla, Nettrice R. Gaskins, Abby Dobson, J. Michael Kinsey, Shondrika Moss-Bouldin, Julie B. Johnson, Sharrell D. Luckett, Jasmine Eileen Coles, Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Rickerby Hinds.

Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press. 
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African American Foodways
Explorations of History and Culture
Edited by Anne L. Bower
University of Illinois Press, 2006

Ranging from seventeenth-century West African fare to contemporary fusion dishes using soul food ingredients, the essays in this book provide an introduction to many aspects of African American foodways and an antidote to popular misconceptions about soul food. Examining the combination of African, Caribbean, and South American traditions, the volume's contributors offer lively insights from history, literature, sociology, anthropology, and African American studies to demonstrate how food's material and symbolic values have contributed to African Americans' identity for centuries. Individual chapters examine how African foodways survived the passage into slavery, cultural meanings associated with African American foodways, and the contents of African American cookbooks, both early and recent.

Contributors are Anne L. Bower, Robert L. Hall, William C. Whit, Psyche Williams-Forson, Doris Witt, Anne Yentsch, Rafia Zafar.

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African American Fraternal Associations and the History of Civil Society in the United States, Volume 28
Katherine A. Lynch, ed.
Duke University Press
The role of African American fraternal organizations in black civic engagement has been largely overlooked by scholars of African American history. While scholars have traditionally emphasized the role of the black church, social clubs, and civil rights organizations, this special issue of Social Science History explores the significance of fraternal organizations of men and women in the African American community from Reconstruction to the mid-twentieth century. It illustrates how these organizations helped foster solidarity, build identity, and encourage collective action.

The contributors construct a historical portrait of black fraternal orders during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They argue that African Americans were more likely than whites to form fraternal orders and to sustain them, using them to guard members against unemployment and other misfortunes. They examine the ritual life of fraternal organizations, paying particular attention to rites of initiation and to the values they reflected about collective identity, gender relations, equality, and collective action. Finally, they show how social networks that black fraternal organizations fostered led to successful legal battles for the right to assemble and to the later civil rights movement of the twentieth century.

Contributors. Bayliss J. Camp, Marshall Ganz, Orit Kent, Ariane Liazos, Jennifer Lynn Oser, Theda Skocpol, Joe W. Trotter

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African American History Reconsidered
Pero Gaglo Dagbovie
University of Illinois Press, 2010

This groundbreaking volume establishes new perspectives on black history--its scholarship and pedagogy, scholars and interpreters, and evolution as a profession.

Pero Gaglo Dagbovie discusses a wide range of issues and themes for understanding and analyzing African American history, the twentieth century black historical enterprise, and the teaching of African American history for the twenty-first century. Additional topics include the hip-hop generation's relationship to and interpretations of African American history; past, present, and future approaches to the subject; and the social construct of knowledge in African American historiography. An examination of definitions of black history from W. E. B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk and a survey of early black women historians lend further dimension and authenticity to the volume. A bold contribution to the growing fields of African American historiography and the philosophy of black history, African American History Reconsidered offers numerous analytical frameworks for understanding and delving into a variety of dimensions of the African American historical experience.

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African American Jeremiad Rev
Appeals For Justice In America
David Howard-Pitney
Temple University Press, 2005
Begun by Puritans, the American jeremiad, a rhetoric that expresses indignation and urges social change, has produced passionate and persuasive essays and speeches throughout the nation's history. Showing that black leaders have employed this verbal tradition of protest and social prophecy in a way that is specifically African American, David Howard-Pitney examines the jeremiads of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, as well as more contemporary figures such as Jesse Jackson and Alan Keyes. This revised and expanded edition demonstrates that the African American jeremiad is still vibrant, serving as a barometer of faith in America's perfectibility and hope for social justice.This new edition features: * A new chapter on Malcolm X * An updated discussion of Jesse Jackson * A new discussion of Alan Keyes
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African American Life in the Rural South, 1900-1950
Edited with an introduction by R. Douglas Hurt
University of Missouri Press, 2003
During the first half of the twentieth century, degradation, poverty, and hopelessness were commonplace for African Americans who lived in the South’s countryside, either on farms or in rural communities. Many southern blacks sought relief from these conditions by migrating to urban centers. Many others, however, continued to live in rural areas. Scholars of African American rural history in the South have been concerned primarily with the experience of blacks as sharecroppers, tenant farmers, textile workers, and miners. Less attention has been given to other aspects of the rural African American experience during the early twentieth century.
 
African American Life in the Rural South, 1900–1950 provides important new information about African American culture, social life, and religion, as well as economics, federal policy, migration, and civil rights. The essays particularly emphasize the efforts of African Americans to negotiate the white world in the southern countryside.
 
Filling a void in southern studies, this outstanding collection provides a substantive overview of the subject. Scholars, students, and teachers of African American, southern, agricultural, and rural history will find this work invaluable.
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African American Midwifery in the South
Dialogues of Birth, Race, and Memory
Gertrude Jacinta Fraser
Harvard University Press, 1998

Starting at the turn of the century, most African American midwives in the South were gradually excluded from reproductive health care. Gertrude Fraser shows how physicians, public health personnel, and state legislators mounted a campaign ostensibly to improve maternal and infant health, especially in rural areas. They brought traditional midwives under the control of a supervisory body, and eventually eliminated them. In the writings and programs produced by these physicians and public health officials, Fraser finds a universe of ideas about race, gender, the relationship of medicine to society, and the status of the South in the national political and social economies.

Fraser also studies this experience through dialogues of memory. She interviews members of a rural Virginia African American community that included not just retired midwives and their descendants, but anyone who lived through this transformation in medical care--especially the women who gave birth at home attended by a midwife. She compares these narrations to those in contemporary medical journals and public health materials, discovering contradictions and ambivalence: was the midwife a figure of shame or pride? How did one distance oneself from what was now considered "superstitious" or "backward" and at the same time acknowledge and show pride in the former unquestioned authority of these beliefs and practices?

In an important contribution to African American studies and anthropology, African American Midwifery in the South brings new voices to the discourse on the hidden world of midwives and birthing.

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The African American Newspaper
Voice of Freedom
Patrick S. Washburn
Northwestern University Press, 2006
Winner, 2007 Tankard Award

In March of 1827 the nation's first black newspaper appeared in New York City—to counter attacks on blacks by the city's other papers. From this signal event, The African American Newspaper traces the evolution of the black newspaper—and its ultimate decline--for more than 160 years until the end of the twentieth century.

The book chronicles the growth of the black press into a powerful and effective national voice for African Americans during the period from 1910 to 1950--a period that proved critical to the formation and gathering strength of the civil rights movement that emerged so forcefully in the following decades. In particular, author Patrick S. Washburn explores how the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender led the way as the two most influential black newspapers in U.S. history, effectively setting the stage for the civil rights movement's successes. Washburn also examines the numerous reasons for the enormous decline of black newspapers in influence and circulation in the decades immediately following World War II. His book documents as never before how the press's singular accomplishments provide a unique record of all areas of black history and a significant and shaping affect on the black experience in America.
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African American Organized Crime
A Social History
Schatzberg, Rufus
Rutgers University Press, 1997

While stories of organized crime most often dwell on groups like the Mafia and Chinese Triad or Tongs, African Americans also have a long history of organized crime. Why have scholars and journalists paid so little attention to African American organized crime? What can a history of these criminal networks teach us about the social, political, and economic challenges that face African Americans today? What is specific to African American organized crime, and how do these networks differ from the criminal organizations of other racial and ethnic groups? How can a historical study of African American organized crime enrich our understanding of all criminal activity?

Rufus Schatzberg and Robert Kelly take us through almost a century of African American organized crime. Chapters focus on the numbers gambling that took place in New York City from 1920 to 1940, the criminal groups that operated in ghettos from the 1940s to the 1970s, and the gang activities that began in the 1970s and continues today. While providing a compelling analysis of African American organized crime, the authors also challenge existing stereotypes of African Americans and demonstrate the importance of studying any criminal activity within its historical and social context.

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African American Perspectives on Political Science
edited by Wilbur C. Rich, foreword by Charles V. Hamilton
Temple University Press, 2007
Race matters in both national and international politics. Starting from this perspective, African American Perspectives on Political Science presents original essays from leading African American political scientists. Collectively, they evaluate the discipline, its subfields, the quality of race-related research, and omissions in the literature. They argue that because Americans do not fully understand the many-faceted issues of race in politics in their own country, they find it difficult to comprehend ethnic and racial disputes in other countries as well. In addition, partly because there are so few African Americans in the field, political science faces a danger of unconscious insularity in methodology and outlook. Contributors argue that the discipline needs multiple perspectives to prevent it from developing blind spots. Taken as a whole, these essays argue with great urgency that African American political scientists have a unique opportunity and a special responsibility to rethink the canon, the norms, and the directions of the discipline.
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African American Political Thought
A Collected History
Edited by Melvin L. Rogers and Jack Turner
University of Chicago Press, 2021
African American Political Thought offers an unprecedented philosophical history of thinkers from the African American community and African diaspora who have addressed the central issues of political life: democracy, race, violence, liberation, solidarity, and mass political action. Melvin L. Rogers and Jack Turner have brought together leading scholars to reflect on individual intellectuals from the past four centuries, developing their list with an expansive approach to political expression. The collected essays consider such figures as Martin Delany, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois,  James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Audre Lorde, whose works are addressed by scholars such as Farah Jasmin Griffin, Robert Gooding-Williams, Michael Dawson, Nick Bromell, Neil Roberts, and Lawrie Balfour.

While African American political thought is inextricable from the historical movement of American political thought, this volume stresses the individuality of Black thinkers, the transnational and diasporic consciousness, and how individual speakers and writers draw on various traditions simultaneously to broaden our conception of African American political ideas.  This landmark volume gives us the opportunity to tap into the myriad and nuanced political theories central to Black life. In doing so, African American Political Thought: A Collected History transforms how we understand the past and future of political thinking in the West.
 
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African American Religious History
A Documentary Witness
Milton C. Sernett, ed.
Duke University Press, 2000
This widely-heralded collection of remarkable documents offers a view of African American religious history from Africa and early America through Reconstruction to the rise of black nationalism, civil rights, and black theology of today. The documents—many of them rare, out-of-print, or difficult to find—include personal narratives, sermons, letters, protest pamphlets, early denominational histories, journalistic accounts, and theological statements. In this volume Olaudah Equiano describes Ibo religion. Lemuel Haynes gives a black Puritan’s farewell. Nat Turner confesses. Jarena Lee becomes a female preacher among the African Methodists. Frederick Douglass discusses Christianity and slavery. Isaac Lane preaches among the freedmen. Nannie Helen Burroughs reports on the work of Baptist women. African Methodist bishops deliberate on the Great Migration. Bishop C. H. Mason tells of the Pentecostal experience. Mahalia Jackson recalls the glory of singing at the 1963 March on Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes from the Birmingham jail.
Originally published in 1985, this expanded second edition includes new sources on women, African missions, and the Great Migration. Milton C. Sernett provides a general introduction as well as historical context and comment for each document.
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African American Urban History from Past to Future
Essays on the State of a Field
Leslie M. Harris
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2024
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African American Urban History since World War II
Edited by Kenneth L. Kusmer and Joe W. Trotter
University of Chicago Press, 2009

Historians have devoted surprisingly little attention to African American urban history ofthe postwar period, especially compared with earlier decades. Correcting this imbalance, African American Urban History since World War II features an exciting mix of seasoned scholars and fresh new voices whose combined efforts provide the first comprehensive assessment of this important subject.

The first of this volume’s five groundbreaking sections focuses on black migration and Latino immigration, examining tensions and alliances that emerged between African Americans and other groups. Exploring the challenges of residential segregation and deindustrialization, later sections tackle such topics as the real estate industry’s discriminatory practices, the movement of middle-class blacks to the suburbs, and the influence of black urban activists on national employment and social welfare policies. Another group of contributors examines these themes through the lens of gender, chronicling deindustrialization’s disproportionate impact on women and women’s leading roles in movements for social change. Concluding with a set of essays on black culture and consumption, this volume fully realizes its goal of linking local transformations with the national and global processes that affect urban class and race relations.

