Scholars of the civil rights movement and twentieth-century African American history traditionally refer to Asa Philip Randolph as the organizer of the first all-black labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Paula Pfeffer's aim in this detailed and insightful biography, however, is "to demonstrate that Randolph's ideologies and strategies provided the blueprint for the civil rights movement that emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s."Randolph's efforts were essential to the formation of the first Fair Employment Practices Committee and the integration of the armed services in the 1940s. He organized many effective protests--sit-ins, the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage, and two Youth Marches for Integrated Schools--to preserve African American integrity while seeking racial parity. The 1963 March on Washington--for which Randolph was an organizing force--was a renewal of his attempted March on Washington of 1941.-- "Journal of Southern History"
Building on arguments presented in The Struggle for Equality, James McPherson shows that many abolitionists did not retreat from Reconstruction, as historical accounts frequently lead us to believe, but instead vigorously continued the battle for black rights long after the Civil War. Tracing the activities of nearly 300 abolitionists and their descendants, he reveals that some played a crucial role in the establishment of schools and colleges for southern blacks, while others formed the vanguard of liberals who founded the NAACP in 1910. The author's examination of the complex and unhappy fate of Reconstruction clarifies the uneasy partnership of northern and southern white liberals after 1870, the tensions between black activists and white neo-abolitionists, the evolution of resistance to racist ideologies, and the origins of the NAACP.-- "The Times Literary Supplement"
In The Accident of Color, Daniel Brook journeys to nineteenth-century New Orleans and Charleston and introduces us to cosmopolitan residents who elude the racial categories the rest of America takes for granted. Before the Civil War, these free, openly mixed-race urbanites enjoyed some rights of citizenship and the privileges of wealth and social status. But after Emancipation, as former slaves move to assert their rights, the black-white binary that rules the rest of the nation begins to intrude. During Reconstruction, a movement arises as mixed-race elites make common cause with the formerly enslaved and allies at the fringes of whiteness in a bid to achieve political and social equality for all.
In some areas, this coalition proved remarkably successful. Activists peacefully integrated the streetcars of Charleston and New Orleans for decades and, for a time, even the New Orleans public schools and the University of South Carolina were educating students of all backgrounds side by side. Tragically, the achievements of this movement were ultimately swept away by a violent political backlash and expunged from the history books, culminating in the Jim Crow laws that would legalize segregation for a half century and usher in the binary racial regime that rules us to this day.
The Accident of Color revisits a crucial inflection point in American history. By returning to the birth of our nation's singularly narrow racial system, which was forged in the crucible of opposition to civil rights, Brook illuminates the origins of the racial lies we live by.
Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work/Biography.
In Across That Bridge, Congressman John Lewis draws from his experience as a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement to offer timeless wisdom, poignant recollections, and powerful principles for anyone interested in challenging injustices and inspiring real change toward a freer, more peaceful society.
The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis, a close confidant to Martin Luther King, Jr., have never been more relevant. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis has remained a devoted advocate of the discipline and philosophy of nonviolence. Now, in an era in which the protest culture he helped forge has resurfaced as a force for change, Lewis' insights have never been more relevant. In this heartfelt book, Lewis explores the contributions that each generation must make to achieve change.
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was in Memphis to support a workers' strike. As night fell, army snipers took up position; military officers surveilled the scene from a nearby roof; and their accomplice, restaurant-owner Loyd Jowers, was ready to remove the murder weapon. When the dust had settled, King had been shot and a cleanup operation was in motion--James Earl Ray was framed, the crime scene was destroyed, and witnesses were killed. It would take William F. Pepper, attorney and friend of King, thirty years to get to the bottom of a conspiracy that changed the course of American history. In 1999, the King family, represented by the author, brought a civil action lawsuit against Loyd Jowers and other co-conspirators. Seventy witnesses set out the details of a plot that involved J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, Richard Helms and the CIA, the US military, the Memphis police, and organized crime. The jury took an hour to find for the King family.
Now fifty years after MLK's execution, An Act of State demonstrates the bloody depths to which the US government will descend to repress a movement for change.
This work examines the experiences of African Americans under the law and how African American culture has fostered a rich tradition of legal criticism. Moving between novels, music, and visual culture, the essays present race as a significant factor within legal discourse. Essays examine rights and sovereignty, violence and the law, and cultural ownership through the lens of African American culture. The volume argues that law must understand the effects of particular decisions and doctrines on African American life and culture and explores the ways in which African American cultural production has been largely centered on a critique of law.
This study examines the narrated life experiences of 11 African American intellectual-activists. An intellectual-activist is defined as a person whose education has provided him or her with a body of knowledge to which he/she is continually adding (intellectual self) and who works daily for, or has a career dedicated to, the betterment of African American people (activist self). The voices of the subjects focus on the events in their lives that contributed to their development as intellectuals and activists.
Discussions of the individuals' backgrounds illuminate the forces that influenced their life experiences and guided their actions toward involvement with the struggle to improve the lives of the African American community. The overarching theme in these life stories is the possession of a positive African American self-concept. The study explores the ways in which the subjects developed this positive self-concept, how this self-concept influenced the goals of their activism, and how they define progress toward these goals.
This well-written narrative, concise but packed with history, chronicles the struggle for African American civil rights. Beginning in 1619 when the first ship carrying Africans arrived in North America and continuing to the present, historian Michael L. Levine gives readers a balanced overview of how U.S. laws have prevented blacks from having the same civil rights as others. The text is accompanied by 65 detailed biographical sketches that describe the roles played by key individuals who worked to advance--or block--the civil rights of African Americans.