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Radical Intellect

Liberator Magazine and Black Activism in the 1960s

Christopher M. Tinson

The rise of black radicalism in the 1960s was a result of both the successes and the failures of the civil rights movement. The movement's victories were inspirational, but its failures to bring about structural political and economic change pushed many to look elsewhere for new strategies. During this era of intellectual ferment, the writers, editors, and activists behind the monthly magazine Liberator (1960–71) were essential contributors to the debate. In the first full-length history of the organization that produced the magazine, Christopher M. Tinson locates the Liberator as a touchstone of U.S.-based black radical thought and organizing in the 1960s. Combining radical journalism with on-the-ground activism, the magazine was dedicated to the dissemination of a range of cultural criticism aimed at spurring political activism, and became the publishing home to many notable radical intellectual-activists of the period, such as Larry Neal, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Harold Cruse, and Askia Toure.

By mapping the history and intellectual trajectory of the Liberator and its thinkers, Tinson traces black intellectual history beyond black power and black nationalism into an internationalism that would shape radical thought for decades to come.

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African American Review

Vol. 43 (2009) through current issue

African American Review is a scholarly aggregation of insightful essays on African American literature, theatre, film, the visual arts, and culture; interviews; poetry; fiction; and book reviews. The Review has featured renowned writers and cultural critics including Trudier Harris, Arnold Rampersad, Hortense Spillers, Amiri Baraka, Cyrus Cassells, Rita Dove, Charles Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Ishmael Reed. The official publication of the Modern Language Association's Divison on Black American Literature and Culture, African American Review fosters a vigorous conversation on African American literature and culture among writers and scholars in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

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The Promise of Patriarchy

Women and the Nation of Islam

Ula Yvette Taylor

The patriarchal structure of the Nation of Islam (NOI) promised black women the prospect of finding a provider and a protector among the organization's men, who were fiercely committed to these masculine roles. Black women's experience in the NOI, however, has largely remained on the periphery of scholarship. Here, Ula Taylor documents their struggle to escape the devaluation of black womanhood while also clinging to the empowering promises of patriarchy. Taylor shows how, despite being relegated to a lifestyle that did not encourage working outside of the home, NOI women found freedom in being able to bypass the degrading experiences connected to labor performed largely by working-class black women and in raising and educating their children in racially affirming environments.

Telling the stories of women like Clara Poole (wife of Elijah Muhammad) and Burnsteen Sharrieff (secretary to W. D. Fard, founder of the Allah Temple of Islam), Taylor offers a compelling narrative that explains how their decision to join a homegrown, male-controlled Islamic movement was a complicated act of self-preservation and self-love in Jim Crow America.

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Spirit Children

Illness, Poverty, and Infanticide in Northern Ghana

Aaron R. Denham

In parts of West Africa, some babies and toddlers are considered spirit children—nonhumans sent from the forest to cause misfortune and destroy the family. These are usually deformed or ailing infants, the very young whose births coincide with tragic events, or children who display unusual abilities. In some of these cases, families seek a solution in infanticide. Many others do not.

Refusing to generalize or oversimplify, Aaron R. Denham offers an ethnographic study of the spirit child phenomenon in Northern Ghana that considers medical, economic, religious, and political realities. He examines both the motivations of the families and the structural factors that lead to infanticide, framing these within the context of global public health. At the same time, he turns the lens on Western societies and the misunderstandings that prevail in discourse about this controversial practice. Engaging the complexity of the context, local meanings, and moral worlds of those confronting a spirit child, Denham offers visceral accounts of families' life and death decisions.

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The Hindered Hand

Author

Between 1899 and 1908, five long works of fiction by the Nashville-based black Baptist minister Sutton E. Griggs appeared in print, making him the most prolific African American novelist at the turn of the twentieth century. Brought out by Griggs’s own Orion Publishing Company in three distinct printings in 1905 and 1906, The Hindered Hand; or, the Reign of the Repressionist addresses the author’s key themes of amalgamation, emigration, armed resistance, and US overseas expansion; includes a melodramatic love story; and features two of the most sensational scenes in early African American fiction—a harrowingly graphic lynching of an innocent black couple based on actual events and the elaboration of a plot to wipe out white Southerners by introducing yellow fever germs into the water supply. Written in response to Thomas Dixon’s recently published race-baiting novel The Leopard’s Spots, Griggs’s book depicts the remnants of the old Southern planter class, the racial crisis threatening the South and the North, the social ferment of the time, the changing roles of women, and the thwarted aspirations of a trio of African American veterans following the war against Spain. This scholarly edition of the novel, providing newly discovered biographical information and copious historical context, makes a significant contribution to African American literary scholarship.

