In Black Victory, Darlene Clark Hine examines a pivotal breakthrough in the struggle for black liberation through the voting process. She details the steps and players in the 1944 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Allwright, a precursor to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. She discusses the role that NAACP attorneys such as Thurgood Marshall played in helping black Texans regain the right denied them by white Texans in the Democratic Party: the right to vote and to have that vote count. Hine illuminates the mobilization of black Texans. She effectively demonstrates how each part of the African American community—from professionals to laborers—was essential to this struggle and the victory against disfranchisement.
From the time the first tracks were laid in the early nineteenth century, the railroad has occupied a crucial place in America's historical imagination. Now, for the first time, Eric Arnesen gives us an untold piece of that vital American institution--the story of African Americans on the railroad. African Americans have been a part of the railroad from its inception, but today they are largely remembered as Pullman porters and track layers. The real history is far richer, a tale of endless struggle, perseverance, and partial victory. In a sweeping narrative, Arnesen re-creates the heroic efforts by black locomotive firemen, brakemen, porters, dining car waiters, and redcaps to fight a pervasive system of racism and job discrimination fostered by their employers, white co-workers, and the unions that legally represented them even while barring them from membership. Decades before the rise of the modern civil rights movement in the mid-1950s, black railroaders forged their own brand of civil rights activism, organizing their own associations, challenging white trade unions, and pursuing legal redress through state and federal courts. In recapturing black railroaders' voices, aspirations, and challenges, Arnesen helps to recast the history of black protest and American labor in the twentieth century.
Table of Contents:
1. Race in the First Century of American Railroading 2. Promise and Failure in the World War I Era 3. The Black Wedge of Civil Rights Unionism 4. Independent Black Unionism in Depression and War 5. The Rise of the Red Caps 6. The Politics of Fair Employment 7. The Politics of Fair Representation 8. Black Railroaders in the Modern Era
Conclusion Notes Acknowledgments Index
Reviews of this book: In this superbly written monograph, Arnesen...shows how African American railroad workers combined civil rights and labor union activism in their struggles for racial equality in the workplace...Throughout, black locomotive firemen, porters, yardmen, and other railroaders speak eloquently about the work they performed and their confrontations with racist treatment...This history of the 'aristocrats' of the African American working class is highly recommended. --Charles L. Lumpkins, Library Journal
Reviews of this book: Arnesen provides a fascinating look at U.S. labor and commerce in the arena of the railroads, so much a part of romantic notions about the growth of the nation. The focus of the book is the troubled history of the railroads in the exploitation of black workers from slavery until the civil rights movement, with an insightful analysis of the broader racial integration brought about by labor activism. --Vanessa Bush, Booklist
Reviews of this book: [An] exhaustive and illuminating work of scholarship. --Publishers Weekly
Reviews of this book: Arnesen tells a story that should be of interest to a variety of readers, including those who are avid students of this country's railroads. He knows his stuff, and furthermore, reminds us of how dependent American railroads were on the backbreaking labor of racial and ethnic groups whose civil and political status were precarious at best: Irish, Chinese, Mexicans and Italians, as well as African-Americans. But Arnesen's most powerful and provocative argument is that the nature of discrimination not only led black railroad workers to pursue the path of independent unionism, it also propelled them into the larger struggle for civil rights. --Steven Hahn, Chicago Tribune
Autobiography of jazz elder statesman Frank “Doc” Adams, highlighting his role in Birmingham, Alabama’s, historic jazz scene and tracing his personal adventure that parallels, in many ways, the story and spirit of jazz itself.
Doc tells the story of an accomplished jazz master, from his musical apprenticeship under John T. “Fess” Whatley and his time touring with Sun Ra and Duke Ellington to his own inspiring work as an educator and bandleader.
