The author, formerly known as JoAnne Chesimard, relates the formative experiences of her youth that led her to a life of activism in Black nationalist organizations and, eventually, to prison
These essays, by writer-activists incarcerated because of their political beliefs and acts, offer some controversial and thought-provoking theories of contemporary social change and liberation movements.
A study of the Black Power narratives of Angela Davis, Assata Shakur (a.k.a. JoAnne Chesimard), and Elaine Brown as instruments for radical social change. Recipient of the Mississippi University for Women's Eudora Welty Prize
In this comprehensive history of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party (ILBPP), Chicago native Jakobi Williams demonstrates that the city's Black Power movement was both a response to and an extension of the city's civil rights movement. Williams focuses on the life and violent death of Fred Hampton, a charismatic leader who served as president of the NAACP Youth Council and continued to pursue a civil rights agenda when he became chairman of the revolutionary Chicago-based Black Panther Party. Framing the story of Hampton and the ILBPP as a social and political history and using, for the first time, sealed secret police files in Chicago and interviews conducted with often reticent former members of the ILBPP, Williams explores how Hampton helped develop racial coalitions between the ILBPP and other local activists and organizations. Williams also recounts the history of the original Rainbow Coalition, created in response to Richard J. Daley's Democratic machine, to show how the Panthers worked to create an antiracist, anticlass coalition to fight urban renewal, political corruption, and police brutality.
The rate of women entering prison has increased nearly 400 percent since 1980, with African American women constituting the largest percentage of this population. However, despite their extremely disproportional representation in correctional institutions, little attention has been paid to their experiences within the criminal justice system. Inner Lives provides readers the rare opportunity to intimately connect with African American women prisoners. By presenting the women's stories in their own voices, Paula C. Johnson captures the reality of those who are in the system, and those who are working to help them. Johnson offers a nuanced and compelling portrait of this fastest-growing prison population by blending legal history, ethnography, sociology, and criminology. These striking and vivid narratives are accompanied by equally compelling arguments by Johnson on how to reform our nation's laws and social policies, in order to eradicate existing inequalities. Her thorough and insightful analysis of the historical and legal background of contemporary criminal law doctrine, sentencing theories, and correctional policies sets the stage for understanding the current system.
Black Literate Lives offers an innovative approach to understanding the complex and multi-dimensional perspectives of Black literate lives in the United States. Author Maisha Fisher reinterprets historiographies of Black self-determination and self-reliance to powerfully interrupt stereotypes of African-American literacy practices. The book expands the standard definitions of literacy practices to demonstrate the ways in which 'minority' groups keep their cultures and practices alive in the face of oppression, both inside and outside of schools. This important addition to critical literacy studies: -Demonstrates the relationship of an expanded definition of literacy to self-determination and empowerment -Exposes unexpected sources of Black literate traditions of popular culture and memory -Reveals how spoken word poetry, open mic events, and everyday cultural performances are vital to an understanding of Black literacy in the 21st century By centering the voices of students, activists, and community members whose creative labors past and present continue the long tradition of creating cultural forms that restore collective, Black Literate Lives ultimately uncovers memory while illuminating the literate and literary contributions of Black people in America.
Still Lifting, Still Climbing is the first volume of its kind to document African American women's activism in the wake of the civil rights movement. Covering grassroots and national movements alike, contributors explore black women's mobilization around such areas as the black nationalist movements, the Million Man March, black feminism, anti-rape movements, mass incarceration, the U.S. Congress, welfare rights, health care, and labor organizing. Detailing the impact of post-1960s African American women's activism, they provide a much-needed update to the historical narrative. Ideal for course use, the volume includes original essays as well as primary source documents such as first-hand accounts of activism and statements of purpose. Each contributor carefully situates their topic within its historical framework, providing an accessible context for those unfamiliar with black women's history, and demonstrating that African American women's political agency does not emerge from a vacuum, but is part of a complex system of institutions, economics, and personal beliefs. This ambitious volume will be an invaluable resource on the state of contemporary African American women's activism.
How did the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee break open the caste system in the American South between 1960 and 1965? In this innovative study, Wesley Hogan explores what SNCC accomplished and, more important, how it fostered significant social change in such a short time. She offers new insights into the internal dynamics of SNCC as well as the workings of the larger civil rights and Black Power movement of which it was a part. As Hogan chronicles, the members of SNCC created some of the civil rights movement's boldest experiments in freedom, including the sit-ins of 1960, the rejuvenated Freedom Rides of 1961, and grassroots democracy projects in Georgia and Mississippi. She highlights several key players--including Charles Sherrod, Bob Moses, and Fannie Lou Hamer--as innovators of grassroots activism and democratic practice. Breaking new ground, Hogan shows how SNCC laid the foundation for the emergence of the New Left and created new definitions of political leadership during the civil rights and Vietnam eras. She traces the ways other social movements--such as Black Power, women's liberation, and the antiwar movement--adapted practices developed within SNCC to apply to their particular causes. Many Minds, One Heart ultimately reframes the movement and asks us to look anew at where America stands on justice and equality today.