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Voices of Rondo

Oral Histories of Saint Paul's Historic Black Community

Kate Cavett

In Voices of Rondo, real-life stories illuminate the northern urban Black experience during the first half of the twentieth century, through the memories and reflections of residents of Saint Paul’s historic Rondo community. We glimpse the challenges of racism and poverty and share the victories of a community that educated its children to become strong, to find personal pride, and to become the next generation of leaders in Saint Paul and beyond.

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Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships

Vol. 1 (2014) through current issue

The Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships is devoted to addressing the epistemological, ontological, and social construction of sexual expression and relationships of persons within the African diaspora. The journal seeks to take into account the transhistorical substrates that subsume behavioral, affective, and cognitive functioning of persons of African descent as well as those who educate or clinically serve this important population.

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A Curse upon the Nation

Race, Freedom, and Extermination in America and the Atlantic World

Kay Wright Lewis

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Jah Kingdom

Rastafarians, Tanzania, and Pan-Africanism in the Age of Decolonization

Monique A. Bedasse

From its beginnings in 1930s Jamaica, the Rastafarian movement has become a global presence. While the existing studies of the Rastafarian movement have primarily focused on its cultural expression through reggae music, art, and iconography, Monique A. Bedasse argues that repatriation to Africa represents the most important vehicle of Rastafari's international growth. Shifting the scholarship on repatriation from Ethiopia to Tanzania, Bedasse foregrounds Rastafari's enduring connection to black radical politics and establishes Tanzania as a critical site to explore gender, religion, race, citizenship, socialism, and nation. Beyond her engagement with how the Rastafarian idea of Africa translated into a lived reality, she demonstrates how Tanzanian state and nonstate actors not only validated the Rastafarian idea of diaspora but were also crucial to defining the parameters of Pan-Africanism.

Based on previously undiscovered oral and written sources from Tanzania, Jamaica, England, the United States, and Trinidad, Bedasse uncovers a vast and varied transnational network--including Julius Nyerere, Michael Manley, and C. L. R James--revealing Rastafari's entrenchment in the making of Pan-Africanism in the postindependence period.

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Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free

Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW, Revised Edition

Alexander Jefferson

Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free is a rare gift detailing the experience of Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, who was one of 32 Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group to be shot down defending a country that considered them to be second-class citizens. In this vividly detailed, deeply personal story, Jefferson writes as a genuine American hero about what it meant to be an African American pilot in enemy hands, fighting to protect the promise of freedom. The book features the sketches, drawings, and other illustrations Jefferson created during his nine months as a POW, and Lewis Carlson’s authoritative background on the man, his unit, and the fight Alexander Jefferson fought so well. This revised edition covers the story of Jefferson’s continuing outreach and education work, as he brings the story of the Tuskegee Airmen to communities and schools across the country, and the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Airmen in 2007. Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free is perhaps the only account of the African American experience in a German prison camp.

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Break Beats in the Bronx

Rediscovering Hip-Hop's Early Years

Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr.

The origin story of hip-hop—one that involves Kool Herc DJing a house party on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx—has become received wisdom. But Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr. argues that the full story remains to be told. In vibrant prose, he combines never-before-used archival material with searching questions about the symbolic boundaries that have divided our understanding of the music. In Break Beats in the Bronx, Ewoodzie portrays the creative process that brought about what we now know as hip-hop and shows that the art form was a result of serendipitous events, accidents, calculated successes, and failures that, almost magically, came together. In doing so, he questions the unexamined assumptions about hip-hop's beginnings, including why there are just four traditional elements—DJing, MCing, breaking, and graffiti writing—and not others, why the South Bronx and not any other borough or city is considered the cradle of the form, and which artists besides Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash founded the genre. Ewoodzie answers these and many other questions about hip-hop's beginnings. Unearthing new evidence, he shows what occurred during the crucial but surprisingly underexamined years between 1975 and 1979 and argues that it was during this period that the internal logic and conventions of the scene were formed.

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Building the Black Metropolis

African American Entrepreneurship in Chicago

Robert Weems Jr., Jason Chambers

From Jean Baptiste Point DuSable to Oprah Winfrey, black entrepreneurship has helped define Chicago. Robert E. Weems Jr. and Joseph P. Chambers curate a collection of essays that place the city as the center of the black business world in the United States. Ranging from titans like Anthony Overton and Jesse Binga to McDonald's operators to black organized crime, the scholars shed light on the long overlooked history of African American work and entrepreneurship since the Great Migration. Together they examine how factors like the influx of southern migrants and the city's unique segregation patterns made Chicago a prolific incubator of productive business development ”and made building a black metropolis as much a necessity as an opportunity. Contributors: Jason P. Chambers, Marcia Chatelain, Will Cooley, Robert Howard, Christopher Robert Reed, Myiti Sengstacke Rice, Clovis E. Semmes, Juliet E. K. Walker, and Robert E. Weems Jr.