Central to this narrative is the often-overlooked story of Birmingham’s unique jazz tradition and community. From the very beginnings of jazz, Birmingham was home to an active network of jazz practitioners and a remarkable system of jazz apprenticeship rooted in the city’s segregated schools. Birmingham musicians spread across the country to populate the sidelines of the nation’s bestknown bands. Local musicians, like Erskine Hawkins and members of his celebrated orchestra, returned home heroes. Frank “Doc” Adams explores, through first-hand experience, the history of this community, introducing readers to a large and colorful cast of characters—including “Fess” Whatley, the legendary “maker of musicians” who trained legions of Birmingham players and made a significant mark on the larger history of jazz. Adams’s interactions with the young Sun Ra, meanwhile, reveal life-changing lessons from one of American music’s most innovative personalities.
Along the way, Adams reflects on his notable family, including his father, Oscar, editor of the Birmingham Reporter and an outspoken civic leader in the African American community, and Adams’s brother, Oscar Jr., who would become Alabama’s first black supreme court justice. Adams’s story offers a valuable window into the world of Birmingham’s black middle class in the days before the civil rights movement and integration. Throughout, Adams demonstrates the ways in which jazz professionalism became a source of pride within this community, and he offers his thoughts on the continued relevance of jazz education in the twenty-first century.
In George Washington Williams, John Hope Franklin reconstructs the life of the controversial, self-made black intellectual who wrote the first history of African Americans in the United States. Awarded the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize, this book traces Franklin’s forty-year quest for Williams’s story, a story largely lost to history until this volume was first published in 1985. The result, part biography and part social history, is a unique consideration of a pioneering historian by his most distinguished successor. Williams, who lived from 1849 to 1891, had a remarkable career as soldier, minister, journalist, lawyer, politician, freelance diplomat, and African traveler, as well as a historian. While Franklin reveals the accomplishments of this neglected figure and emphasizes the racism that curtailed Williams’s many talents, he also highlights the personal weaknesses that damaged Williams’s relationships and career. Williams led the way in presenting African American history accurately through the use of oral history and archival research, sought to legitimize it as a field of historical study, and spoke out in support of an American Negro Historical Society and as a critic of European imperialism in Africa. He also became erratic and faithless to his family and creditors and died at the age of forty-one, destitute and alienated from family and friends. George Washington Williams is nothing less than a classic biography of a brilliant though flawed individual whose History of the Negro Race in America remains a landmark in African American history and American intellectual history.
Illustrates the ways that the “war on crime” became conjoined—aesthetically, politically, and rhetorically—with the emergence of gangsta rap as a lucrative and deeply controversial subgenre of hip-hop
In The Mark of Criminality: Rhetoric, Race, and Gangsta Rap in the War-on-Crime Era, Bryan J. McCann argues that gangsta rap should be viewed as more than a damaging reinforcement of an era’s worst racial stereotypes. Rather, he positions the works of key gangsta rap artists, as well as the controversies their work produced, squarely within the law-and-order politics and popular culture of the 1980s and 1990s to reveal a profoundly complex period in American history when the meanings of crime and criminality were incredibly unstable.
At the center of this era—when politicians sought to prove their “tough-on-crime” credentials—was the mark of criminality, a set of discourses that labeled members of predominantly poor, urban, and minority communities as threats to the social order. Through their use of the mark of criminality, public figures implemented extremely harsh penal polices that have helped make the United States the world’s leading jailer of its adult population.
At the same time when politicians like Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton and television shows such as COPS and America’s Most Wanted perpetuated images of gang and drug-filled ghettos, gangsta rap burst out of the hip-hop nation, emanating mainly from the predominantly black neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles. Groups like NWA and solo artists (including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur) became millionaires by marketing the very discourses political and cultural leaders used to justify their war on crime. For these artists, the mark of criminality was a source of power, credibility, and revenue. By understanding gangsta rap as a potent, if deeply imperfect, enactment of the mark of criminality, we can better understand how crime is always a site of struggle over meaning. Furthermore, by underscoring the nimble rhetorical character of criminality, we can learn lessons that may inform efforts to challenge our nation’s failed policies of mass incarceration.