During the 1960s James Forman served as Executive Secretary and Director of International Affairs of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Provides a record of the events that took place in the streets, meetings, churches, jails, and in people's hearts and minds in the 1960s civil rights movement.
Bachelor Thesis from the year 2006 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,15, University of Bayreuth, 40 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: In this thesis I will first briefly outline general aspects of the autobiographical genre, with emphasis on the tradition of life narratives written by African Americans. As this thesis focuses on two autobiographies written by women, I will also go into major characteristic aspects that distinguish their personal accounts from men's before introducing the autobiographies of Assata Shakur and Elaine Brown within the larger context. Chapter three will be dedicated to a closer look on their works. I will focus on Shakur's and Brown's representations of themselves as black women and their becoming revolutionaries within the dynamics of gender and power. I will illustrate important aspects of their identity formation during childhood and adolescence, e.g. family backgrounds, school education, ghetto life and their relationship to male age mates, as well as their slow process of identity change due to growing critical awareness and introduction to the Black Power Movement. I will also focus on whether and if yes, how, their current identity is again challenged within the Black Power Movement and especially within and outside of the Black Panther Party. Lastly I will shortly concentrate on the autobiographies' respective closures and how the two women see themselves, directly after leaving organized struggle behind (Brown) or from exile several years later (Shakur). By writing their autobiographies Brown and Shakur take advantage of the opportunity to tell their version of the story. How the two women create their identity and depict themselves retrospectively as being quite different from their public image will be the central focus of this paper.
Black Power and the Making of African American Politics
Author: Cedric Johnson
Category: Political Science
The Black Power movement represented a key turning point in American politics. Disenchanted by the hollow progress of federal desegregation during the 1960s, many black citizens and leaders across the United States demanded meaningful self-determination. The popular movement they created was marked by a vigorous artistic renaissance, militant political action, and fierce ideological debate. Exploring the major political and intellectual currents from the Black Power era to the present, Cedric Johnson reveals how black political life gradually conformed to liberal democratic capitalism and how the movement's most radical aims--the rejection of white aesthetic standards, redefinition of black identity, solidarity with the Third World, and anticapitalist revolution--were gradually eclipsed by more moderate aspirations. Although Black Power activists transformed the face of American government, Johnson contends that the evolution of the movement as a form of ethnic politics restricted the struggle for social justice to the world of formal politics. Johnson offers a compelling and theoretically sophisticated critique of the rhetoric and strategies that emerged in this period. Drawing on extensive archival research, he reinterprets the place of key intellectual figures, such as Harold Cruse and Amiri Baraka, and influential organizations, including the African Liberation Support Committee, the National Black Political Assembly, and the National Black Independent Political Party in postsegregation black politics, while at the same time identifying the contradictions of Black Power radicalism itself. Documenting the historical retreat from radical, democratic struggle, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders ultimately calls for the renewal of popular struggle and class-conscious politics. Cedric Johnson is assistant professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
This memoir was finished when Nelson Peery, a hitherto unknown hero, adventurer and rebel, was old enough to be honest with (him)self and the typewriter. But it was started when Peery was only 24, and it retains all the hope of a young man who fully expected the world to live up to the promises and values he fought for in World War II.
Images of upraised fists, afros, and dashikis have long dominated the collective memory of Black Power and its proponents. The “guerilla” figure-taking the form of the black-leather-clad revolutionary within the Black Panther Party-has become an iconic trope in American popular culture. That politically radical figure, however, has been shaped as much by Asian American cultural discourse as by African American political ideology. From the Asian-African Conference held in April of 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia, onward to the present, Afro-Asian political collaboration has been active and influential. In Black Power, Yellow Power, and the Making of Revolutionary Identities, author Rychetta Watkins uses the guerilla figure as a point of departure and shows how the trope’s rhetoric animates discourses of representation and identity in African American and Asian American literature and culture. In doing so, she examines the notion of “Power,” in terms of ethnic political identity, and explores collaborating-and sometimes competing-ethnic interests that have drawn ideas from the concept. The project brings together a range of texts-editorial cartoons, newspaper articles, novels, visual propaganda, and essays-that illustrate the emergence of this subjectivity in Asian American and African American cultural productions during the Power period, roughly 1966 through 1981. After a case study of the cultural politics of academic anthologies and the cooperation between Frank Chin and Ishmael Reed, the volume culminates with analyses of this trope in Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat by the Door, Alice Walker’s Meridian, and John Okada’s No No Boy.
Community and Identity during the Russian Revolution and its Immediate Aftermath, 1905–07
Author: I. Shtakser
This book examines the emotional aspects of revolutionary experience during a critical turning point in both Russian and Jewish history - the 1905 revolution. Shtakser argues that radicalization involved an emotional transformation, which enabled many young revolutionaries to develop an activist attitude towards reality.
C. L. R. James's The Black Jacobins remains one of the great works of the twentieth century and the cornerstone of Haitian revolutionary studies. In Making The Black Jacobins, Rachel Douglas traces the genesis, transformation, and afterlives of James's landmark work across the decades from the 1930s on. Examining the 1938 and 1963 editions of The Black Jacobins, the 1967 play of the same name, and James's 1936 play, Toussaint Louverture—as well as manuscripts, notes, interviews, and other texts—Douglas shows how James continuously rewrote and revised his history of the Haitian Revolution as his politics and engagement with Marxism evolved. She also points to the vital significance theater played in James's work and how it influenced his views of history. Douglas shows The Black Jacobins to be a palimpsest, its successive layers of rewriting renewing its call to new generations.