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Game of Privilege

An African American History of Golf

Lane Demas

This groundbreaking history of African Americans and golf explores the role of race, class, and public space in golf course development, the stories of individual black golfers during the age of segregation, the legal battle to integrate public golf courses, and the little-known history of the United Golfers Association (UGA)--a black golf tour that operated from 1925 to 1975. Lane Demas charts how African Americans nationwide organized social campaigns, filed lawsuits, and went to jail in order to desegregate courses; he also provides dramatic stories of golfers who boldly confronted wider segregation more broadly in their local communities. As national civil rights organizations debated golf's symbolism and whether or not to pursue the game's integration, black players and caddies took matters into their own hands and helped shape its subculture, while UGA participants forged one of the most durable black sporting organizations in American history as they fought to join the white Professional Golfers' Association (PGA).

From George F. Grant's invention of the golf tee in 1899 to the dominance of superstar Tiger Woods in the 1990s, this revelatory and comprehensive work challenges stereotypes and indeed the fundamental story of race and golf in American culture.

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Knocking on Labor’s Door

Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide

Lane Windham

The power of unions in workers' lives and in the American political system has declined dramatically since the 1970s. In recent years, many have argued that the crisis took root when unions stopped reaching out to workers and workers turned away from unions. But here Lane Windham tells a different story. Highlighting the integral, often-overlooked contributions of women, people of color, young workers, and southerners, Windham reveals how in the 1970s workers combined old working-class tools--like unions and labor law--with legislative gains from the civil and women's rights movements to help shore up their prospects. Through close-up studies of workers' campaigns in shipbuilding, textiles, retail, and service, Windham overturns widely held myths about labor's decline, showing instead how employers united to manipulate weak labor law and quash a new wave of worker organizing.

Recounting how employees attempted to unionize against overwhelming odds, Knocking on Labor's Door dramatically refashions the narrative of working-class struggle during a crucial decade and shakes up current debates about labor's future. Windham's story inspires both hope and indignation, and will become a must-read in labor, civil rights, and women's history.

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The Black Migrant Athlete

Media, Race, and the Diaspora in Sports

Munene Franjo Mwaniki

The popularity and globalization of sport have led to an ever-increasing migration of black athletes from the global South to the United States and Western Europe. While the hegemonic ideology surrounding sport is that it brings diverse people together and ameliorates social divisions, sociologists of sport have shown this to be a gross simplification. Instead, sport and its narratives often reinforce and re-create stereotypes and social boundaries, especially regarding race and the prowess and the position of the black athlete. Because sport is a contested terrain for maintaining and challenging racial norms and boundaries, the black athlete has always impacted popular (white) perceptions of blackness in a global manner.


The Black Migrant Athlete analyzes the construction of race in Western societies through a study of the black African migrant athlete. Munene Franjo Mwaniki presents ten black African migrant athletes as a conceptual starting point to interrogate the nuances of white supremacy and of the migrant and immigrant experience with a global perspective. By using celebrity athletes such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, and Catherine Ndereba as entry points into a global discourse, Mwaniki explores how these athletes are wrapped in social and cultural meanings by predominately white-owned and -dominated media organizations. Drawing from discourse analysis and cultural studies, Mwaniki examines the various power relations via media texts regarding race, gender, sexuality, class, and nationality.
 

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Small Axe

Vol. 5 (2001) through current issue

Small Axe focuses on the renewal of practices of intellectual criticism. It recognizes a tradition of social, political, and cultural criticism in and about regional/disasporic Caribbean and honors that tradition but also argues with it because it is through such argument that a tradition renews itself.

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Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International

Vol. 1 (2012) through current issue

Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes cutting-edge interdisciplinary scholarship and creative work by and about women of the African Diaspora and their communities in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.

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Transition

Issue 81&82 (2000) - 88 (2001); issue 93 (2002) through current issue

Transition is a unique forum for the freshest, most compelling ideas from and about the black world. Since its founding in Uganda in 1961, the magazine has kept apace of the rapid transformation of the African Diaspora and has remained a leading forum of intellectual debate. Transition is a publication of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, edited by Alejandro de la Fuente and published three times annually.

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Beyond Blaxploitation

Edited by Novotny Lawrence and Gerald R. Butters, Jr.