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African American Women and the Vote, 1837–1965
Ann Gordon
University of Massachusetts Press, 1997
Written by leading scholars of African American and women's history, the essays in this volume seek to reconceptualize the political history of black women in the United States by placing them "at the center of our thinking." The book explores how slavery, racial discrimination, and gender shaped the goals that African American women set for themselves, their families, and their race and looks at the political tools at their disposal. By identifying key turning points for black women, the essays create a new chronology and a new paradigm for historical analysis. The chronology begins in 1837 with the interracial meeting of antislavery women in New York City and concludes with the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The contributors focus on specific examples of women pursuing a dual ambition: to gain full civil and political rights and to improve the social conditions of African Americans. Together, the essays challenge us to rethink common generalizations that govern much of our historical thinking about the experience of African American women.

Contributors include Bettina Aptheker, Elsa Barkley Brown, Willi Coleman, Gerald R. Gill, Ann D. Gordon, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Cynthia Neverdon-Morton, Martha Prescod Norman, Janice Sumler-Edmond, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, and Bettye Collier-Thomas.
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African American Women in Congress
Gill, LaVerne McCain
Rutgers University Press, 1997
Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in the U.S. House of Representatives, was elected in 1968. That was nearly a hundred years after the election of the first African American man to Congress and fifty years after the first woman. A quarter of a century after Chisholm's election, the first Black woman, Carol Moseley-Braun, was elected to the United States Senate. It was not until 1993, when ten additional Black women won seats in the 103rd Congress, that African American women were allowed to serve their country and their constituencies in any substantial numbers. In 1997 that historic moment will very likely be lost as congressional districts are redrawn by court order. This remarkable book by LaVerne Gill preserves the history of the struggles and accomplishments of these fifteen courageous women, and will move others to learn from and follow their example.

African American Women in Congress details the life and career histories of Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Yvonne Burke, Cardiss Collins, Katie Hall, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maxine Waters, Barbara-Rose Collins, Carol Moseley-Braun, Corinne Brown, Carrie Meek, Cynthia McKinney, Eva Clayton, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Sheila Jackson-Lee. Each profile contains a picture of its subject, interview material, and resumés. Arranged chronologically, the book introduces the reader to issues of vital importance to the Black community—Reconstruction, enfranchisement, lynchings and harassment, civil rights struggles, the founding of advocacy groups, the power of the Congressional Black Caucus, the creation of majority minority districts that allowed greater representation in Congress, the struggle of largely Black Washington, D.C., for representation, and the recent dismantling of past gains by a Republican majority. Gill also describes the uphill battles for social justice and the rights of women that the fifteen women had to wage even within their own political parties, political organizations, and districts.

For general readers, high school and college students, and anyone interested in the political process, this book is illuminating and inspiring reading.
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African American Women Writers in New Jersey, 1836-2000
A Biographical Dictionary and Bibliographic Guide
Moses, Sibyl E
Rutgers University Press, 2006

Selected as a "New Jersey Notable Book for 1995-2005" by the New Jersey Center for the Book
Awarded the 2004 Certificate of Commendation by the American Association for State and Local History​


African American Women Writers in New Jersey, 1836-2000 is the first and only reference book to identify and document the lives, intellectual contributions, and publications of over one hundred African American women writers in the Garden State from 1836 through 2000. Many, such as Jessie Redmon Fauset, Alice Perry Johnson, Sharon Bell Mathis, Ntozake Shange, Claudia C. Tate, Ruby Ora Williams, and Marion Thompson Wright, were born in the state. Others, like Amina Baraka, E. Alma Flagg, Helen Jackson Lee, Gertrude Williams Pitts, and Dorothy Porter Wesley, although not born there, were residents of New Jersey for more than fifteen years, and made significant contributions during that time.

This volume contains biographical and bibliographical information for each author. There are photographs of the writers as well as citations for their published pamphlets, books, reports, and articles. Sibyl E. Moses has enhanced the text with characteristic excerpts from the poetry and prose of selected writers. The two appendixes highlight the distribution of African American women writers in New Jersey both by city or town, and by genre.

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African Americans and Jews in the Twentieth Century
Studies in Convergence and Conflict
Edited by V.P. Franklin, Nancy L. Grant, Harold M. Kletnick, & Genna Rae McNeil
University of Missouri Press, 1998

In 1993 distinguished historian Nancy L. Grant organized "Blacks and Jews: An American Historical Perspective," a conference held at Washington University in St. Louis and dedicated to the exploration of Black-Jewish relations in twentieth-century America. Featuring presentations by historians, sociologists, and political scientists, this conference reflected Grant's devotion to scholarship on multicultural relations and the continuing struggle for racial equality in the United States. After Grant's untimely death in 1995, V. P. Franklin and the other contributors completed the work of readying these essays for publication with the assistance of the coeditors. African Americans and Jews in the Twentieth Century is the culmination of the innovative research and ideas presented at the conference.

In the long struggle to bring social justice to American society, Blacks and Jews have often been close allies. In both the past and the present, however, there has also been serious conflict and competition between the groups in social, economic, and political spheres.

Focusing on the complexity of the relationships between Blacks and Jews in America, these essays examine the convergence and conflict that have characterized Black-Jewish interactions over the past century. African Americans and Jews in the Twentieth Century provides an intellectual foundation for continued dialogue and future cooperative efforts to improve social justice in this society and will be an invaluable resource for the study of race relations in the United States in the twentieth century.

[more]

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African Americans in the Furniture City
The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids
Randal Maurice Jelks
University of Illinois Press, 2006
African Americans in the Furniture City is unique not only in terms of its subject, but also for its framing of the African American struggle for survival, civil rights, and community inside a discussion of the larger white community. Examining the African-American community of Grand Rapids, Michigan between 1850 and 1954, Randal Maurice Jelks uncovers the ways in which its members faced urbanization, responded to structural racism, developed in terms of occupations, and shaped their communal identities.

Focusing on the intersection of African Americans' nineteenth-century cultural values and the changing social and political conditions in the first half of the twentieth century, Jelks pays particularly close attention to the religious community's influence during their struggle toward a respectable social identity and fair treatment under the law. He explores how these competing values defined the community's politics as it struggled to expand its freedoms and change its status as a subjugated racial minority.

[more]

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African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy
From the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama
Edited by Linda Heywood, Allison Blakely, Charles Stith, and Joshua C. Yesnowitz
University of Illinois Press, 2015
Bookended by remarks from African American diplomats Walter C. Carrington and Charles Stith, the essays in this volume use close readings of speeches, letters, historical archives, diaries, memoirs of policymakers, and newly available FBI files to confront much-neglected questions related to race and foreign relations in the United States. Why, for instance, did African Americans profess loyalty and support for the diplomatic initiatives of a nation that undermined their social, political, and economic well-being through racist policies and cultural practices? Other contributions explore African Americans' history in the diplomatic and consular services and the influential roles of cultural ambassadors like Joe Louis and Louis Armstrong. The volume concludes with an analysis of the effects on race and foreign policy in the administration of Barack Obama.

Groundbreaking and critical, African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy expands on the scope and themes of recent collections to offer the most up-to-date scholarship to students in a range of disciplines, including U.S. and African American history, Africana studies, political science, and American studies.

[more]

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African Intellectual Heritage
Molefi Asante
Temple University Press, 1996

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African or American?
Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784-1861
Leslie M. ALexander
University of Illinois Press, 2012

During the early national and antebellum eras, black leaders in New York City confronted the tenuous nature of Northern emancipation. Despite the hope of freedom, black New Yorkers faced a series of sociopolitical issues including the persistence of Southern slavery, the threat of forced removal, racial violence, and the denial of American citizenship. Even efforts to create community space within the urban landscape, such as the African Burial Ground and Seneca Village, were eventually demolished to make way for the city's rapid development. In this illuminating history, Leslie M. Alexander chronicles the growth and development of black activism in New York from the formation of the first black organization, the African Society, in 1784 to the eve of the Civil War in 1861. In this critical period, black activists sought to formulate an effective response to their unequal freedom. Examining black newspapers, speeches, and organizational records, this study documents the creation of mutual relief, religious, and political associations, which black men and women infused with African cultural traditions and values.

As Alexander reveals, conflicts over early black political strategy foreshadowed critical ideological struggles that would bedevil the black leadership for generations to come. Initially, black leaders advocated racial uplift through a sense of communalism and connection to their African heritage. Yet by the antebellum era, black activists struggled to reconcile their African identity with a growing desire to gain American citizenship. Ultimately, this battle resulted in competing agendas; while some leaders argued that the black community should dedicate themselves to moral improvement and American citizenship, others began to consider emigrating to Africa or Haiti. In the end, the black leadership resolved to assert an American identity and to expand their mission for full equality and citizenship in the United States. This decision marked a crucial turning point in black political strategy, for it signaled a new phase in the quest for racial advancement and fostered the creation of a nascent Black Nationalism. 

[more]

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Africana Studies
Theoretical Futures
Edited by Grant Farred
Temple University Press, 2022

As Africana Studies celebrates its fiftieth anniversary throughout the United States, this invigor ating collection presents possibilities for the future of the discipline’s theoretical paths. The essays in Africana Studies focus on philosophy, science, and technology; poetry, literature, and music; the crisis of the state; issues of colonialism, globalization, and neoliberalism; and the ever-expanding diaspora. The editor and contributors to this volume open exciting avenues for new narratives, philosophies, vision, and scale in this critical field of study—formed during the 1960s around issues of racial injustice in America—to show what Africana Studies is already in the process of becoming.

Africana Studies recognizes how the discipline has been shaped, changing over the decades as scholars have opened new modes of theoretical engagement such as addressing issues of gender and sexuality, politics, and cultural studies. The essays debate and (re)consider black and diasporic life to sustain, provoke, and cultivate Africana Studies as a singular yet polyvalent mode of thinking.

Contributors: Akin Adeṣọkan, John E. Drabinski, Zeyad El Nabolsy, Pierre-Philippe Fraiture, Kasareka Kavwahirehi, Gregory Pardlo, Radwa Saad, Sarah Then Bergh, and the editor

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Africana Thought, Volume 108
Grant Farred, ed.
Duke University Press
This special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly brings together scholars from a range of disciplines—including philosophy, anthropology, and literature—who are committed to thinking about the condition of contemporary black life. Moving among Africa, the United States, and the Caribbean, this issue demonstrates the vibrancy and historical roots of Africana thought and philosophy.

One essay reveals the intricate richness of Africana thought, moving through psychoanalysis, folktales, Western metaphysics, and a critique of the political. Another essay offers a cautionary tale about the prospects for black life in the United States, even in the wake of Barack Obama’s historic political victory. A third essay argues that a “dead zone”—a place where black lives are lost, where hopes are dashed, where history has failed the black subject—exists between the black elite and the disenfranchised black underclass. Still another essay addresses how the discourse about the political has triumphed over everything else in considerations of colonialism and its aftermath and proposes that a turn to culture might offer a new thinking of black futures.

[more]

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The African-American History of Nashville, Tennessee, 1780-1930
Elites and Dilemmas
Bobby L. Lovett
University of Arkansas Press, 1999

Since its founding, Nashville has been a center of black urban culture in the Upper South. Blacks—slave and free—made up 20 percent of Fort Nashborough’s settlers in 1779. From these early years through the Civil War, a growing black community in Nashville, led by a small group of black elites, quietly built the foundations of a future society, developing schools, churches, and businesses. The Civil War brought new freedoms and challenges as the black population of Nashville increased and as black elites found themselves able—even obliged—to act more openly. To establish a more stable and prosperous African-American community, the elites found that they had to work within a system bound to the interests of whites. But the aims of this elite did not always coincide with those of the black community at large. By 1930, younger blacks, in particular, were moving towards protest and confrontation. As democratization and higher education spread, the lines distinguishing Nashville’s black elite became blurred.

Bobby L. Lovett presents a complex analysis of black experience in Nashville during the years between 1780 and 1930, exploring the impact of civil rights, education, politics, religion, business, and neighborhood development on a particular African-American community. This study of black Nashville examines lives lived within a web of shifting alliances and interests—the choices made, the difficulties overcome.

Fifteen years in the making, illustrated with maps and photographs, this work is the first detailed study of any of Tennessee’s major urban black communities. Lovett here collects, organizes, and interprets a large, rich body of data, making this material newly accessible to all interested in the black urban experience.