One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement, Ella Baker (1903-1986) was an activist whose remarkable career spanned fifty years and touched thousands of lives. A gifted grassroots organizer, Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She was a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Baker made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles that included W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr., all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white. In this deeply researched biography, Barbara Ransby chronicles Baker's long and rich political career as an organizer, an intellectual, and a teacher, from her early experiences in depression-era Harlem to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Ransby shows Baker to be a complex figure whose radical, democratic worldview, commitment to empowering the black poor, and emphasis on group-centered, grassroots leadership set her apart from most of her political contemporaries. Beyond documenting an extraordinary life, the book paints a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century.
A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots
Author: Laura Visser-Maessen
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Category: Biography & Autobiography
One of the most influential leaders in the civil rights movement, Robert Parris Moses was essential in making Mississippi a central battleground state in the fight for voting rights. As a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Moses presented himself as a mere facilitator of grassroots activism rather than a charismatic figure like Martin Luther King Jr. His self-effacing demeanor and his success, especially in steering the events that led to the volatile 1964 Freedom Summer and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, paradoxically gave him a reputation of nearly heroic proportions. Examining the dilemmas of a leader who worked to cultivate local leadership, historian Laura Visser-Maessen explores the intellectual underpinnings of Moses's strategy, its achievements, and its struggles. This new biography recasts Moses as an effective, hands-on organizer, safeguarding his ideals while leading from behind the scenes. By returning Moses to his rightful place among the foremost leaders of the movement, Visser-Maessen testifies to Moses's revolutionary approach to grassroots leadership and the power of the individual in generating social change.
Focusing attention on the political ideas that were influential as well as those that were central to the civil rights movement, this pathbreaking book examines not only written texts but also oral history interviews to establish a rich tradition of freedom that emerged from the movement. He also makes clear that, though liberal notions of freedom involving the absence of restrictions and equal protections were crucial to movement goals, the movement was as much about individual and collective self-transformation and political participation as it was about removal of barriers to social and political equality. Along the way figures such as Martin Luther King and Ella Baker, Stokely Carmichael and James Forman, and political thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and Frantz Fanon are discussed and analyzed. Civil Rights and the Idea of Freedom concludes that the civil rights movement helped revitalize the meaning of citizenship and the political importance of self-respect in the contemporary world with implications reaching beyond its original setting.
The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy
Author: Gary May
Publisher: Hachette UK
When the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 granted African Americans the right to vote, it seemed as if a new era of political equality was at hand. Before long, however, white segregationists across the South counterattacked, driving their black countrymen from the polls through a combination of sheer terror and insidious devices such as complex literacy tests and expensive poll taxes. Most African Americans would remain voiceless for nearly a century more, citizens in name only until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act secured their access to the ballot. In Bending Toward Justice, celebrated historian Gary May describes how black voters overcame centuries of bigotry to secure and preserve one of their most important rights as American citizens. The struggle that culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act was long and torturous, and only succeeded because of the courageous work of local freedom fighters and national civil rights leaders -- as well as, ironically, the opposition of Southern segregationists and law enforcement officials, who won public sympathy for the voting rights movement by brutally attacking peaceful demonstrators. But while the Voting Rights Act represented an unqualified victory over such forces of hate, May explains that its achievements remain in jeopardy. Many argue that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama rendered the act obsolete, yet recent years have seen renewed efforts to curb voting rights and deny minorities the act's hard-won protections. Legal challenges to key sections of the act may soon lead the Supreme Court to declare those protections unconstitutional. A vivid, fast-paced history of this landmark piece of civil rights legislation, Bending Toward Justice offers a dramatic, timely account of the struggle that finally won African Americans the ballot -- although, as May shows, the fight for voting rights is by no means over.
The Civil Rights Movement was not only an epochal social and political event but also a profound moral turning point in American history. Here, for the first time, social ethicist Ross examines the religiously motivated activism of black women in the movement and its moral import.
In the 1969 issue of Negro Digest, a young Black Arts Movement poet then-named Ameer (Amiri) Baraka published “We Are Our Feeling: The Black Aesthetic.” Baraka’s emphasis on the importance of feelings in black selfhood expressed a touchstone for how the black liberation movement grappled with emotions in response to the politics and racial violence of the era. In her latest book, award-winning author Lisa M. Corrigan suggests that Black Power provided a significant repository for negative feelings, largely black pessimism, to resist the constant physical violence against black activists and the psychological strain of political disappointment. Corrigan asserts the emergence of Black Power as a discourse of black emotional invention in opposition to Kennedy-era white hope. As integration became the prevailing discourse of racial liberalism shaping midcentury discursive structures, so too, did racial feelings mold the biopolitical order of postmodern life in America. By examining the discourses produced by Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, and other Black Power icons who were marshaling black feelings in the service of black political action, Corrigan traces how black liberation activists mobilized new emotional repertoires
This book explores the recent spread of political efforts to rectify past injustices. Although it recognizes that reparations campaigns may lead to improved well-being of victims and to reconciliation among former antagonists, it examines the extent to which concern with the past may depart from the future orientation of progressive politics.