Featuring the work of the most distinguished scholars in the field, this volume assesses the state of Afro-American literary study and projects a vision of that study for the 1990s. "A rich and rewarding collection."—Choice.
"This diverse and inspired collection . . . testifies to the Afro-Am academy's extraordinary vitality."—Voice Literary Supplement
Ground-breaking when first published in 1945, Black Metropolis remains a landmark study of race and urban life. Based on a mass of research conducted by Works Progress Administration field workers in the late 1930s, it is a historical and sociological account of the people of Chicago's South Side, the classic urban ghetto. Drake and Cayton's findings not only offer a generalized analysis of black migration, settlement, community structure, and black-white race relations in the early part of the twentieth century, but also tell us what has changed in the last hundred years and what has not. This edition includes the original Introduction by Richard Wright and a new Foreword by William Julius Wilson.
"Black Metropolis is a rare combination of research and synthesis, a book to be deeply pondered. . . . No one who reads it intelligently can ever believe again that our racial dilemma can be solved by pushing buttons, or by gradual processes which may reach four or five hundred years into the future."—Bucklin Moon, The Nation
"This volume makes a great contribution to the building of the future American and the free world."—Louis Wirth, New York Times
"By virtue of its range, its labor and its insight, the book seems certain to become a landmark not only in race studies but in the broader field of social anthropology."—Thomas Sancton, New Republic
In a systematic survey of the manifestations and meaning of Black Power in America, John McCartney analyzes the ideology of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s and places it in the context of both African-American and Western political thought. He demonstrates, though an exploration of historic antecedents, how the Black Power versus black mainstream competition of the sixties was not unique in American history. Tracing the evolution of black social and political movements from the 18th century to the present, the author focuses on the ideas and actions of the leaders of each major approach.
Starting with the colonization efforts of the Pan-Negro Nationalist movement in the 18th century, McCartney contrasts the work of Bishop Turner with the opposing integrationist views of Frederick Douglass and his followers. McCartney examines the politics of accommodation espoused by Booker T. Washington; W.E.B. Du Bois's opposition to this apolitical stance; the formation of the NAACP, the Urban League, and other integrationist organizations; and Marcus Garvey's reawakening of the separatist ideal in the early 20th century. Focusing on the intense legal activity of the NAACP from the 1930s to the 1960s, McCartney gives extensive treatment to the moral and political leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his challenge from the Black Power Movement in 1966.
The Closing Door is the first major critique of the effect of conservative policies on urban race and poverty in the 1980s. Atlanta, with its booming economy, strong elected black leadership, and many highly educated blacks, seemed to be the perfect site for those policies and market solutions to prove themselves. Unfortunately, not only did expected economic opportunity fail to materialize but many of the hard-won gains of the civil rights movement were lost. Orfield and Ashkinaze painstakingly analyze the evidence from Atlanta to show why black opportunity deteriorated over the 1980s and outline possible remedies for the damage inflicted by the Reagan and Bush administrations.
"The Closing Door is a crucial breath of fresh air . . . an important and timely text which will help to alter the 'underclass' debate in favor of reconsidering race-specific policies. Orfield and Ashkinaze construct a convincing argument with which those who favor 'race-neutrality' will have to contend. In readable prose they make a compelling case that economic growth is not enough."—Preston H. Smith II, Transition
In the early 1980s the radical group MOVE settled into a rowhouse in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of west Philadelphia, beginning years of confrontations with neighbors and police over its anti-establishment ways and militant stance against all social and political institutions. On May 13, 1985, following a period of increased MOVE activity and threats by neighbors to take matters into their own hands, the city moved from bureaucratic involvement to violent intervention. Police bullhorned arrest warrants, hosed down the rowhouse, sprayed tear gas through its walls, and dropped explosives from a helicopter. By the end of the day, eleven MOVE members were dead, an entire block of the neighborhood was destroyed, and Mayor Wilson Goode was calling for an investigation.
How did this struggle between the city and MOVE go from memos and meetings to tear gas and bombs? And how does the mandate to defend public order become a destructive force? Sifting through the hearings that followed the deadly encounter, Robin Wagner-Pacifici reconstructs the conflict between MOVE and the city of Philadelphia. Against this richly nuanced account, in which the participants—from the mayor and the police officers to members of MOVE and their neighbors—offer opposing versions of their aims, assumptions, and strategies, Wagner-Pacifici develops a compelling analysis of the relation between definition and action, between language and violence.
Was MOVE simply a radical, black separatist group with an alternative way of life? Or was it a terrorist cult that held a neighborhood and politicians hostage to its offensive language and bizarre behavior? Wagner-Pacifici shows how competing definitions of MOVE led to different strategies for managing the conflict. In light of the shockingly similar, and even more deadly, 1993 Branch Davidian disaster in Waco, Texas, such an analysis becomes imperative. Indeed, for those who hope to understand—and, finally, to forestall—the moment when language and violence are inexorably drawn together, this book demands attention.
The Forgotten Fifth
Gary B Nash Harvard University Press, 2006 Library of Congress E269.N3N36 2006 | Dewey Decimal 326.097309033
As the United States gained independence, a full fifth of the country's population was African American. The experiences of these men and women have been largely ignored in the accounts of the colonies' glorious quest for freedom. In this compact volume, Gary B. Nash reorients our understanding of early America, and reveals the perilous choices of the founding fathers that shaped the nation's future.