[more]

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African-American Mayors
Race, Politics, and the American City
Edited by David R. Colburn and Jeffrey S. Adler
University of Illinois Press, 2001
On November 7, 1967, the voters of Cleveland, Ohio, and Gary, Indiana, elected the nation's first African-American mayors to govern their cities. Ten years later more than two hundred black mayors held office, and by 1993 sixty-seven major urban centers, most with majority-white populations, were headed by African Americans.

Once in office, African-American mayors faced vexing challenges. In large and small cities from the Sunbelt to the Rustbelt, black mayors assumed office during economic downturns and confronted the intractable problems of decaying inner cities, white flight, a dwindling tax base, violent crime, and diminishing federal support for social programs. Many encountered hostility from their own parties, city councils, and police departments; others worked against long-established power structures dominated by local business owners or politicians. Still others, while trying to respond to multiple demands from a diverse constituency, were viewed as traitors by blacks expecting special attention from a leader of their own race. All struggled with the contradictory mandate of meeting the increasing needs of poor inner-city residents while keeping white businesses from fleeing to the suburbs.

This is the first comprehensive treatment of the complex phenomenon of African-American mayors in the nation's major urban centers. Offering a diverse portrait of leadership, conflict, and almost insurmountable obstacles, this volume assesses the political alliances that brought black mayors to office as well as their accomplishments--notably, increased minority hiring and funding for minority businesses--and the challenges that marked their careers. Mayors profiled include Carl B. Stokes (Cleveland), Richard G. Hatcher (Gary), "Dutch" Morial (New Orleans), Harold Washington (Chicago), Tom Bradley (Los Angeles), Marion Barry (Washington, D.C.), David Dinkins (New York City), Coleman Young (Detroit), and a succession of black mayors in Atlanta (Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, and Bill Campbell).Probing the elusive economic dimension of black power, African-American Mayors demonstrates how the same circumstances that set the stage for the victories of black mayors exaggerated the obstacles they faced.

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African-American Newspapers and Periodicals
A National Bibliography
James P. Danky
Harvard University Press, 1998

"We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us." These words are from the front page of Freedom's Journal, the first African-American newspaper published in the United States, in 1827, a milestone event in the history of an oppressed people. From then on a prodigious and hitherto almost unknown cascade of newspapers, magazines, letters, and other literary, historical, and popular writing poured from presses chronicling black life in America.

The authentic voice of African-American culture is captured in this first comprehensive guide to a treasure trove of writings by and for a people, as found in sources in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. This bibliography of over 6,000 entries is the indispensable guide to the stories of slavery, freedom, Jim Crow, segregation, liberation, struggle, and triumph.

Besides describing many new discoveries--from church documents to early civil rights ephemera, from school records to single-mother newsletters, from artists' journals to labor publications--this work informs researchers where and how to find them (for example, through online databases, microfilm, or traditional catalogs).

[more]

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African-American Poetry of the Nineteenth Century
AN ANTHOLOGY
Edited by Joan R. Sherman
University of Illinois Press, 1992
In this bestselling companion to her pioneering study, Invisible Poets, Joan Sherman continues to make new generations aware of the "invisible" legacy of nineteenth-century black American poetry. The 171 poems here, by thirty-five men and women, have been transcribed
from first editions and are annotated in detail.
 
[more]

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Africans and Native Americans
The Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples
Jack D. Forbes
University of Illinois Press, 1993
Jack D. Forbes's monumental Africans and Native Americans has become a canonical text in the study of relations between the two groups. Forbes explores key issues relating to the evolution of racial terminology and European colonialists' perceptions of color, analyzing the development of color classification systems and the specific evolution of key terms such as black, mulatto, and mestizo--terms that no longer carry their original meanings. Forbes also presents strong evidence that Native American and African contacts began in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean.
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AFRICOBRA
Experimental Art toward a School of Thought
Wadsworth A. Jarrell
Duke University Press, 2020
Formed on the South Side of Chicago in 1968 at the height of the civil rights, Black power, and Black arts movements, the AFRICOBRA collective created a new artistic visual language rooted in the culture of Chicago's Black neighborhoods. The collective's aesthetics, especially the use of vibrant color, capture the rhythmic dynamism of Black culture and social life. In AFRICOBRA, painter, photographer, and collective cofounder Wadsworth A. Jarrell tells the definitive story of the group's creation, history, and artistic and political principles. From accounts of the painting of the groundbreaking Wall of Respect mural and conversations among group members to documentation of AFRICOBRA's exhibits in Chicago, New York, and Boston, Jarrell outlines how the collective challenged white conceptions of art by developing an artistic philosophy and approach wholly divested of Western practices. Featuring nearly one hundred color images of artworks, exhibition ephemera, and photographs, this book is at once a sourcebook history of AFRICOBRA and the story of visionary artists who rejected the white art establishment in order to create uplifting art for all Black people.
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Afrindian Fictions
Diaspora, Race, and National Desire in South Africa
Pallavi Rastogi
The Ohio State University Press, 2008
In the first published book-length study of Indian fiction in South Africa, Pallavi Rastogi demonstrates that Indians desire South African citizenship in the fullest sense of the word, a longing for inclusion that is asserted through an “Afrindian” identity. Afrindian Fictions: Diaspora, Race, and National Desire in South Africa examines Afrindian identity and blurs the racial binary of black and white interaction in South African studies as well as unsettles the East-West paradigm of migration dominant in South Asian diaspora studies.
 
While offering incisive analyses of the work of the most important South African Indian writers today—Ahmed Essop, Farida Karodia, Achmat Dangor, Imraan Coovadia, and Praba Moodley among others—the author also places South African Indian fiction within broader literary traditions. Rastogi’s project of recovery shines a light on the rich but neglected literature by South African Indians. The book closes with interviews conducted with six key South African Indian writers. Here the authors not only reflect on their own writing but also comment on many of the issues raised in the book itself, particularly the role of Indians in South Africa today, and the status of South African Indian writing.
 
Afrindian Fictions is a valuable introduction to South African Indian literature as well as a major interrogation of some of the foundational notions of post-colonial literary studies.
 
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Afro Asia
Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections between African Americans and Asian Americans
Fred Ho and Bill V. Mullen, eds.
Duke University Press, 2008
With contributions from activists, artists, and scholars, Afro Asia is a groundbreaking collection of writing on the historical alliances, cultural connections, and shared political strategies linking African Americans and Asian Americans. Bringing together autobiography, poetry, scholarly criticism, and other genres, this volume represents an activist vanguard in the cultural struggle against oppression.

Afro Asia opens with analyses of historical connections between people of African and of Asian descent. An account of nineteenth-century Chinese laborers who fought against slavery and colonialism in Cuba appears alongside an exploration of African Americans’ reactions to and experiences of the Korean “conflict.” Contributors examine the fertile period of Afro-Asian exchange that began around the time of the 1955 Bandung Conference, the first meeting of leaders from Asian and African nations in the postcolonial era. One assesses the relationship of two important 1960s Asian American activists to Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Mao Ze Dong’s 1963 and 1968 statements in support of black liberation are juxtaposed with an overview of the influence of Maoism on African American leftists.

Turning to the arts, Ishmael Reed provides a brief account of how he met and helped several Asian American writers. A Vietnamese American spoken-word artist describes the impact of black hip-hop culture on working-class urban Asian American youth. Fred Ho interviews Bill Cole, an African American jazz musician who plays Asian double-reed instruments. This pioneering collection closes with an array of creative writing, including poetry, memoir, and a dialogue about identity and friendship that two writers, one Japanese American and the other African American, have performed around the United States.

Contributors: Betsy Esch, Diane C. Fujino, royal hartigan, Kim Hewitt, Cheryl Higashida, Fred Ho,
Everett Hoagland, Robin D. G. Kelley, Bill V. Mullen, David Mura, Ishle Park, Alexs Pate, Thien-bao Thuc Phi, Ishmael Reed, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Maya Almachar Santos, JoYin C. Shih, Ron Wheeler, Daniel Widener, Lisa Yun

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Afro-Atlantic Flight
Speculative Returns and the Black Fantastic
Michelle D. Commander
Duke University Press, 2017
In Afro-Atlantic Flight Michelle D. Commander traces how post-civil rights Black American artists, intellectuals, and travelers envision literal and figurative flight back to Africa as a means by which to heal the dispossession caused by the slave trade. Through ethnographic, historical, literary, and filmic analyses, Commander shows the ways that cultural producers such as Octavia Butler, Thomas Allen Harris, and Saidiya Hartman engage with speculative thought about slavery, the spiritual realm, and Africa, thereby structuring the imaginary that propels future return flights.  She goes on to examine Black Americans’ cultural heritage tourism in and migration to Ghana; Bahia, Brazil; and various sites of slavery in the US South to interrogate the ways that a cadre of actors produces “Africa” and contests master narratives. Compellingly, these material flights do not always satisfy Black Americans’ individualistic desires for homecoming and liberation, leading Commander to focus on the revolutionary possibilities inherent in psychic speculative returns and to argue for the development of a Pan-Africanist stance that works to more effectively address the contemporary resonances of slavery that exist across the Afro-Atlantic.
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Afrocentric Idea Revised
Molefi Asante
Temple University Press, 1998
This new edition of The Afrocentric Idea boldly confronts the contemporary challenges that have been launched against Molefi Kete Asante's philosophical, social, and cultural theory. By rendering  a critique of some post-modern positions as well as the old structured Eurocentric orientations discussed in the first edition, this new edition contains lively engagements with views expressed by Mary Lefkowitz, Paul Gilroy, and Cornel West. Expanding on his core ideas, Asante has cast The Afrocentric Idea in the tradition of provocative critiques of the established social order. This is a fresh and dynamic location of culture within the context of  social change.
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Afrofuturism, Volume 20
Alondra Nelson
Duke University Press
Challenging mainstream technocultural assumptions of a raceless future, Afrofuturism explores culturally distinct approaches to technology. This special issue addresses the intersection between African diasporic culture and technology through literature, poetry, science fiction and speculative fiction, music, visual art, and the Internet and maintains that racial identity fundamentally influences technocultural practices.
The collection includes a reflection on the ideologies of race created by cultural critics in their analyses of change wrought by the information age; an interview with Nalo Hopkinson, the award-winning novelist and author of speculative fiction novels Midnight Robber and Brown Girl in the Ring, who fuses futuristic thinking with Caribbean traditions; an essay on how contemporary R&B music presents African American reflections on the technologies of everyday life; and an article examining early interventions by the black community to carve out a distinct niche in cyberspace.

Contributors. Ron Eglash, Anna Everett, Tana Hargest, Nalo Hopkinson, Tracie Morris, Alondra Nelson, Kalí Tal, Fatimah Tuggar, Alexander G. Weheliye
Alondra Nelson is a Ph.D. candidate in the American Studies Program at New York University and is the Ann Plato Fellow at Trinity College. She will begin teaching in the African American Studies and Sociology Departments at Yale University in the fall of 2002.

Contributors. Ron Eglash, Anna Everett, Tana Hargest, Nalo Hopkinson, Alondra Nelson, Tracie Morris, Kali Tal, Fatimah Tuggar, Alexander G. Weheliye

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The Afro-Latin@ Reader
History and Culture in the United States
Miriam Jiménez Román and Juan Flores, eds.
Duke University Press, 2010
The Afro-Latin@ Reader focuses attention on a large, vibrant, yet oddly invisible community in the United States: people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. The presence of Afro-Latin@s in the United States (and throughout the Americas) belies the notion that Blacks and Latin@s are two distinct categories or cultures. Afro-Latin@s are uniquely situated to bridge the widening social divide between Latin@s and African Americans; at the same time, their experiences reveal pervasive racism among Latin@s and ethnocentrism among African Americans. Offering insight into Afro-Latin@ life and new ways to understand culture, ethnicity, nation, identity, and antiracist politics, The Afro-Latin@ Reader presents a kaleidoscopic view of Black Latin@s in the United States. It addresses history, music, gender, class, and media representations in more than sixty selections, including scholarly essays, memoirs, newspaper and magazine articles, poetry, short stories, and interviews.