The gun-toting woman holds enormous symbolic significance in American culture. For over two centuries, women who pick up guns have disrupted the popular association of guns and masculinity, spurring debates about women's capabilities for violence as well as their capacity for full citizenship. In Her Best Shot, Laura Browder examines the relationship between women and guns and the ways in which the figure of the armed woman has served as a lightning rod for cultural issues. Utilizing autobiographies, advertising, journalism, novels, and political tracts, among other sources, Browder traces appearances of the armed woman across a chronological spectrum from the American Revolution to the present and an ideological spectrum ranging from the Black Panthers to right-wing militias. Among the colorful characters presented here are Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the American Revolution; Pauline Cushman, who posed as a Confederate to spy for Union forces during the Civil War; Wild West sure-shot Annie Oakley; African explorer Osa Johnson; 1930s gangsters Ma Barker and Bonnie Parker; and Patty Hearst, the hostage-turned-revolutionary-turned-victim. With her entertaining and provocative analysis, Browder demonstrates that armed women both challenge and reinforce the easy equation that links guns, manhood, and American identity.
Party Music explores the culture and politics of the Black Power era of the late 1960s, when the rise of a black militant movement also gave rise to a “Black Awakening” in the arts--and especially in music. Here Rickey Vincent, the award-winning author of Funk, explores the relationship of soul music to the Black Power movement from the vantage point of the musicians and black revolutionaries themselves. Party Music introduces readers to the Black Panther's own band, the Lumpen, a group comprised of rank-and-file members of the Oakland, California-based Party. During their year-long tenure, the Lumpen produced hard-driving rhythm-and-blues that asserted the revolutionary ideology of the Black Panthers. Through his rediscovery of the Lumpen, and based on new interviews with Party and band members, Vincent provides an insider's account of black power politics and soul music aesthetics in an original narrative that reveals more detail about the Black Revolution than ever before. Rickey Vincent is the author of Funk: The Music, The People, and the Rhythm of the One, and has written for the Washington Post, American Legacy, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.
A New York Times and Washington Post Bestseller In this timely and important collection of personal essays, black men from all walks of life share their inspiring stories and ultimately how each, in his own way, became a source of hope for his community and country. Reach includes forty first-person accounts from well-known men like the Rev. Al Sharpton, John Legend, Isiah Thomas, Bill T. Jones, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Talib Kweli, alongside influential community organizers, businessmen, religious leaders, philanthropists, and educators. These remarkable individuals are living proof that black men are as committed as ever to ensuring a better world for themselves and for others. Powerful and indispensable to our ongoing cultural dialogue, Reach explodes myths about black men by providing rare, candid, and deeply personal insights into their lives. It’s a blueprint for better community engagement. It’s an essential resource for communities everywhere. Proceeds from the sale of Reach will go to BMe Community, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building caring and prosperous communities inspired by black men. Reach is also a Project of the Kapor Center for Social Impact, one of the founding supporters of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
Curtis J. Austin's Up Against the Wall chronicles how violence brought about the founding of the Black Panther Party in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, dominated its policies, and brought about the party's destruction as one member after another--Eldridge Cleaver, Fred Hampton, Alex Rackley--left the party, was killed, or was imprisoned. Austin shows how the party's early emphasis in the 1960s on self-defense, though sorely needed in black communities at the time, left it open to mischaracterization, infiltration, and devastation by local, state, and federal police forces and government agencies. Austin carefully highlights the internal tension between advocates of a more radical position than the Panthers took, who insisted on military confrontation with the state and those, such as Newton and David Hilliard, who believed in making community organizing and alliance building their first priorities. Austin interviewed a number of party members who had heretofore remained silent. With the help of these stories, Austin is able to put the violent history of the party in perspective and show that the "survival" programs such as the Free Breakfast for Children program and Free Health Clinics helped the black communities they served to recognize their own bases of power and ability to save themselves.
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.
In this nuanced and groundbreaking history, Donna Murch argues that the Black Panther Party (BPP) started with a study group. Drawing on oral history and untapped archival sources, she explains how a relatively small city with a recent history of African American settlement produced such compelling and influential forms of Black Power politics. During an era of expansion and political struggle in California's system of public higher education, black southern migrants formed the BPP. In the early 1960s, attending Merritt College and other public universities radicalized Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and many of the young people who joined the Panthers' rank and file. In the face of social crisis and police violence, the most disfranchised sectors of the East Bay's African American community--young, poor, and migrant--challenged the legitimacy of state authorities and of an older generation of black leadership. By excavating this hidden history, Living for the City broadens the scholarship of the Black Power movement by documenting the contributions of black students and youth who created new forms of organization, grassroots mobilization, and political literacy.
In Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare, Leigh Raiford argues that over the past one hundred years, activists in the black freedom struggle have used photographic imagery both to gain political recognition and to develop a different visual vocabulary about black lives. Offering readings of the use of photography in the anti-lynching movement, the civil rights movement, and the black power movement, Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare focuses on key transformations in technology, society, and politics to understand the evolution of photography's deployment in capturing white oppression, black resistance, and African American life.

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