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Black History Month Shelf
A digital exhibit of Ebooks for Black History Month
A timely survey of an important sector of American letters, African American Writers, examines a multitude of black cultural leaders from the eighteenth century to the present as it focuses on novelists, essayists, scholars, activists, critics, teachers, poets, playwrights, and songwriters. Biographical information covers important events in a writer s life, education, major works, honors and awards, family and important associates, and more. Includes illustrations, bibliography, and index.
This timely special edition, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party, features a new preface by the authors that places the Party in a contemporary political landscape, especially as it relates to Black Lives Matter and other struggles to fight police brutality against black communities. In Oakland, California, in 1966, community college students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton armed themselves, began patrolling the police, and promised to prevent police brutality. Unlike the Civil Rights Movement that called for full citizenship rights for blacks within the United States, the Black Panther Party rejected the legitimacy of the U.S. government and positioned itself as part of a global struggle against American imperialism. In the face of intense repression, the Party flourished, becoming the center of a revolutionary movement with offices in sixty-eight U.S. cities and powerful allies around the world.Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence. Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling. Informed by twelve years of meticulous archival research, as well as familiarity with most of the former Party leadership and many rank-and-file members, this book is the definitive history of one of the greatest challenges ever posed to American state power.
The author of Race for Profit carries out “[a] searching examination of the social, political and economic dimensions of the prevailing racial order” (Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow). In this winner of the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize for an Especially Notable Book, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor “not only exposes the canard of color-blindness but reveals how structural racism and class oppression are joined at the hip” (Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams). The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against black people and punctured the illusion of a post-racial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists. In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and the persistence of structural inequality, such as mass incarceration and black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for black liberation.
A literary and political genealogy of the last half-century, Words of Witness explores black feminist autobiographical narratives in the context of activism and history since the landmark 1954 segregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. Angela A. Ards examines how activist writers, especially five whose memoirs were published in the 1990s and 2000s, crafted these life stories to engage and shape progressive, post-Brown politics. Exploring works by the critically acclaimed June Jordan and Edwidge Danticat, as well as by popular and emerging authors such as Melba Beals, Rosemary Bray, and Eisa Davis, Ards demonstrates how each text asserts countermemories to official—and often nostalgic—understandings of the civil rights and Black Power movements. She situates each writer as activist-citizen, adopting and remaking particular roles—warrior, “the least of these,” immigrant, hip-hop head—to crystallize a range of black feminist responses to urgent but unresolved political issues.
On August 7, 1970, a revolt by Black prisoners in a Marin County courthouse stunned the nation. In its aftermath, Angela Davis, an African American activist-scholar who had campaigned vigorously for prisoners' rights, was placed on the FBI's "ten most wanted list." Captured in New York City two months later, she was charged with murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy. Her trial, chronicled in this "compelling tale" (Publishers Weekly), brought strong public indictment. The Morning Breaks is a riveting firsthand account of Davis's ordeal and her ultimate triumph, written by an activist in the student, civil rights, and antiwar movements who was intimately involved in the struggle for her release.First published in 1975, and praised by The Nation for its "graphic narrative of [Davis's] legal and public fight," The Morning Breaks remains relevant today as the nation contends with the political fallout of the Sixties and the grim consequences of institutional racism. For this edition, Bettina Aptheker has provided an introduction that revisits crucial events of the late 1960s and early 1970s and puts Davis's case into the context of that time and our own-from the killings at Kent State and Jackson State to the politics of the prison system today. This book gives a first-hand account of the worldwide movement for Angela Davis's freedom and of her trial. It offers a unique historical perspective on the case and its continuing significance in the contemporary political landscape.
American political thought has been shaped by those who fought back against social inequality, economic exclusion, the denial of political representation, and slavery, the country's original sin. Yet too often the voices of African American resistance have been neglected, silenced, or forgotten. In this timely book, Alex Zamalin considers key moments of resistance to demonstrate its current and future necessity, focusing on five activists across two centuries who fought to foreground slavery and racial injustice in American political discourse. Struggle on Their Minds shows how the core values of the American political tradition have been continually challenged—and strengthened—by antiracist resistance, creating a rich legacy of African American political thought that is an invaluable component of contemporary struggles for racial justice.Zamalin looks at the language and concepts put forward by the abolitionists David Walker and Frederick Douglass, the antilynching activist Ida B. Wells, the Black Panther Party organizer Huey Newton, and the prison abolitionist Angela Davis. Each helped revise and transform ideas about power, justice, community, action, and the role of emotion in political action. Their thought encouraged abolitionists to call for the eradication of slavery, black journalists to chastise American institutions for their indifference to lynching, and black radicals to police the police and to condemn racial injustice in the American prison system. Taken together, these movements pushed political theory forward, offering new language and concepts to sustain democracy in tense times. Struggle on Their Minds is a critical text for our contemporary moment, showing how the political thought that comes out of resistance can energize the practice of democratic citizenship and ultimately help address the prevailing problem of racial injustice.
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.
Created in 1964 as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Freedom Schools were launched by educators and activists to provide an alternative education for African American students that would facilitate student activism and participatory democracy. The schools, as Jon N. Hale demonstrates, had a crucial role in the civil rights movement and a major impact on the development of progressive education throughout the nation. Designed and run by African American and white educators and activists, the Freedom Schools counteracted segregationist policies that inhibited opportunities for black youth. Providing high-quality, progressive education that addressed issues of social justice, the schools prepared African American students to fight for freedom on all fronts. Forming a political network, the Freedom Schools taught students how, when, and where to engage politically, shaping activists who trained others to challenge inequality. Based on dozens of first-time interviews with former Freedom School students and teachers and on rich archival materials, this remarkable social history of the Mississippi Freedom Schools is told from the perspective of those frequently left out of civil rights narratives that focus on national leadership or college protestors. Hale reveals the role that school-age students played in the civil rights movement and the crucial contribution made by grassroots activists on the local level. He also examines the challenges confronted by Freedom School activists and teachers, such as intimidation by racist Mississippians and race relations between blacks and whites within the schools. In tracing the stories of Freedom School students into adulthood, this book reveals the ways in which these individuals turned training into decades of activism. Former students and teachers speak eloquently about the principles that informed their practice and the influence that the Freedom School curriculum has had on education. They also offer key strategies for further integrating the American school system and politically engaging today's youth.