While the selections cover centuries of Afro-Latin@ history, since the arrival of Spanish-speaking Africans in North America in the mid-sixteenth-century, most of them focus on the past fifty years. The central question of how Afro-Latin@s relate to and experience U.S. and Latin American racial ideologies is engaged throughout, in first-person accounts of growing up Afro-Latin@, a classic essay by a leader of the Young Lords, and analyses of U.S. census data on race and ethnicity, as well as in pieces on gender and sexuality, major-league baseball, and religion. The contributions that Afro-Latin@s have made to U.S. culture are highlighted in essays on the illustrious Afro-Puerto Rican bibliophile Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and music and dance genres from salsa to mambo, and from boogaloo to hip hop. Taken together, these and many more selections help to bring Afro-Latin@s in the United States into critical view.

Contributors: Afro–Puerto Rican Testimonies Project, Josefina Baéz, Ejima Baker, Luis Barrios, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Adrian Burgos Jr., Ginetta E. B. Candelario, Adrián Castro, Jesús Colón, Marta I. Cruz-Janzen, William A. Darity Jr., Milca Esdaille, Sandra María Esteves, María Teresa Fernández (Mariposa), Carlos Flores, Juan Flores, Jack D. Forbes, David F. Garcia, Ruth Glasser, Virginia Meecham Gould, Susan D. Greenbaum, Evelio Grillo, Pablo “Yoruba” Guzmán, Gabriel Haslip-Viera, Tanya K. Hernández, Victor Hernández Cruz, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, Lisa Hoppenjans, Vielka Cecilia Hoy, Alan J. Hughes, María Rosario Jackson, James Jennings, Miriam Jiménez Román, Angela Jorge, David Lamb, Aida Lambert, Ana M. Lara, Evelyne Laurent-Perrault, Tato Laviera, John Logan, Antonio López, Felipe Luciano, Louis Pancho McFarland, Ryan Mann-Hamilton, Wayne Marshall, Marianela Medrano, Nancy Raquel Mirabal, Yvette Modestin, Ed Morales, Jairo Moreno, Marta Moreno Vega, Willie Perdomo, Graciela Pérez Gutiérrez, Sofia Quintero, Ted Richardson, Louis Reyes Rivera, Pedro R. Rivera , Raquel Z. Rivera, Yeidy Rivero, Mark Q. Sawyer, Piri Thomas, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Nilaja Sun, Sherezada “Chiqui” Vicioso, Peter H. Wood

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Afro-Nostalgia
Feeling Good in Contemporary Black Culture
Badia Ahad-Legardy
University of Illinois Press, 2021
As early as the eighteenth century, white Americans and Europeans believed that people of African descent could not experience nostalgia. As a result, black lives have been predominately narrated through historical scenes of slavery and oppression. This phenomenon created a missing archive of romantic historical memories.

Badia Ahad-Legardy mines literature, visual culture, performance, and culinary arts to form an archive of black historical joy for use by the African-descended. Her analysis reveals how contemporary black artists find more than trauma and subjugation within the historical past. Drawing on contemporary African American culture and recent psychological studies, she reveals nostalgia’s capacity to produce positive emotions. Afro-nostalgia emerges as an expression of black romantic recollection that creates and inspires good feelings even within our darkest moments.

Original and provocative, Afro-Nostalgia offers black historical pleasure as a remedy to contend with the disillusionment of the present and the traumas of the past.

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After #Ferguson, After #Baltimore
The Challenge of Black Death and Black Life for Black Political Thought
Barnor Hesse and Juliet Hooker, special issue editors
Duke University Press, 2017
Drawing primarily on the US #blacklivesmatter movement, contributors to this issue come to terms with the crisis in the meaning of black politics during the post–civil rights era as evidenced in the unknown trajectories of black protests. The authors' timely essays frame black protests and the implications of contemporary police killings of black people as symptomatic of a crisis in black politics within the white limits of liberal democracy.

Topics in this issue include the contemporary politics of black rage; the significance of the Ferguson and Baltimore black protests in circumventing formal electoral politics; the ways in which centering the dead black male body draws attention away from other daily forms of racial and gender violence that particularly affect black women; the problem of white nationalisms motivated by a sense of white grievance; the international and decolonial dimensions of black politics; and the relation between white sovereignty and black life politics.

Contributors. Barnor Hesse, Juliet Hooker, Minkah Makalani, John Márquez, Junaid Rana, Deborah Thompson, Shatema Threadcraft
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After Freedom
A Cultural Study In The Deep South
Hortense Powdermaker
University of Wisconsin Press, 1993
First published in 1939, After Freedom is the first complete ethnography of an African American community in the United States.
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"After Mecca"
Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement
Clarke, Cheryl
Rutgers University Press, 2004
The politics and music of the sixties and early seventies have been the subject of scholarship for many years, but it is only very recently that attention has turned to the cultural production of African American poets. 

In "After Mecca," Cheryl Clarke explores the relationship between the Black Arts Movement and black women writers of the period. Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Ntozake Shange, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Jayne Cortez, Alice Walker, and others chart the emergence of a new and distinct black poetry and its relationship to the black community's struggle for rights and liberation. Clarke also traces the contributions of these poets to the development of feminism and lesbian-feminism, and the legacy they left for others to build on. 

She argues that whether black women poets of the time were writing from within the movement or writing against it, virtually all were responding to it. Using the trope of "Mecca," she explores the ways in which these writers were turning away from white, western society to create a new literacy of blackness.
 
Provocatively written, this book is an important contribution to the fields of African American literary studies and feminist theory. 
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The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery
Biocapitalism and Black Feminism’s Philosophy of History
Alys Eve Weinbaum
Duke University Press, 2019
In The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery Alys Eve Weinbaum investigates the continuing resonances of Atlantic slavery in the cultures and politics of human reproduction that characterize contemporary biocapitalism. As a form of racial capitalism that relies on the commodification of the human reproductive body, biocapitalism is dependent upon what Weinbaum calls the slave episteme—the racial logic that drove four centuries of slave breeding in the Americas and Caribbean. Weinbaum outlines how the slave episteme shapes the practice of reproduction today, especially through use of biotechnology and surrogacy. Engaging with a broad set of texts, from Toni Morrison's Beloved and Octavia Butler's dystopian speculative fiction to black Marxism, histories of slavery, and legal cases involving surrogacy, Weinbaum shows how black feminist contributions from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s constitute a powerful philosophy of history—one that provides the means through which to understand how reproductive slavery haunts the present.
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Against the Closet
Black Political Longing and the Erotics of Race
Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman
Duke University Press, 2012
In Against the Closet, Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman interrogates and challenges cultural theorists' interpretations of sexual transgression in African American literature. She argues that, from the mid-nineteenth century through the twentieth, black writers used depictions of erotic transgression to contest popular theories of identity, pathology, national belonging, and racial difference in American culture. Connecting metaphors of sexual transgression to specific historical periods, Abdur-Rahman explains how tropes such as sadomasochism and incest illuminated the psychodynamics of particular racial injuries and suggested forms of social repair and political redress from the time of slavery, through post-Reconstruction and the civil rights and black power movements, to the late twentieth century.

Abdur-Rahman brings black feminist, psychoanalytic, critical race, and poststructuralist theories to bear on literary genres from slave narratives to science fiction. Analyzing works by African American writers, including Frederick Douglass, Pauline Hopkins, Harriet Jacobs, James Baldwin, and Octavia Butler, she shows how literary representations of transgressive sexuality expressed the longings of African Americans for individual and collective freedom. Abdur-Rahman contends that those representations were fundamental to the development of African American forms of literary expression and modes of political intervention and cultural self-fashioning.

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Agitations
Ideologies and Strategies in African American Politics
Kevin R. Anderson
University of Arkansas Press, 2010

Though the activities of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were unified in their common idea of resistance to oppression, these groups fought their battles on multiple fronts. The NAACP filed lawsuits and aggressively lobbied Congress and state legislatures, while Martin Luther King Jr. and SCLC challenged the racial status quo through nonviolent mass action, and the SNCC focused on community empowerment activities. In Agitations, Kevin Anderson studies these various activities in order to trace the ideological foundations of these groups and to understand how diversity among African Americans created multiple political strategies.

Agitations goes beyond the traditionally acknowledged divide between integrationist and accommodationist wings of African American politics to explore the diverse fundamental ideologies and strategic outcomes among African American activists that still define, influence, and complicate political life today.

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Ain't But a Few of Us
Black Music Writers Tell Their Story
Willard Jenkins, editor
Duke University Press, 2022
Despite the fact that most of jazz’s major innovators and performers have been African American, the overwhelming majority of jazz journalists, critics, and authors have been and continue to be white men. No major mainstream jazz publication has ever had a black editor or publisher. Ain’t But a Few of Us presents over two dozen candid dialogues with black jazz critics and journalists ranging from Greg Tate, Farah Jasmine Griffin, and Robin D. G. Kelley to Tammy Kernodle, Ron Welburn, and John Murph. They discuss the obstacles to access for black jazz journalists, outline how they contend with the world of jazz writing dominated by white men, and point out that these racial disparities are not confined to jazz but hamper their efforts at writing about other music genres as well. Ain’t But a Few of Us also includes an anthology section, which reprints classic essays and articles from black writers and musicians such as LeRoi Jones, Archie Shepp, A. B. Spellman, and Herbie Nichols.

Contributors
Eric Arnold, Bridget Arnwine, Angelika Beener, Playthell Benjamin, Herb Boyd, Bill Brower, Jo Ann Cheatham, Karen Chilton, Janine Coveney, Marc Crawford, Stanley Crouch, Anthony Dean-Harris, Jordannah Elizabeth, Lofton Emenari III, Bill Francis, Barbara Gardner, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Jim Harrison, Eugene Holley Jr., Haybert Houston, Robin James, Willard Jenkins, Martin Johnson, LeRoi Jones, Robin D. G. Kelley, Tammy Kernodle, Steve Monroe, Rahsaan Clark Morris, John Murph, Herbie Nichols, Don Palmer, Bill Quinn, Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr., Ron Scott, Gene Seymour, Archie Shepp, Wayne Shorter, A. B. Spellman, Rex Stewart, Greg Tate, Billy Taylor, Greg Thomas, Robin Washington, Ron Welburn, Hollie West, K. Leander Williams, Ron Wynn
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Ain't I an Anthropologist
Zora Neale Hurston Beyond the Literary Icon
Jennifer L. Freeman Marshall
University of Illinois Press, 2023
Iconic as a novelist and popular cultural figure, Zora Neale Hurston remains underappreciated as an anthropologist. Is it inevitable that Hurston’s literary authority should eclipse her anthropological authority? If not, what socio-cultural and institutional values and processes shape the different ways we read her work? Jennifer L. Freeman Marshall considers the polar receptions to Hurston’s two areas of achievement by examining the critical response to her work across both fields. Drawing on a wide range of readings, Freeman Marshall explores Hurston’s popular appeal as iconography, her elevation into the literary canon, her concurrent marginalization in anthropology despite her significant contributions, and her place within constructions of Black feminist literary traditions.

Perceptive and original, Ain’t I an Anthropologist is an overdue reassessment of Zora Neale Hurston’s place in American cultural and intellectual life.

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AlabamaNorth
African-American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915-45
Kimberley L. Phillips
University of Illinois Press, 1999

Langston Hughes called it "a great dark tide from the South": the unprecedented influx of blacks into Cleveland that gave the city the nickname "Alabama North." Kimberley L. Phillips reveals the breadth of working class black experiences and activities in Cleveland and the extent to which these were shaped by traditions and values brought from the South. 

Migrants' moves north established complex networks of kin and friends and infused Cleveland with a highly visible southern African American culture. Phillips examines the variety of black fraternal, benevolent, social, and church-based organizations that working class migrants created and demonstrates how these groups prepared the way for new forms of individual and collective activism in workplaces and the city. Giving special consideration to the experiences of working class black women, AlabamaNorth reveals how migrants' expressions of tradition and community gave them a new consciousness of themselves as organized workers and created the underpinning for new forms of black labor activism.

