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Black Music Research Journal

Vol. 30 (2010) through current issue

Black Music Research Journal includes articles about the philosophy, aesthetics, history, and criticism of black music. BMRJ is an official journal of the Center for Black Music Research and is published by the University of Illinois Press.

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Black Post-Blackness

The Black Arts Movement and Twenty-First-Century Aesthetics

A 2008 cover of The New Yorker featured a much-discussed Black Power parody of Michelle and Barack Obama. The image put a spotlight on how easy it is to flatten the Black Power movement as we imagine new types of blackness. Margo Natalie Crawford argues that we have misread the Black Arts Movement's call for blackness. We have failed to see the movement's anticipation of the "new black" and "post-black." Black Post-Blackness compares the black avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s Black Arts Movement with the most innovative spins of twenty-first century black aesthetics. Crawford zooms in on the 1970s second wave of the Black Arts Movement and shows the connections between this final wave of the Black Arts movement and the early years of twenty-first century black aesthetics. She uncovers the circle of black post-blackness that pivots on the power of anticipation, abstraction, mixed media, the global South, satire, public interiority, and the fantastic.

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Black Power on Campus

The University of Illinois, 1965-75

Joy Ann WIlliamson

Joy Ann Williamson charts the evolution of black consciousness on predominately white American campuses during the critical period between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, with the Black student movement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign serving as an illuminating microcosm of similar movements across the country. Nationwide black student college enrollment doubled from 1964 to 1970, with the greatest increase occurring at mostly white universities. As Williamson shows, however, increased admission did not bring with it increased acceptance. Confronted with institutional apathy or even hostility, African Americans began organizing. Drawing on student publications of the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as interviews with former administrators, faculty, and student activists, Williamson discusses the emergence of Black Power ideology, what constitutes “blackness,� and notions of self-advancement versus racial solidarity. Promoting an understanding of social protest and measuring the impact of black student activism on an American university, Black Power on Campus is an important contribution to the broader literature on African American liberation movements, the role of black youth in protest movements, and the reform of American higher education.

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Black Revolutionary

William Patterson and the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle

Gerald Horne

A leading African American Communist, lawyer William L. Patterson (1891–1980) was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the defeat of Jim Crow by virtue of his leadership of the Scottsboro campaign in the 1930s. In this watershed biography, historian Gerald Horne shows how Patterson helped to advance African American equality by fostering and leveraging international support for the movement. Horne highlights key moments in Patterson's global activism: his early education in the Soviet Union, his involvement with the Scottsboro trials and other high-profile civil rights cases of the 1930s to 1950s, his 1951 We Charge Genocide petition to the United Nations, and his later work with prisons and the Black Panther Party. Through Patterson's story, Horne examines how the Cold War affected the freedom movement, with civil rights leadership sometimes disavowing African American leftists in exchange for concessions from the U.S. government. He also probes the complex and often contradictory relationship between the Communist Party and the African American community, including the impact of the FBI's infiltration of the Communist Party. Drawing from government and FBI documents, newspapers, periodicals, archival and manuscript collections, and personal papers, Horne documents Patterson's effectiveness at carrying the freedom struggle into the global arena and provides a fresh perspective on twentieth-century struggles for racial justice.

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Black Star

African American Activism in the International Political Economy

Ramla M. Bandele

This book describes how the first African American mass political organization was able to gain support from throughout the African diaspora to finance the Black Star Line, a black merchant marine that would form the basis of an enclave economy after World War I. Ramla M. Bandele explores the concept of diaspora itself and how it has been applied to the study of emigre and other ethnic networks. _x000B__x000B_In characterizing the historical and political context of the Black Star Line, Bandele analyzes the international political economy during 1919-25 and considers the black politics of the era, focusing particularly on Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association for its creation of the Black Star Line. She offers an in-depth case study of the Black Star Line as an instance of the African diaspora attempting to link communities and carry out a transnational political and economic project. Arguing that ethnic networks can be legitimate actors in international politics and economics, Bandele also suggests, however, that activists in any given diaspora do not always function as a unit._x000B_

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Black Women and Politics in New York City

Julie A. Gallagher

Julie A. Gallagher documents six decades of politically active black women in New York City who waged struggles for justice, rights, and equality not through grassroots activism but through formal politics. In tracing the paths of black women activists from women's clubs and civic organizations to national politics--including appointments to presidential commissions, congressional offices, and even a presidential candidacy--Gallagher also articulates the vision of politics the women developed and its influence on the Democratic party and its policies. Deftly examining how race, gender, and the structure of the state itself shape outcomes, she exposes the layers of power and discrimination at work in all sectors of U.S. society.

