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From Valerie Strauss, published by The Washington Post. The national uprising for racial justice and social change sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has prompted new calls for changes in school curriculum that reflect the broad reality of black America — but there’s no reason that students should be the only ones learning.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, historians at King's College London have drawn together a selection of readings that offer important perspectives on histories of racism and anti-racist struggles.
This ground-breaking collection provides hours of enjoyment for the general reader and a wealth of materials needed to develop course units on black women; political theory, literary essays on major writers, guidelines for consciousness-raising about racism, and surveys of black women's contributions to the blues. "Important and innovative."--Feminist Bookstore News
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation, gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement—and still lights the way to understanding race in America today.
This enlarged edition of the most significant and celebrated slave narrative now completes the Jacobs family saga, surely one of the most memorable in all of American history. John Jacobs's short slave narrative, A True Tale of Slavery, published in London in 1861, adds a brother's perspective to Harriet Jacobs's own autobiography. It is an exciting addition to this now classic work, as John Jacobs presents additional historical information about family life so well described already by his sister. Importantly, it presents the people, places, and events Harriet Jacobs wrote about from the different perspective of a male narrator.
Mules and Men is a treasury of black America's folklore as collected by a famous storyteller and anthropologist who grew up hearing the songs and sermons, sayings and tall tales that have formed an oral history of the South since the time of slavery. Returning to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, to gather material, Zora Neale Hurston recalls "a hilarious night with a pinch of everything social mixed with the storytelling." Set intimately within the social context of black life, the stories, "big old lies," songs, Vodou customs, and superstitions recorded in these pages capture the imagination and bring back to life the humor and wisdom that is the unique heritage of African Americans.
Published in 1939, this was one of the first titles to study the family life of African Americans. It began with colonial-era slavery, extending through emancipation, to the impact of migration to northern and southern cities in the early-20th century.
In a bold and innovative argument, a rising legal star shows readers how the mass incarceration of a disproportionate number of black men amounts to a devastating system of racial control. This is a terrifying reality that exists in the UK as much as in the US. Despite the triumphant dismantling of the Jim Crow laws, the system that once forced African-Americans into a segregated second-class citizenship still haunts and the criminal justice system still unfairly targets black men and deprives an entire segment of the population of their basic rights.
In this founding work in the literature of black protest, Du Bois eloquently affirms that it is beneath the dignity of a human being to beg for those rights that belong inherently to all mankind. He also charges that the strategy of accommodation to white supremacy would only serve to perpetuate black oppression.
In this ambitious work, first published in 1983, Cedric Robinson demonstrates that efforts to understand black people's history of resistance solely through the prism of Marxist theory are incomplete and inaccurate. Marxist analyses tend to presuppose European models of history and experience that downplay the significance of black people and black communities as agents of change and resistance. Black radicalism must be linked to the traditions of Africa and the unique experiences of blacks on western continents, Robinson argues, and any analyses of African American history need to acknowledge this. To illustrate his argument, Robinson traces the emergence of Marxist ideology in Europe, the resistance by blacks in historically oppressive environments, and the influence of both of these traditions on such important twentieth-century black radical thinkers as W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James, and Richard Wright.
Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes that established banks and heavy industry in Europe and expanded the reach of capitalism worldwide. Eric Williams advanced these powerful ideas in Capitalism and Slavery, published in 1944. Years ahead of its time, his profound critique became the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development. Binding an economic view of history with strong moral argument, Williams's study of the role of slavery in financing the Industrial Revolution refuted traditional ideas of economic and moral progress and firmly established the centrality of the African slave trade in European economic development. He also showed that mature industrial capitalism in turn helped destroy the slave system. Establishing the exploitation of commercial capitalism and its link to racial attitudes, Williams employed a historicist vision that set the tone for future studies. In a new introduction, Colin Palmer assesses the lasting impact of Williams's groundbreaking work and analyzes the heated scholarly debates it generated when it first appeared.
Woodson's classic work of criticism explores how the education received by blacks has failed to give them an appreciation of themselves as a race and their contributions to history. Woodson puts forward a program that calls for the educated to learn about their past and serve the black community.