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Alien Soil
Oral Histories of Great Migration Newark
Katie Singer
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Alien Soil: Oral Histories of Great Migration Newark explores Newark’s Krueger-Scott African-American Cultural Center collection of over 100 oral histories. Historian Katie Singer separates these stories into thematic categories of social and political events, including church, work, and activism, in order to paint an intimate portrait of everyday urbanity and the larger Black urban experience in Newark. Through the examination of these Krueger-Scott narratives, Singer challenges historical falsehoods with the lived experiences of Newarkers who traveled North during the Great Migration, as well as established city residents. Alien Soil effectively contextualizes Newark history and re-inserts Black voices into historiography traditionally dominated by “outsiders."

The book begins with the Krueger-Scott Mansion’s deep history, followed by the sequence of events surrounding the proposed Cultural Center. Last owned by African-American millionaire and beauty-culture entrepreneur Louise Scott, the Victorian Krueger-Scott Mansion was built by beer baron Gottfried Krueger in 1888. Through the history of the Mansion, and the ultimately failed Cultural Center project, one learns about the Newark that African Americans migrated to, what they found when they got there, how living in the city changed them, and how they, individually and collectively, changed Newark.

After the Cultural Center project was officially halted in 2000, the cassette tapes of the oral history interviews were stored away at the Newark Public Library. Ten years later they were unearthed, and ultimately digitized. As of yet, no one has applied these sources directly to their research. Deeply committed to these rich, insightful stories, Singer calls for a more thoughtful consideration of all cities, reminding us that Newark is much more than its 1967 rebellion.
 
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The Aliites
Race and Law in the Religions of Noble Drew Ali
Spencer Dew
University of Chicago Press, 2019
“Citizenship is salvation,” preached Noble Drew Ali, leader of the Moorish Science Temple of America in the early twentieth century. Ali’s message was an aspirational call for black Americans to undertake a struggle for recognition from the state, one that would both ensure protection for all Americans through rights guaranteed by the law and correct the unjust implementation of law that prevailed in the racially segregated United States. Ali and his followers took on this mission of citizenship as a religious calling, working to carve out a place for themselves in American democracy and to bring about a society that lived up to what they considered the sacred purpose of the law.

In The Aliites, Spencer Dew traces the history and impact of Ali’s radical fusion of law and faith. Dew uncovers the influence of Ali’s teachings, including the many movements they inspired. As Dew shows, Ali’s teachings demonstrate an implicit yet critical component of the American approach to law: that it should express our highest ideals for society, even if it is rarely perfect in practice. Examining this robustly creative yet largely overlooked lineage of African American religious thought, Dew provides a window onto religion, race, citizenship, and law in America.
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All God's Dangers
The Life of Nate Shaw
Theodore Rosengarten
University of Chicago Press, 2000
All God's Dangers won the National Book Award in 1975. "On a cold January morning in 1969, a young white graduate student from Massachusetts, stumbling along the dim trail of a long-defunct radical organization of the 1930s, the Alabama Sharecropper Union, heard that there was a survivor and went looking for him. In a rural settlement 20 miles or so from Tuskegee in east-central Alabama he found him—the man he calls Nate Shaw—a black man, 84 years old, in full possession of every moment of his life and every facet of its meaning. . . . Theodore Rosengarten, the student, had found a black Homer, bursting with his black Odyssey and able to tell it with awesome intellectual power, with passion, with the almost frightening power of memory in a man who could neither read nor write but who sensed that the substance of his own life, and a million other black lives like his, were the very fiber of the nation's history." —H. Jack Geiger, New York Times Book Review
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All My Relatives
Community in Contemporary Ethnic American Literatures
Bonnie TuSmith
University of Michigan Press, 1994
All My Relatives challenges the prevailing notion that the work of all American writers reflects a sense of determined individualism. Highlighting works by Frank Chin, Sandra Cisneros, Maxine Hong Kingston, N. Scott Momaday, Tomas Rivera, Leslie Marmon Silko, Alice Walker, and John Edgar Wideman, Bonnie TuSmith shows that a "first language of community" exists within the cultures of ethnic Americans and is evident in their literary texts. TuSmith suggests that the proper understanding of these texts demands that we dismiss an interpretive frame borrowed from European-American literature.
All My Relatives provides a new way of reading popular works such as The Woman Warrior, The Joy Luck Club, The Color Purple and John Edgar Wideman's Sent for You Yesterday. TuSmith's study will appeal to general readers as well as students and scholars of American culture, ethnic studies, and American literature.
"An original contribution to the field. TuSmith's willingness to step over invisible boundaries and to draw parallels between the cultural contexts of several ethnic groups at once is refreshing and important." --Amy Ling, University of Wisconsin, Madison
"Ambitious and timely . . . a significant work that Americanists will want to read. TuSmith does an excellent job of clarifying the meaning and significance of the term "ethnicity" in relation to American literature."--Ramón Saldívar, Stanford University
". . . TuSmith establishes the importance of traditional (usually oral) modes of expression to ethnic texts that are both relational and accessible . . . . [S]hould become a standard point of reference in the emerging field of comparative American literature."--Choice
Bonnie TuSmith is Assistant Professor of English, Bowling Green State University.
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Alley Life in Washington
Family, Community, Religion, and Folklife in the City, 1850-1970
James Borchert
University of Illinois Press, 1980
Forgotten today, established Black communities once existed in the alleyways of Washington, D.C., even in neighborhoods as familiar as Capitol Hill and Foggy Bottom. James Borchert's study delves into the lives and folkways of the largely alley dwellers and how their communities changed from before the Civil War, to the late 1890s era when almost 20,000 people lived in alley houses, to the effects of reform and gentrification in the mid-twentieth century.
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Along the Streets of Bronzeville
Black Chicago's Literary Landscape
Elizabeth Schroeder Schlabach
University of Illinois Press, 2017
Along the Streets of Bronzeville examines the flowering of African American creativity, activism, and scholarship in the South Side Chicago district known as Bronzeville during the period between the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. Poverty stricken, segregated, and bursting at the seams with migrants, Bronzeville was the community that provided inspiration, training, and work for an entire generation of diversely talented African American authors and artists who came of age during the years between the two world wars.

In this significant recovery project, Elizabeth Schroeder Schlabach investigates the institutions and streetscapes of Black Chicago that fueled an entire literary and artistic movement. She argues that African American authors and artists--such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, painter Archibald Motley, and many others--viewed and presented black reality from a specific geographic vantage point: the view along the streets of Bronzeville. Schlabach explores how the particular rhythms and scenes of daily life in Bronzeville locations, such as the State Street "Stroll" district or the bustling intersection of 47th Street and South Parkway, figured into the creative works and experiences of the artists and writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance. She also covers in detail the South Side Community Art Center and the South Side Writers' Group, two institutions of art and literature that engendered a unique aesthetic consciousness and political ideology for which the Black Chicago Renaissance would garner much fame.

Life in Bronzeville also involved economic hardship and social injustice, themes that resonated throughout the flourishing arts scene. Schlabach explores Bronzeville's harsh living conditions, exemplified in the cramped one-bedroom kitchenette apartments that housed many of the migrants drawn to the city's promises of opportunity and freedom. Many struggled with the precariousness of urban life, and Schlabach shows how the once vibrant neighborhood eventually succumbed to the pressures of segregation and economic disparity. Providing a virtual tour South Side African American urban life at street level, Along the Streets of Bronzeville charts the complex interplay and intersection of race, geography, and cultural criticism during the Black Chicago Renaissance's rise and fall.

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Amalgamation Schemes
Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism
Jared Sexton
University of Minnesota Press, 2008

Despite being heralded as the answer to racial conflict in the post–civil rights United States, the principal political effect of multiracialism is neither a challenge to the ideology of white supremacy nor a defiance of sexual racism. More accurately, Jared Sexton argues in Amalgamation Schemes, multiculturalism displaces both by evoking long-standing tenets of antiblackness and prescriptions for normative sexuality.

In this timely and penetrating analysis, Sexton pursues a critique of contemporary multiracialism, from the splintered political initiatives of the multiracial movement to the academic field of multiracial studies, to the melodramatic media declarations about “the browning of America.” He contests the rationales of colorblindness and multiracial exceptionalism and the promotion of a repackaged family values platform in order to demonstrate that the true target of multiracialism is the singularity of blackness as a social identity, a political organizing principle, and an object of desire. From this vantage, Sexton interrogates the trivialization of sexual violence under chattel slavery and the convoluted relationship between racial and sexual politics in the new multiracial consciousness.

An original and challenging intervention, Amalgamation Schemes posits that multiracialism stems from the conservative and reactionary forces determined to undo the gains of the modern civil rights movement and dismantle radical black and feminist politics.

Jared Sexton is assistant professor of African American studies and film and media studies at the University of California, Irvine.

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The Amalgamation Waltz
Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory
Tavia Nyong’o
University of Minnesota Press, 2009

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Ambiguous Lives
Free Women of Color in Rural Georgia, 1789–1879
Adele Logan Alexander
University of Arkansas Press, 1992

1992 Myers Center Outstanding Book on Human Rights

Historians have produced scores of studies on white men, extraordinary white women, and even the often anonymous mass of enslaved Black people in the United States. But in this innovative work, Adele Logan Alexander chronicles there heretofore undocumented dilemmas of one of nineteenth-century America’s most marginalized groups—free women of color in the rural South.

Ambiguous Lives focuses on the women of Alexander’s own family as representative of this subcaste of the African-American community. Their forbears, in fact, included Africans, Native Americans, and whites. Neither black nor white, affluent nor impoverished, enslaved nor truly free, these women of color lived and died in a shadowy realm situated somewhere between the legal, social, and economic extremes of empowered whites and subjugated blacks. Yet, as Alexander persuasively argues, these lives are worthy of attention precisely because of these ambiguities—because the intricacies, gradations, and subtleties of their anomalous experience became part of the tangled skein of American history and exemplify our country’s endless diversity, complexity, and self-contradictions.

Written as a “reclamation” of a long-ignored substratum of our society, Ambiguous Lives is more than the story of one family—it is a well-researched and fascinating profile of America, its race and gender relations, and its complex cultural weave.

 
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American Apartheid
Massey Douglas
Harvard University Press, 1993
This powerful and disturbing book clearly links persistent poverty among blacks in the United States to the unparalleled degree of deliberate segregation they experience in American cities. American Apartheid shows how the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. It goes on to show that, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, segregation is perpetuated today through an interlocking set of individual actions, institutional practices, and governmental policies. In some urban areas the degree of black segregation is so intense and occurs in so many dimensions simultaneously that it amounts to “hypersegregation.” Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton demonstrate that this systematic segregation of African Americans leads inexorably to the creation of underclass communities during periods of economic downturn. Under conditions of extreme segregation, any increase in the overall rate of black poverty yields a marked increase in the geographic concentration of indigence and the deterioration of social and economic conditions in black communities. As ghetto residents adapt to this increasingly harsh environment under a climate of racial isolation, they evolve attitudes, behaviors, and practices that further marginalize their neighborhoods and undermine their chances of success in mainstream American society. This book is a sober challenge to those who argue that race is of declining significance in the United States today.
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American Apartheid
Segregation and the Making of the Underclass
Douglas Massey and Nancy A. Denton
Harvard University Press, 1993

This powerful and disturbing book clearly links persistent poverty among blacks in the United States to the unparalleled degree of deliberate segregation they experience in American cities.

American Apartheid shows how the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. It goes on to show that, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, segregation is perpetuated today through an interlocking set of individual actions, institutional practices, and governmental policies. In some urban areas the degree of black segregation is so intense and occurs in so many dimensions simultaneously that it amounts to "hypersegregation."

The authors demonstrate that this systematic segregation of African Americans leads inexorably to the creation of underclass communities during periods of economic downturn. Under conditions of extreme segregation, any increase in the overall rate of black poverty yields a marked increase in the geographic concentration of indigence and the deterioration of social and economic conditions in black communities. As ghetto residents adapt to this increasingly harsh environment under a climate of racial isolation, they evolve attitudes, behaviors, and practices that further marginalize their neighborhoods and undermine their chances of success in mainstream American society. This book is a sober challenge to those who argue that race is of declining significance in the United States today.

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American Atrocity
The Types of Violence in Lynching
Guy Lancaster
University of Arkansas Press, 2021

Lynching is often viewed as a narrow form of violence: either the spontaneous act of an angry mob against accused individuals, or a demonstration of white supremacy against an entire population considered subhuman. However, in this new treatise, historian Guy Lancaster exposes the multiple forms of violence hidden beneath the singular label of lynching.