Nash tells of revolutionary fervor arousing a struggle for freedom that spiraled into the largest slave rebellion in American history, as blacks fled servitude to fight for the British, who promised freedom in exchange for military service. The Revolutionary Army never matched the British offer, and most histories of the period have ignored this remarkable story. The conventional wisdom says that abolition was impossible in the fragile new republic. Nash, however, argues that an unusual convergence of factors immediately after the war created a unique opportunity to dismantle slavery. The founding fathers' failure to commit to freedom led to the waning of abolitionism just as it had reached its peak. In the opening decades of the nineteenth century, as Nash demonstrates, their decision enabled the ideology of white supremacy to take root, and with it the beginnings of an irreparable national fissure. The moral failure of the Revolution was paid for in the 1860s with the lives of the 600,000 Americans killed in the Civil War.
The Forgotten Fifth is a powerful story of the nation's multiple, and painful, paths to freedom.
How should we chart a course toward legal recognition of gay rights as basic human rights? In this enlightening study, legal scholar David Richards explores the connections between gay rights and three successful civil rights movements—black civil rights, feminism, and religious toleration—to determine how these might serve as analogies for the gay rights movement.
Richards argues that racial and gender struggles are informative but partial models. As in these movements, achieving gay rights requires eliminating unjust stereotypes and allowing one's identity to develop free from intolerant views. Richards stresses, however, that gay identity is an ethical choice based on gender equality. Thus the right to religious freedom offers the most compelling analogy for a gay rights movement because gay identity should be protected legally as an ethical decision of conscience.
A thoughtful and highly original voice in the struggle for gay rights, David Richards is the first to argue that discrimination is like religious intolerance-denial of full humanity to individuals because of their identity and moral commitments to gender equality.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which ignited the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, has always been vitally important in southern and black history. With the publication of this book, the boycott becomes a milestone in the history of American women as well.
"This autobiographical account of the creation of the boycott is the most important document on that highly significant episode since Martin Luther King's own version, Stride Towards Freedom. I feel certain that scholars and students will refer to this unique historical source for generations to come."
--J. Mills Thornton, University of Michigan
"This valuable first-hand account of the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott, written by an important, behind-the-scenes organizer, evokes the emotional intensity of the civil rights struggle. It ought to be required reading for all Americans who value their freedom and the contribution of black women to our history."
--Coretta Scott King
"A sharply remembered addition to the literature on what has become an event of mythic proportions, and a sound primer for those interested in community organizing. The author is scrupulously honest, modest, and gives unsung heroes much deserved praise."
"This fascinating memoir provides new evidence on the origins and sustaining force of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56)."
--Anthony O. Edmonds, Library Journal
"There's no substitute for this intimate memoir; it provides an immediacy and graphic intensity never before available."
--Marge Frantz, San Jose Mercury News
"This powerful memoir is a milestone in the history of that boycott and in the American Civil Rights Movement."
--American History Illustrated
"This absorbing study may become a minor classic in the literature of the Montgomery bus boycott. . . . Garrow correctly states in his Foreword that this book is the most important participant-observer account of the Montgomery protest available to students and scholars of the black freedom movement. . . . This straightforward, sensitive memoir is must reading for students of the civil rights movement. It is a powerful commentary on how a woman and the group she led rose up to throw off an injustice thrust upon them. When Jo Ann Robinson and other Montgomery women decided no longer to play the role of contented black Southerners, they gave blacks everywhere renewed hope, and they helped to create a national leader who took them closer to the promised land."
—Jimmie L. Franklin, The Alabama Review
"In an absorbing, first-hand narrative, the dignified and unassuming Robinson focuses on the role of the Women's Political Council (WPC) and details the WPC's plans to engineer a boycott months before the heralded arrest of Rosa Parks. . . . The value of this primary source will endure long after many best-selling, secondary accounts of national politics during this period have disappeared."
—Keith D. Miller and Elizabeth Vander Lei, Explorations in Sight and Sound
This collection of essays and poems about the influence of jazz on writing and culture in this country, an expanded edition of the 1986 publication, is a rewarding volume for all those entranced by jazz. Carruth brings his considerable poetic and literary sensibilities to bear on a topic very near to his heart: "Those who are devoted primarily to jazz, to poetry, to all the arts, are also those who contribute more intelligently than others to our practical and moral, political and social, advancement."
Ellen Tarry was born in 1906 in Birmingham, Alabama. While attending a Catholic school in Virginia during her teens, she joined the Church. She returned to Alabama to attend college at Alabama State Normal School for Colored in Montgomery and then taught in the Birmingham Public Schools from 1924 to 1926.
In pursuit of her dream of becoming a writer, Tarry moved to New York, where she worked for black newspapers and became acquainted with some of the prominent black artists and writers of the day, particularly Claude McKay and James Weldon Johnson. Her devotion to the church found expression in social work activities, first in Harlem, then in Chicago, and, during World War II, in Anniston, Alabama, where she directed a USO for black soldiers stationed at Fort McClellan. Tarry wrote several books for young readers, including biographies of James Weldon Johnson and Pierre Toussaint. She continued her social work career after the war and now lives in New York.
Devoid of pronounced racial markings, Tarry’s interactions with white Americans were not characterized by fear or distrust. But when her own brown daughter was subjected to racial discrimination she wrote The Third Door in 1955 to tell America about the plight of her people. With prose that is both moving and powerful, Tarry relates her life against the background of a changing American society. She still awaits the third door, designated neither “white” nor “colored,” through which all American will someday walk.
Frances Foster's classic study of pre-Civil War American slave autobiography is now issued in an accessible paperback edition. The first book to represent these slave narratives as literary in the complete sense of the word, and the first study to call attention to the significance of gender in the narratives, Witnessing Slavery will be welcomed by both general readers and students of the American south, slavery, the Civil War, and race issues.