Babylon Girls is a groundbreaking cultural history of the African American women who performed in variety shows--chorus lines, burlesque revues, cabaret acts, and the like--between 1890 and 1945. Through a consideration of the gestures, costuming, vocal techniques, and stagecraft developed by African American singers and dancers, Jayna Brown explains how these women shaped the movement and style of an emerging urban popular culture. In an era of U.S. and British imperialism, these women challenged and played with constructions of race, gender, and the body as they moved across stages and geographic space. They pioneered dance movements including the cakewalk, the shimmy, and the Charleston--black dances by which the "New Woman" defined herself. These early-twentieth-century performers brought these dances with them as they toured across the United States and around the world, becoming cosmopolitan subjects more widely traveled than many of their audiences. Investigating both well-known performers such as Ada Overton Walker and Josephine Baker and lesser-known artists such as Belle Davis and Valaida Snow, Brown weaves the histories of specific singers and dancers together with incisive theoretical insights.
In 1791, inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, the slaves of San Domingo rose in revolt. Despite invasion by a series of British, Spanish and Napoleonic armies, their twelve-year struggle led to the creation of Haiti, the first independent black republic outside Africa. Only three years later, the British and Americans ended the Atlantic slave trade. In this example of vivid, committed and empathetic historical analysis, C.L.R. James illuminates these epoch-making events. He explores the appalling economic realities of the Caribbean economy, the roots of the world's only successful slave revolt and the utterly extraordinary former slave - Toussaint L'Overture -who led them. Explicitly written as part of the fight to end colonialism in Africa, "The Black Jacobins" puts the slaves themselves centre stage, boldly forging their own destiny against nearly impossible odds. It remains one of the essential texts for understanding the Caribbean - and the region's inextricable links with Europe, Africa and the Americas.
In his magnum opus, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Rodney incisively argues that grasping "the great divergence" between the west and the rest can only be explained as the exploitation of the latter by the former. This meticulously researched analysis of the abiding repercussions of European colonialism on the continent of Africa has not only informed decades of scholarship and activism, it remains an indispensable study for grasping global inequality today.
Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS's American Masters. Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother's side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age--and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity."--James Baldwin
Providing a vivid account of the eighteenth-century Western world through his own experiences, the Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano combines Eqiano's own words about issues such as slavery and independence with related documents.
In this unflinching look at white supremacy, George Lipsitz argues that racism is a matter of interests as well as attitudes, a problem of property as well as pigment. Above and beyond personal prejudice, whiteness is a structured advantage that produces unfair gains and unearned rewards for whites while imposing impediments to asset accumulation, employment, housing, and health care for minorities. Reaching beyond the black/white binary, Lipsitz shows how whiteness works in respect to Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.Lipsitz delineates the weaknesses embedded in civil rights laws, the racial dimensions of economic restructuring and deindustrialization, and the effects of environmental racism, job discrimination and school segregation. He also analyzes the centrality of whiteness to U.S. culture, and perhaps most importantly, he identifies the sustained and perceptive critique of white privilege embedded in the radical black tradition. This revised and expanded edition also includes an essay about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on working class Blacks in New Orleans, whose perpetual struggle for dignity and self determination has been obscured by the city's image as a tourist party town.
The Racial Contract puts classic Western social contract theory, deadpan, to extraordinary radical use. With a sweeping look at the European expansionism and racism of the last five hundred years, Charles W. Mills demonstrates how this peculiar and unacknowledged "contract" has shaped a system of global European domination: how it brings into existence "whites" and "non-whites," full persons and sub-persons, how it influences white moral theory and moral psychology; and how this system is imposed on non-whites through ideological conditioning and violence. The Racial Contract argues that the society we live in is a continuing white supremacist state.
First published in 1961, Frantz Fanon'sThe Wretched of the Earth is a masterful and timeless interrogation of race, colonialism, psychological trauma, and revolutionary struggle. In 2020, it found a new readership in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests and the centering of narratives interrogating race by Black writers. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in spurring historical change, the book incisively attacks the twin perils of post-independence colonial politics: the disenfranchisement of the masses by the elites on the one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other. A landmark text for revolutionaries and activists,The Wretched of the Earth is an eternal touchstone for civil rights, anti-colonialism, psychiatric studies, and Black consciousness movements around the world. Translated by Richard Philcox, and featuring now-classic critical essays by Jean-Paul Sartre and Homi K. Bhabha, as well as a new essay, this sixtieth anniversary edition of Fanon's most famous text stands proudly alongside such pillars of anti-colonialism and anti-racism as Edward Said'sOrientalism andThe Autobiography of Malcolm X.