Lancaster, who has written extensively on racial violence, details several lynchings of Blacks by white posses in post-Reconstruction Arkansas. Drawing from the fields of history, philosophy, cognitive science, sociology, and literary theory, and quoting chilling contemporary accounts, he argues that the act of lynching encompasses five distinct but overlapping types of violence. This new framework reveals lynching to be even more of an atrocity than previously understood: that mobs did not disregard the humanity of their victims but rather reveled in it; that they were not simply enacting personal vengeance but manifesting an elite project of subjugation. Lancaster thus clarifies and connects the motives and goals of seemingly isolated lynch mobs, embedding the practice in the ongoing enforcement of white supremacy. By interrogating the substance of lynching, American Atrocity shines new light on both past anti-Black violence and the historical underpinnings of our present moment.

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American Cocktail
A “Colored Girl” in the World
Anita Reynolds
Harvard University Press, 2014

This is the rollicking, never-before-published memoir of a fascinating woman with an uncanny knack for being in the right place in the most interesting times. Of racially mixed heritage, Anita Reynolds was proudly African American but often passed for Indian, Mexican, or Creole. Actress, dancer, model, literary critic, psychologist, but above all free-spirited provocateur, she was, as her Parisian friends nicknamed her, an “American cocktail.”

One of the first black stars of the silent era, she appeared in Hollywood movies with Rudolph Valentino, attended Charlie Chaplin’s anarchist meetings, and studied dance with Ruth St. Denis. She moved to New York in the 1920s and made a splash with both Harlem Renaissance elites and Greenwich Village bohemians. An émigré in Paris, she fell in with the Left Bank avant-garde, befriending Antonin Artaud, Man Ray, and Pablo Picasso. Next, she took up residence as a journalist in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and witnessed firsthand the growing menace of fascism. In 1940, as the Nazi panzers closed in on Paris, Reynolds spent the final days before the French capitulation as a Red Cross nurse, afterward making a mad dash for Lisbon to escape on the last ship departing Europe.

In prose that perfectly captures the globetrotting nonchalance of its author, American Cocktail presents a stimulating, unforgettable self-portrait of a truly extraordinary woman.

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American Congo
The African American Freedom Struggle in the Delta
Nan Elizabeth Woodruff
Harvard University Press, 2003

This is the story of how rural Black people struggled against the oppressive sharecropping system of the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta during the first half of the twentieth century. Here, white planters forged a world of terror and poverty for Black workers, one that resembled the horrific deprivations of the African Congo under Belgium’s King Leopold II.

Delta planters did not cut off the heads and hands of their African American workers but, aided by local law enforcement, they engaged in peonage, murder, theft, and disfranchisement. As individuals and through collective struggle, in conjunction with national organizations like the NAACP and local groups like the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union, Black men and women fought back, demanding a just return for their crops and laying claim to a democratic vision of citizenship. Their efforts were amplified by the two world wars and the depression, which expanded the mobility and economic opportunities of Black people and provoked federal involvement in the region.

Nan Woodruff shows how the freedom fighters of the 1960s would draw on this half-century tradition of protest, thus expanding our standard notions of the civil rights movement and illuminating a neglected but significant slice of the American Black experience.

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An American Dilemma Revisited
Race Relations in a Changing World
Obie, Jr. Clayton
Russell Sage Foundation, 1996
"This book must be regarded as a greatly important contribution to race relations literature. It is invaluable for the manner in which authors combine the lessons of history with insightful analyses of empirical data to demonstrate patterns of change over the past fifty years in the status of African Americans... Provocative and stimulating reading." —James E. Blackwell, University of Massachusetts, Boston "Presents a wide-ranging reanalysis of the seminal work done by Gunnar Myrdal in 1944, examining virtually every issue that Myrdal noted as relevant to the American race question. In so doing, Clayton and his contributors have brought the matter up to date and shown how the American dilemma continues into the twenty-first century." —Stanford M. Lyman, Florida Atlantic University Fifty years after the publication of An American Dilemma, Gunnar Myrdal's epochal study of racism and black disadvantage, An American Dilemma Revisited again confronts the pivotal issue of race in American society and explores how the status of African Americans has changed over the past half century. African Americans have made critical strides since Myrdal's time. Yet despite significant advances, strong economic and social barriers persist, and in many ways the plight of African Americans remains as acute now as it was then. Using Myrdal as a benchmark, each essay analyzes historical developments, examines current conditions, and investigates strategies for positive change within the core arenas of modern society—political, economic, educational, and judicial. The central question posed by this volume is whether the presence of a disproportionately African American underclass has become a permanent American phenomenon. Several contributors tie the unevenness of black economic mobility to educational limitations, social isolation, and changing workplace demands. The evolution of a more suburban, service-dominated economy that places a premium on advanced academic training has severely constrained the employment prospects of many urban African Americans with limited education. An American Dilemma Revisited argues that there is hope to be found both in black educational institutions, which account for the largest proportion of advanced educational degrees among African Americans, and in the promotion of black community enterprises. An American Dilemma Revisited asks why the election of many African American leaders has failed to translate into genuine political power or effective policy support for black issues. The rise in membership in Pentecostal and Islamic denonimations suggests that many blacks, frustrated with the political detachment of more traditional churches, continue to pursue more socially concerned activism at a local level. Three essays trace social disaffection among blacks to a legacy of police and judicial discrimination. Mistrust of the police persists, particularly in cities, and black offenders continue to experience harsher treatment at all stages of the trial process. As Myrdal's book did fifty years ago, An American Dilemma Revisited offers an insightful look at the continuing effects of racial inequality and discrimination in American society and examines different means for removing the specter of racism in the United States.
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American Mediterranean
Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation
Matthew Pratt Guterl
Harvard University Press, 2013
How did slave-owning Southern planters make sense of the transformation of their world in the Civil War era? Matthew Pratt Guterl shows that they looked beyond their borders for answers. He traces the links that bound them to the wider fraternity of slaveholders in Cuba, Brazil, and elsewhere, and charts their changing political place in the hemisphere.Through such figures as the West Indian Confederate Judah Benjamin, Cuban expatriate Ambrosio Gonzales, and the exile Eliza McHatton, Guterl examines how the Southern elite connected—by travel, print culture, even the prospect of future conquest—with the communities of New World slaveholders as they redefined their world. He analyzes why they invested in a vision of the circum-Caribbean, and how their commitment to this broader slave-owning community fared. From Rebel exiles in Cuba to West Indian apprenticeship and the Black Codes to the “labor problem” of the postwar South, this beautifully written book recasts the nineteenth-century South as a complicated borderland in a pan-American vision.
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American Negro Folk-Songs
Newman Ivey White
Harvard University Press
A collection of over eight hundred songs, representing most of the southern states and every type of negro folk-song. There are short chapters on twelve of the thirteen groups of songs, and longer chapters on the negro song in general and on religious songs. The full annotations show the history of each song and its connection with other published songs. There are indexes of titles and first lines, an extensive bibliography, and five appendixes containing specimens of tunes and of several types of early American songs closely related to the folk-songs of the negro. The serious student in this field will find the book not only a mine of information but the largest and most fully annotated collection yet published.
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American Niceness
A Cultural History
Carrie Tirado Bramen
Harvard University Press, 2017

The cliché of the Ugly American—loud, vulgar, materialistic, chauvinistic—still expresses what people around the world dislike about their Yankee counterparts. Carrie Tirado Bramen recovers the history of a very different national archetype—the nice American—which has been central to ideas of U.S. identity since the nineteenth century.

Niceness is often assumed to be a superficial concept unworthy of serious analysis. Yet the distinctiveness of Americans has been shaped by values of sociality and likability for which the adjective “nice” became a catchall. In America’s fledgling democracy, niceness was understood to be the indispensable trait of a people who were refreshingly free of Old World snobbery. Bramen elucidates the role niceness plays in a particular fantasy of American exceptionalism, one based not on military and economic might but on friendliness and openness. Niceness defined the attitudes of a plucky (and white) settler nation, commonly expressed through an affect that Bramen calls “manifest cheerfulness.”

To reveal its contested inflections, Bramen shows how American niceness intersects with ideas of femininity, Native American hospitality, and black amiability. Who claimed niceness and why? Despite evidence to the contrary, Americans have largely considered themselves to be a fundamentally nice and decent people, from the supposedly amicable meeting of Puritans and Native Americans at Plymouth Rock to the early days of American imperialism when the mythology of Plymouth Rock became a portable emblem of goodwill for U.S. occupation forces in the Philippines.

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American Pogrom
The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics
Charles L. Lumpkins
Ohio University Press, 2008

On July 2 and 3, 1917, a mob of white men and women looted and torched the homes and businesses of African Americans in the small industrial city of East St. Louis, Illinois. When the terror ended, the attackers had destroyed property worth millions of dollars, razed several neighborhoods, injured hundreds, and forced at least seven thousand black townspeople to seek refuge across the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri. By the official account, nine white men and thirty-nine black men, women, and children lost their lives.

In American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics, Charles Lumpkins reveals that the attacks were orchestrated by businessmen intent on preventing black residents from attaining political power and determined to clear the city of African Americans.

After the devastating riots, black East St. Louisans participated in a wide range of collective activities that eventually rebuilt their community and restored its political influence. Lumpkins situates the activities of the city’s black citizens in the context of the African American quest for freedom, citizenship, and equality. This study of African American political actions in East St. Louis ends in 1945, on the eve of the post–World War II civil rights movement that came to galvanize the nation in the 1950s and 1960s.

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The Americans Are Coming!
Dreams of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa
Robert Trent Vinson
Ohio University Press, 2011

For more than half a century before World War II, black South Africans and “American Negroes”—a group that included African Americans and black West Indians—established close institutional and personal relationships that laid the necessary groundwork for the successful South African and American antiapartheid movements. Though African Americans suffered under Jim Crow racial discrimination, oppressed Africans saw African Americans as free people who had risen from slavery to success and were role models and potential liberators.

Many African Americans, regarded initially by the South African government as “honorary whites” exempt from segregation, also saw their activities in South Africa as a divinely ordained mission to establish “Africa for Africans,” liberated from European empires. The Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, the largest black-led movement with two million members and supporters in forty-three countries at its height in the early 1920s, was the most anticipated source of liberation. Though these liberation prophecies went unfulfilled, black South Africans continued to view African Americans as inspirational models and as critical partners in the global antiapartheid struggle.

The Americans Are Coming! is a rare case study that places African history and American history in a global context and centers Africa in African Diaspora studies.

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America's First Black Town
Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915
Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua
University of Illinois Press, 2000
"Founded by Chance, Sustained by Courage," Brooklyn, Illinois, was a magnet for African Americans from its founding by free and fugitive Blacks in the 1820s. Initially attractive to escaped slaves and others seeking to live in a Black-majority town, Brooklyn later drew Black migrants eager to commute to jobs in East St. Louis and other industrial centers as an alternative to eking out a living in agriculture. Ultimately, however, this very proximity to the industrializing city led to a destructive economic dependency that poisoned the ground for Brooklyn's self-determination.

Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua traces Brooklyn's transformation from a freedom village into a residential commuter satellite that supplied cheap labor to the city and the region. He examines why Brooklyn remained unindustrialized while factories and industrial complexes were built in nearly all the neighboring white-majority towns. As Brooklyn's population tilted more heavily toward single young men employed in the factories and as the city's cheaper retail businesses drew the town's consumer dollars, local businesses--except those catering to nightlife and vice--withered away.

Drawing on town records, regional and African American newspapers, census data, and other sources, Cha-Jua provides a detailed social and political history of America's first Black town. He places Brooklyn in the context of Black-town development and African American nationalism and documents the dedicated efforts of its Black citizens to achieve political control and build a thriving, autonomous, Black-majority community.

America's First Black Town challenges scholarly assumptions that Black political control necessarily leads to internal unity and economic growth. Outlining dynamics that presaged the post-1960s plight of Gary, Detroit, and other Black-dominated cities, Cha-Jua confirms that, despite Brooklyn's heroic struggle for autonomy, Black control was not enough to stem the corrosive tide of internal colonialism.