Beyond Blaxploitation, the first book-length anthology of scholarly work on blaxploitation film, sustains the momentum that blaxploitation scholarship has recently gained, giving the films an even more prominent place in cinema history. This volume is made up of eleven essays employing historical and theoretical methodologies in the examination of spectatorship, marketing, melodrama, the transition of novel to screenplay, and racial politics and identity, among other significant topics. The book fills a substantial gap that exists in the black cinematic narrative and, more broadly, in film history. Beyond Blaxploitation is divided into three sections that feature original essays on a variety of canonical blaxploitation films and others that either influenced the movement or in some form represent a significant extension of it. The first section titled, "From Pioneer to Precursor to Blaxploitation," centers on three films-Cotton Comes to Harlem, Watermelon Man, and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song-that ignited the African American film cycle. The second section, "The Canon and the Not so Canon," is dedicated to forging alternative considerations of some of the most highly regarded blaxploitation films, while also bringing attention to lesser-known films in the movement. The final section, "Was, Is, or Isn't Blaxploitation," includes four essays that offer significant insights on films that are generally associated with blaxploitation but contest traditional definitions of the movement. Moreover, this section features chapters that address industrial factors that led to the creation of blaxploitation cinema and highlight the limitations of the term itself. Beyond Blaxploitation is a much-needed pedagogical tool, informing film scholars, critics, and fans alike, about blaxploitation's richness and complexity.

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Black Women's Mental Health

Balancing Strength and Vulnerability

Stephanie Y. Evans

Creates a new framework for approaching Black women's wellness by merging theory and practice with both personal narratives and public policy.

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A Voice from the South

By a Black Woman of the South

Anna J. Cooper

Published in 1892, A Voice from the South is the only book published by one of the most prominent African American women scholars and educators of her era. Born a slave, Anna Julia Haywood Cooper would go on to become the fourth African American woman to earn a doctoral degree. Cooper became a prominent member of the black community in Washington, D.C., serving as principal at M Street High School, during which time she wrote A Voice from the South. In it, she engages a variety of issues, including women's rights, racial progress, segregation, and the education of black women. Cooper also discusses a number of authors and their representations of African Americans, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Albion Tourgee, George Washington Cable, William Dean Howells, and Maurice Thompson, reaching the conclusion that an accurate depiction had yet to be written.

A DOCSOUTH BOOK. This collaboration between UNC Press and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library brings classic works back into print. DocSouth Books editions are selected from the digital library of Documenting the American South and are unaltered from the original publication. The DocSouth series uses digital technology to offer e-books and print-on-demand publications, providing affordable and accessible editions to a new generation of scholars, students, and general readers.

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Condition Red

Essays, Interviews, and Commentaries

Yusef Komunyakaa; Edited by Radiclani Clytus

Condition Red collects writing by one of America’s most gifted and revered poets, Yusef Komunyakaa. While themes from his earlier prose collection, Blue Notes, run through Condition Red, this volume expresses a greater sense of urgency about the human condition and the role of the artist. Condition Red includes his powerful letter to Poetry magazine, asserting that “we writers (artists) cannot forget that we are responsible for what we conjure and embrace through language, whether in essays, novels, plays, poems, or songs.” Also included are essays and interviews on: coming home to Bogalusa, Louisiana; the influence of religion on black poetry; language and eroticism; the visual artist Floyd Tunson; and the poets Robert Hayden, Walt Whitman, Clarence Major, and Etheridge Knight. The book features an extended introduction by editor Radiclani Clytus, who concludes that “Condition Red issues readers much more than a critical warning; it reminds us that our innate cultural capacity for language is, and always has been, the sum total of that which defines us.”

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Congo Love Song

African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State

Ira Dworkin

In his 1903 hit "Congo Love Song," James Weldon Johnson recounts a sweet if seemingly generic romance between two young Africans. While the song's title may appear consistent with that narrative, it also invokes the site of King Leopold II of Belgium's brutal colonial regime at a time when African Americans were playing a central role in a growing Congo reform movement. In an era when popular vaudeville music frequently trafficked in racist language and imagery, "Congo Love Song" emerges as one example of the many ways that African American activists, intellectuals, and artists called attention to colonialism in Africa.

In this book, Ira Dworkin examines black Americans' long cultural and political engagement with the Congo and its people. Through studies of George Washington Williams, Booker T. Washington, Pauline Hopkins, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, and other figures, he brings to light a long-standing relationship that challenges familiar presumptions about African American commitments to Africa. Dworkin offers compelling new ways to understand how African American involvement in the Congo has helped shape anticolonialism, black aesthetics, and modern black nationalism.

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