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Black Women, Gender & Families

Vol. 3 (2009) - vol. 6 (2012)

Black Women, Gender & Families analyzes, develops, and furthers Black Women's Studies paradigms. It centers the study of Black women and gender within the critical discourses of history, the social sciences, and the humanities. Second, this journal provides an Africana/Black Studies and Women's Studies cross-field and interdisciplinary venue for Black womanist and Black feminist theories, methodologies, and analyses. Third, it more fully integrates gender as an analytic category, and strengthens Black Women's Studies as a paradigm for studying black women, gender, families, and communities—especially policy-related issues within the broader disciplines of Black Studies and Women's Studies. Fourth, this journal provides the space for interdisciplinary, comparative/transnational studies of Global Africa/the African Diaspora and other women, families, and communities of color, using Black Women's Studies frameworks.

BWGF is peer-reviewed and published in collaboration with the African American Studies and Research Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Blackness in Opera

Edited by Naomi André, Karen M. Bryan, and Eric Saylor

Blackness in Opera critically examines the intersections of race and music in the multifaceted genre of opera. A diverse cross-section of scholars places well-known operas (Porgy and Bess, Aida, Treemonisha) alongside lesser-known works such as Frederick Delius's Koanga, William Grant Still's Blue Steel, and Clarence Cameron White's Ouanga! to reveal a new historical context for re-imagining race and blackness in opera. The volume brings a wide-ranging, theoretically informed, interdisciplinary approach to questions about how blackness has been represented in these operas, issues surrounding characterization of blacks, interpretation of racialized roles by blacks and whites, controversies over race in the theatre and the use of blackface, and extensions of blackness along the spectrum from grand opera to musical theatre and film. In addition to essays by scholars, the book also features reflections by renowned American tenor George Shirley._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Naomi Andre, Melinda Boyd, Gwynne Kuhner Brown, Karen M. Bryan, Melissa J. de Graaf, Christopher R. Gauthier, Jennifer McFarlane-Harris, Gayle Murchison, Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr., Eric Saylor, Sarah Schmalenberger, Ann Sears, George Shirley, and Jonathan O. Wipplinger.

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Bloomer Girls

Women Baseball Pioneers

Disapproving scolds. Sexist condescension. Odd theories about the effect of exercise on reproductive organs. Though baseball began as a gender-neutral sport, girls and women of the nineteenth century faced many obstacles on their way to the diamond. Yet all-female nines took the field everywhere. Debra A. Shattuck pulls from newspaper accounts and hard-to-find club archives to reconstruct a forgotten era in baseball history. Her fascinating social history tracks women players who organized baseball clubs for their own enjoyment and found roster spots on men's teams. Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, packaged women's teams as entertainment, organizing leagues and barnstorming tours. If the women faced financial exploitation and indignities like playing against men in women's clothing, they and countless ballplayers like them nonetheless staked a claim to the nascent national pastime. Shattuck explores how the determination to take their turn at bat thrust female players into narratives of the women's rights movement and transformed perceptions of women's physical and mental capacity.

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Blue Rhythm Fantasy

Big Band Jazz Arranging in the Swing Era

John Wriggle

Behind the iconic jazz orchestras, vocalists, and stage productions of the Swing Era lay the talents of popular music's unsung heroes: the arrangers. John Wriggle takes you behind the scenes of New York City's vibrant entertainment industry of the 1930s and 1940s to uncover the lives and work of jazz arrangers, both black and white, who left an indelible mark on American music and culture. Blue Rhythm Fantasy traces the extraordinary career of arranger Chappie Willet--a collaborator of Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa, and many others--to revisit legendary Swing Era venues and performers from Harlem to Times Square. Wriggle's insightful music analyses of big band arranging techniques explore representations of cultural modernism, discourses on art and commercialism, conceptions of race and cultural identity, music industry marketing strategies, and stage entertainment variety genres. Drawing on archives, obscure recordings, untapped sources in the African American press, and interviews with participants, Blue Rhythm Fantasy is a long-overdue study of the arranger during this dynamic era of American music history.

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