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Amid the Fall, Dreaming of Eden
Du Bois, King, Malcolm X, and Emancipatory Composition
Bradford T. Stull
Southern Illinois University Press, 1999

Whom, or what, does composition—defined here as an intentional process of study, either oral or written—serve? Bradford T. Stull contends that composition would do well to articulate, in theory and practice, what could be called "emancipatory composition." He argues that emancipatory composition is radically theopolitical: it roots itself in the foundational theological and political language of the American experience while it subverts this language in order to emancipate the oppressed and, thereby, the oppressors.

To articulate this vision, Stull looks to those who compose from an oppressed place, finding in the works of W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X radical theopolitical practices that can serve as a model for emancipatory composition. While Stull acknowledges that there are many sites of oppression, he focuses on what Du Bois has called the problem of the twentieth century: the color line, positing that the unique and foundational nature of the color line provides a fecund place in which, from which, a theory and practice of emancipatory composition might be elucidated.

By focusing on four key theopolitical tropes—The Fall, The Orient, Africa, and Eden—that inform the work of Du Bois, King, and Malcolm X, Stull discovers the ways in which these civil rights leaders root themselves in the vocabulary of the American experience in order to subvert it so that they might promote emancipation for African Americans, and thus all Americans.

In drawing on the work of Paulo Freire, Kenneth Burke, Edward Said, Christopher Miller, Ernst Bloch, and others, Stull also locates this study within the larger cultural context. By reading Du Bois, King, and Malcolm X together in a way that they have never before been read, Stull presents a new vision of composition practice to the African American studies community and a reading of African American emancipatory composition to the rhetoric and composition community, thus extending the question of emancipatory composition into new territory.

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The Anatomy of Racial Inequality
Glenn C. Loury
Harvard University Press, 2002

Speaking wisely and provocatively about the political economy of race, Glenn C. Loury has become one of our most prominent black intellectuals—and, because of his challenges to the orthodoxies of both left and right, one of the most controversial. A major statement of a position developed over the past decade, this book both epitomizes and explains Loury’s understanding of the depressed conditions of so much of black society today—and the origins, consequences, and implications for the future of these conditions.

Using an economist’s approach, Loury describes a vicious cycle of tainted social information that has resulted in a self-replicating pattern of racial stereotypes that rationalize and sustain discrimination. His analysis shows how the restrictions placed on black development by stereotypical and stigmatizing racial thinking deny a whole segment of the population the possibility of self-actualization that American society reveres—something that many contend would be undermined by remedies such as affirmative action. On the contrary, this book persuasively argues that the promise of fairness and individual freedom and dignity will remain unfulfilled without some forms of intervention based on race.

Brilliant in its account of how racial classifications are created and perpetuated, and how they resonate through the social, psychological, spiritual, and economic life of the nation, this compelling and passionate book gives us a new way of seeing—and, perhaps, seeing beyond—the damning categorization of race in America.

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The Anatomy of Racial Inequality
With a New Preface
Glenn C. Loury
Harvard University Press, 2021

“Lifts and transforms the discourse on ‘race’ and racial justice to an entirely new level.”
—Orlando Patterson


“Intellectually rigorous and deeply thoughtful…An incisive, erudite book by a major thinker.”
—Gerald Early, New York Times Book Review


Why are black Americans so persistently confined to the margins of society? And why do they fail across so many metrics—wages, unemployment, income levels, test scores, incarceration rates, health outcomes? Known for his influential work on the economics of racial inequality and for pioneering the link between racism and social capital, Glenn Loury is not afraid of piercing orthodoxies and coming to controversial conclusions. In this now classic work, reconsidered in light of recent events, he describes how a vicious cycle of tainted social information helped create the racial stereotypes that rationalize and sustain discrimination, and suggests how this might be changed.

Brilliant in its account of how racial classifications are created and perpetuated, and how they resonate through the social, psychological, spiritual, and economic life of the nation, this compelling and passionate book gives us a new way of seeing—and of seeing beyond—the damning categorization of race.

“Paints in chilling detail the distance between Martin Luther King’s dream and the reality of present-day America.”
—Anthony Walton, Harper’s

“Loury provides an original and highly persuasive account of how the American racial hierarchy is sustained and reproduced over time. And he then demands that we begin the deep structural reforms that will be necessary to stop its continued reproduction.”
—Michael Walzer

“He is a genuine maverick thinker…The Anatomy of Racial Inequality both epitomizes and explains Loury’s understanding of the depressed conditions of so much of black society today.”
New York Times Magazine

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Ancestral Genomics
African American Health in the Age of Precision Medicine
Constance B. Hilliard
Harvard University Press, 2024

A leading evolutionary historian offers a radical solution to racial health disparities in the United States.

Constance B. Hilliard was living in Japan when she began experiencing joint pain. Her doctor diagnosed osteoarthritis—a common ailment for someone her age. But her bloodwork showed something else: Hilliard, who had never had kidney problems, appeared to be suffering from renal failure. When she returned to Texas, however, a new round of tests showed that her kidneys were healthy. Unlike the Japanese doctor, her American primary care provider had checked a box on her lab report for “African American.” As a scholar of scientific racism, Hilliard was perplexed. Why should race, which experts agree has no biological basis, matter for getting accurate test results?

Ancestral Genomics is the result of Hilliard’s decade-long quest to solve this puzzle. In a masterful synthesis of evolutionary history, population genetics, and public health research, she addresses the usefulness of race as a heuristic in genomic medicine. Built from European genetic data, the Human Genome Project and other databases have proven inadequate for identifying disease-causing gene variants in patients of African descent. Such databases, Hilliard argues, overlook crucial information about the environments to which their ancestors’ bodies adapted prior to the transatlantic slave trade. Hilliard shows how, by analyzing “ecological niche populations,” a classification model that combines family and ecological histories with genetic information, our increasingly advanced genomic technologies, including personalized medicine, can serve African Americans and other people of color, while avoiding racial essentialism.

Forcefully argued and morally urgent, Ancestral Genomics is a clarion call for the US medical community to embrace our multigenomic society.

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And Bid Him Sing
A Biography of Countée Cullen
Charles Molesworth
University of Chicago Press, 2012
While competing with Langston Hughes for the title of “Poet Laureate of Harlem,” Countée Cullen (1903–46) crafted poems that became touchstones for American readers, both black and white. Inspired by classic themes and working within traditional forms, Cullen shaped his poetry to address universal questions like love, death, longing, and loss while also dealing with the issues of race and idealism that permeated the national conversation. Drawing on the poet’s unpublished correspondence with contemporaries and friends like Hughes, Claude McKay, Carl Van Vechten, Dorothy West, Charles S. Johnson and Alain Locke, and presenting a unique interpretation of his poetic gifts, And Bid Him Sing is the first full-length critical biography of this famous American writer.
 
Despite his untimely death at the age of forty-two, Cullen left behind an extensive body of work. In addition to five books of poetry, he authored two much-loved children’s books and translated Euripides’ Medea, the first translation by an African American of a Greek tragedy. In these pages, Charles Molesworth explores the many ways that race, religion, and Cullen’s sexuality informed the work of one of the unquestioned stars of the Harlem Renaissance.
 
An authoritative work of biography that brings to life one of the chief voices of his generation, And Bid Him Sing returns to us one of America’s finest lyric poets in all of his complexity and musicality.
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Another Way Home
The Tangled Roots of Race in One Chicago Family
Ronne Hartfield
University of Chicago Press, 2004
In her prologue to Another Way Home, Ronne Hartfield notes the dearth of stories about African Americans who have occupied the area of mixed race with ease and harmony for generations. Her moving family history is filled with such stories, told in beautifully crafted and unsentimental prose. Spanning most of the twentieth century, Hartfield's book celebrates the special occasion of being born and reared in a household where miscegenation was the rule rather than the exception—where being a woman of mixed race could be a fundamental source of strength, vitality, and courage.

Hartfield begins with the early life of her mother, Day Shepherd. Born to a wealthy British plantation owner and the mixed-race daughter of a former slave, Day negotiates the complicated circumstances of plantation life in the border country of Louisiana and Mississippi and, as she enters womanhood, the quadroon and octoroon societies of New Orleans. Equally a tale of the Great Migration, Another Way Home traces Day's journey to Bronzeville, the epicenter of black Chicago during the first half of the twentieth century. Here, through the eyes of Day and, ultimately, her daughter, we witness the bustling city streets and vibrant middle-class culture of this iconic black neighborhood. We also relive crucial moments in African American history as they are experienced by the author's family and others in Chicago's South Side black community, from the race riots of 1919 and the Great Depression to the murder of Emmett Till and the dawn of the civil rights movement.

Throughout her book, Hartfield portrays mixed-race Americans navigating the challenges of their lives with resilience and grace, making Another Way Home an intimate and compelling encounter with one family's response to our racially charged culture.
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Anthropology and the Racial Politics of Culture
Lee D. Baker
Duke University Press, 2010
In the late nineteenth century, if ethnologists in the United States recognized African American culture, they often perceived it as something to be overcome and left behind. At the same time, they were committed to salvaging “disappearing” Native American culture by curating objects, narrating practices, and recording languages. In Anthropology and the Racial Politics of Culture, Lee D. Baker examines theories of race and culture developed by American anthropologists during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth. He investigates the role that ethnologists played in creating a racial politics of culture in which Indians had a culture worthy of preservation and exhibition while African Americans did not.

Baker argues that the concept of culture developed by ethnologists to understand American Indian languages and customs in the nineteenth century formed the basis of the anthropological concept of race eventually used to confront “the Negro problem” in the twentieth century. As he explores the implications of anthropology’s different approaches to African Americans and Native Americans, and the field’s different but overlapping theories of race and culture, Baker delves into the careers of prominent anthropologists and ethnologists, including James Mooney Jr., Frederic W. Putnam, Daniel G. Brinton, and Franz Boas. His analysis takes into account not only scientific societies, journals, museums, and universities, but also the development of sociology in the United States, African American and Native American activists and intellectuals, philanthropy, the media, and government entities from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to the Supreme Court. In Anthropology and the Racial Politics of Culture, Baker tells how anthropology has both responded to and helped shape ideas about race and culture in the United States, and how its ideas have been appropriated (and misappropriated) to wildly different ends.

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Anyplace But Here
Arna Bontemps & Jack Conroy
University of Missouri Press, 1997

Originally published in 1945 as They Seek a City, this classic was revised and expanded in 1966 to include chapters on Marcus Garvey, the Black Muslims, Malcolm X, and the racial disturbances in Detroit, Chicago, and Watts. Filled with stories about real men and women who sought a new life in the North, Anyplace But Here depicts the theme of hope, undercut by disappointment, and hope renewed as it details the African American's search for a home.

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Aphrodite's Daughters
Three Modernist Poets of the Harlem Renaissance
Honey, Maureen
Rutgers University Press, 2016
The Harlem Renaissance was a watershed moment for racial uplift, poetic innovation, sexual liberation, and female empowerment. Aphrodite’s Daughters introduces us to three amazing women who were at the forefront of all these developments, poetic iconoclasts who pioneered new and candidly erotic forms of female self-expression.  
 
Maureen Honey paints a vivid portrait of three African American women—Angelina Weld Grimké, Gwendolyn B. Bennett, and Mae V. Cowdery—who came from very different backgrounds but converged in late 1920s Harlem to leave a major mark on the literary landscape. She examines the varied ways these poets articulated female sexual desire, ranging from Grimké’s invocation of a Sapphic goddess figure to Cowdery’s frank depiction of bisexual erotics to Bennett’s risky exploration of the borders between sexual pleasure and pain. Yet Honey also considers how they were united in their commitment to the female body as a primary source of meaning, strength, and transcendence.
 
The product of extensive archival research, Aphrodite’s Daughters draws from Grimké, Bennett, and Cowdery’s published and unpublished poetry, along with rare periodicals and biographical materials, to immerse us in the lives of these remarkable women and the world in which they lived. It thus not only shows us how their artistic contributions and cultural interventions were vital to their own era, but also demonstrates how the poetic heart of their work keeps on beating.  
 
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Archaeologies of African American Life in the Upper Mid-Atlantic
Edited by Michael J. Gall and Richard F. Veit
University of Alabama Press, 2017
A 2018 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
 
New scholarship provides insights into the archaeology and cultural history of African American life from a collection of sites in the Mid-Atlantic
 
This groundbreaking volume explores the archaeology of African American life and cultures in the Upper Mid-Atlantic region, using sites dating from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. Sites in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York are all examined, highlighting the potential for historical archaeology to illuminate the often overlooked contributions and experiences of the region’s free and enslaved African American settlers.
 
Archaeologies of African American Life in the Upper Mid-Atlantic brings together cutting-edge scholarship from both emerging and established scholars. Analyzing the research through sophisticated theoretical lenses and employing up-to-date methodologies, the essays reveal the diverse ways in which African Americans reacted to and resisted the challenges posed by life in a borderland between the North and South through the transition from slavery to freedom. In addition to extensive archival research, contributors synthesize the material finds of archaeological work in slave quarter sites, tenant farms, communities, and graveyards.
 
Editors Michael J. Gall and Richard F. Veit have gathered new and nuanced perspectives on the important role free and enslaved African Americans played in the region’s cultural history. This collection provides scholars of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, African American studies, material culture studies, religious studies, slavery, the African diaspora, and historical archaeologists with a well-balanced array of rural archaeological sites that represent cultural traditions and developments among African Americans in the region. Collectively, these sites illustrate African Americans’ formation of fluid cultural and racial identities, communities, religious traditions, and modes of navigating complex cultural landscapes in the region under harsh and disenfranchising circumstances.
 
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Archibald Motley Jr. and Racial Reinvention
The Old Negro in New Negro Art
Phoebe Wolfskill
University of Illinois Press, 2017
An essential African American artist of his era, Archibald Motley Jr. created paintings of black Chicago that aligned him with the revisionist aims of the New Negro Renaissance. Yet Motley's approach to constructing a New Negro--a dignified figure both accomplished and worthy of respect--reflected the challenges faced by African American artists working on the project of racial reinvention and uplift.

Phoebe Wolfskill demonstrates how Motley's art embodied the tenuous nature of the Black Renaissance and the wide range of ideas that structured it. Focusing on key works in Motley's oeuvre, Wolfskill reveals the artist's complexity and the variety of influences that informed his work. Motley’s paintings suggest that the racist, problematic image of the Old Negro was not a relic of the past but an influence that pervaded the Black Renaissance. Exploring Motley in relation to works by notable black and non-black contemporaries, Wolfskill reinterprets Motley's oeuvre as part of a broad effort to define American cultural identity through race, class, gender, religion, and regional affiliation.

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Are You Entertained?
Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century
Simone C. Drake and Dwan Henderson Simmons, editors
Duke University Press, 2020
The advent of the internet and the availability of social media and digital downloads have expanded the creation, distribution, and consumption of Black cultural production as never before. At the same time, a new generation of Black public intellectuals who speak to the relationship between race, politics, and popular culture has come into national prominence. The contributors to Are You Entertained? address these trends to consider what culture and blackness mean in the twenty-first century's digital consumer economy. In this collection of essays, interviews, visual art, and an artist statement the contributors examine a range of topics and issues, from music, white consumerism, cartoons, and the rise of Black Twitter to the NBA's dress code, dance, and Moonlight. Analyzing the myriad ways in which people perform, avow, politicize, own, and love blackness, this volume charts the shifting debates in Black popular culture scholarship over the past quarter century while offering new avenues for future scholarship.

Contributors. Takiyah Nur Amin, Patricia Hill Collins, Kelly Jo Fulkerson-Dikuua, Simone C. Drake, Dwan K. Henderson, Imani Kai Johnson, Ralina L. Joseph, David J. Leonard, Emily J. Lordi, Nina Angela Mercer, Mark Anthony Neal, H. Ike Okafor-Newsum, Kinohi Nishikawa, Eric Darnell Pritchard, Richard Schur, Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Vincent Stephens, Lisa B. Thompson, Sheneese Thompson
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Aristocrats of Color
The Black Elite, 1880–1920
Willard B. Gatewood
University of Arkansas Press, 2000

Every American city had a small, self-aware, and active black elite, who felt it was their duty to set the standard for the less fortunate members of their race and to lead their communities by example. Rank within this black upper class rested on such issues as the status of one’s forebears as either house servants or field hands, the darkness of one’s skin, and the level of one’s manners and education.

Professor Gatewood’s study examines this class of African Americans by looking at the genealogies and occupations of specific families and individuals throughout the United States and their roles in their various communities. The resulting narrative is a full and illuminating account of a most influential segment of the African-American population. It explores fully the distinctive background, prestige, attitudes, behavior, power, and culture of this class. The Black Community Studies series from the University of Arkansas Press, edited by Professor Gatewood, continues to examine many of the same themes first explored in this important study.

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Arsnick
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas
Jennifer Jensen Wallach
University of Arkansas Press, 2011
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) arrived in Arkansas in October 1962 at the request of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations, the state affiliate of the Southern Regional Council. SNCC efforts began with Bill Hansen, a young white Ohioan--already an early veteran of the civil rights movement--who traveled to Little Rock in the early sixties to help stimulate student sit-in movements promoting desegregation. Thanks in large part to SNCC's bold initiatives, most of Little Rock's public and private facilities were desegregated by 1963, and in the years that followed many more SNCC volunteers rushed to the state to set up projects across the Arkansas Delta to help empower local people to take a stand against racial discrimination. In the five short years before it disbanded, the SNCC's Arkansas Project played a pivotal part in transforming the state, yet this fascinating branch of the national organization has barely garnered a footnote in the history of the civil rights movement. This collection serves as a corrective by bringing articles on SNCC's activities in Arkansas together for the first time, by providing powerful firsthand testimonies, and by collecting key historical documents from SNCC's role in the region's emergence from the slough of southern injustice.
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The Art of Remembering
Essays on African American Art and History
Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw
Duke University Press, 2024
In The Art of Remembering art historian and curator Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw explores African American art and representation from the height of the British colonial period to the present. She engages in the process of rememory—the recovery of facts and narratives of African American creativity and self-representation that have been purposefully set aside, actively ignored, and disremembered. In analyses of the work of artists ranging from Scipio Moorhead, Moses Williams, and Aaron Douglas to Barbara Chase-Riboud, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, and Deanna Lawson, Shaw demonstrates that African American art and history may be “remembered” and understood anew through a process of intensive close looking, cultural and historical contextualization, and biographic recuperation or consideration. Shaw shows how embracing rememory expands the possibilities of history by acknowledging the existence of multiple forms of knowledge and ways of understanding an event or interpreting an object. In so doing, Shaw thinks beyond canonical interpretations of art and material and visual culture to imagine “what if,” asking what else did we once know that has been lost.
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The Art of the Blues
A Visual Treasury of Black Music's Golden Age
Bill Dahl
University of Chicago Press, 2016
This stunning book charts the rich history of the blues, through the dazzling array of posters, album covers, and advertisements that have shaped its identity over the past hundred years. The blues have been one of the most ubiquitous but diverse elements of American popular music at large, and the visual art associated with this unique sound has been just as varied and dynamic. There is no better guide to this fascinating graphical world than Bill Dahl—a longtime music journalist and historian who has written liner notes for countless reissues of classic blues, soul, R&B, and rock albums. With his deep knowledge and incisive commentary—complementing more than three hundred and fifty lavishly reproduced images—the history of the blues comes musically and visually to life.
           
What will astonish readers who thumb through these pages is the amazing range of ways that the blues have been represented—whether via album covers, posters, flyers, 78 rpm labels, advertising, or other promotional materials. We see the blues as it was first visually captured in the highly colorful sheet music covers of the early twentieth century. We see striking and hard-to-find label designs from labels big (Columbia) and small (Rhumboogie). We see William Alexander’s humorous artwork on postwar Miltone Records; the cherished ephemera of concert and movie posters; and Chess Records’ iconic early albums designed by Don Bronstein, which would set a new standard for modern album cover design.
           
What these images collectively portray is the evolution of a distinctively American art form. And they do so in the richest way imaginable. The result is a sumptuous book, a visual treasury as alive in spirit as the music it so vibrantly captures.
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Ashes Taken for Fire
Aesthetic Modernism and the Critique of Identity
Kevin M. Bell
University of Minnesota Press, 2007
For years critics have held that literary modernism was both apolitical and solipsistic. While the former charge began to give way with the recession of New Criticism, the latter has grown in strength as a lead-in to the claim that postmodernism is apolitical and solipsistic. Against this backdrop, Kevin Bell surveys fiction by Conrad, Woolf, Faulkner, West, Ellison, and Himes to show that modernism is a sharply philosophical archive. In Ashes Taken for Fire, he argues that modernism exposes cultural identities such as blackness as mere strategies of conforming the self into belonging. Bell’s examination pursues the question of nonidentity through sound, silence, and gesture, treating these as technologies of reading the contradictions, breakdowns, and erasures that constitute subjectivity. His analysis of these texts reveals that the aesthetic investigations they perform undo the logic of cultural identity, devastating such reductive rubrics as “race” or “gender.”Ashes Taken for Fire explores the experience of blackness in both its chromatic/ocular and “racial” registers. For while blackness operates as a standard figural expression for disorientation, its presumably “voided” character is reprojected in this work as an immanent force of possibility and experimentation.Kevin Bell is assistant professor of English and comparative literary studies at Northwestern University.
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At Work in the Atomic City
A Labor and Social History of Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Russell B. Olwell
University of Tennessee Press, 2008
Founded during World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was a vital link in the U.S. military’s atomic bomb assembly line—the site where scientists worked at a breakneck pace to turn tons of uranium into a few grams of the artificial element plutonium. To construct and operate the plants needed for this effort, thousands of workers, both skilled and unskilled, converged on the “city behind a fence” tucked between two ridges of sparsely populated farmland in the Tennessee hills.

At Work in the Atomic City explores the world of those workers and their efforts to form unions, create a community, and gain political rights over their city. It follows them from their arrival at Oak Ridge, to the places where they lived, and to their experiences in a dangerous and secretive workplace. Lured by promises of housing, plentiful work, and schooling for their children, they were often exposed to dangerous levels of radioactivity, harmful chemicals, and other hazards. Although scientists and doctors intended to protect workers, the pressure to produce materials for the bomb often overrode safety considerations. After the war, as the military sought to reduce services and jobs in Oak Ridge, workers organized unions at two plants to demand higher wages and job security. However, the new Taft-Hartley Act limited defense workers’ ability to strike and thus curbed union influence.

The book examines the ongoing debates over workers’ rights at Oak Ridge—notably the controversy surrounding the new federal program intended to compensate workers and their families for injuries sustained on the job. Because of faulty record keeping at the facilities and confusion over exposure levels, many have been denied payment to this day.

Drawing on extensive research into oral history collections, transcripts of government proceedings, and other primary sources, At Work in the Atomic City is the first detailed account of the workers who built and labored in the facilities that helped ensure the success of the Manhattan Project—a story known, heretofore, only in broad outline.

Russell Olwell, an assistant professor of history at Eastern Michigan University, has published articles in ISIS, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, and Technology and Culture.
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Atlanta’s Water Wars
Technocracy, Racial Politics, and Environmental Activism, 1945–2005
Eric M. Hardy
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022
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The Audacity of Hoop
Basketball and the Age of Obama
Alexander Wolff
Temple University Press, 2015

While basketball didn’t take up residence in the White House in January 2009, the game nonetheless played an outsized role in forming the man who did. In The Audacity of Hoop, celebrated sportswriter Alexander Wolff examines Barack Obama, the person and president, by the light of basketball. This game helped Obama explore his identity, keep a cool head, impress his future wife, and define himself as a candidate. 

Wolff chronicles Obama’s love of the game from age 10, on the campaign trail—where it eventually took on talismanic meaning—and throughout his two terms in office. More than 125 photographs illustrate Obama dribbling, shooting free throws, playing pickup games, cooling off with George Clooney, challenging his special assistant Reggie Love for a rebound, and taking basketball to political meetings. There is also an assessment of Obama’s influence on the NBA, including a dawning political consciousness in the league’s locker rooms. 

Sidebars reveal the evolution of the president’s playing style, “Baracketology”—a not-entirely-scientific art of filling out the commander in chief’s NCAA tournament bracket—and a timeline charts Obama’s personal and professional highlights.

Equal parts biographical sketch, political narrative, and cultural history, The Audacity of Hoop shows how the game became a touchstone in Obama’s exercise of the power of the presidency.  

 
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