1919, The Year of Racial Violence

1919, The Year of Racial Violence recounts African Americans’ brave stand against a cascade of mob attacks in the United States after World War I. The emerging New Negro identity, which prized unflinching resistance to second-class citizenship, further inspired veterans and their fellow black citizens. In city after city Washington, DC; Chicago; Charleston; and elsewhere black men and women took up arms to repel mobs that used lynching, assaults, and other forms of violence to protect white supremacy; yet, authorities blamed blacks for the violence, leading to mass arrests and misleading news coverage. Refusing to yield, African Americans sought accuracy and fairness in the courts of public opinion and the law. This is the first account of this three-front fight in the streets, in the press, and in the courts against mob violence during one of the worst years of racial conflict in U.S. history.”

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41 Shots . . . and Counting

When four New York City police officers killed Amadou Diallo in 1999, the forty-one shots they fired echoed loudly across the nation. In death, Diallo joined a long list of young men of color killed by police fire in cities and towns all across America. Through innuendos of criminality, many of these victims could be discredited and, by implication, held responsible for their own deaths. But Diallo was an innocent, a young West African immigrant doing nothing more suspicious than returning home to his Bronx apartment after working hard all day in the city. Protesters took to the streets, successfully demanding that the four white officers be brought to trial. When the officers were acquitted, however, horrified onlookers of all races and ethnicities despaired of justice.In 41 Shots . . . and Counting, Beth Roy offers an oral history of Diallo’s death. Through interviews with members of the community, with police officers and lawyers, with government officials and mothers of young men in jeopardy, the book traces the political and racial dynamics that placed the officers outside Diallo’s house that night, their fingers on symbolic as well as actual triggers. With lucid analysis, Roy explores events in the courtroom, in city hall, in the streets, and in the police precinct, revealing the interlacing conflict dynamics. 41 Shots . . . and Counting allows the reader to consider the implications of the Diallo case for our national discourses on politics, race, class, crime, and social justice.

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A Black Man in the White House

In this book Cornell Belcher, award-winning pollster who twice served on President Barack Obama’s presidential election team, presents stunning new research that illuminates just how deep and jagged these racial fault lines continue to be. He has surveyed battleground voters from 2008 through the 2016 primary season tracking racial aversion and its impact over the course of the Obama presidency. Given the heightened racial aversion as a consequence of the first non-white male living in the White House, the rise of Trump was a predictable backlash. The election of the nation’s first Black president does not mean that we live in a post-racial society; it means that we are now at a critical historical tipping point demographically and culturally in America–and this tipping point is indeed the wolf at the door for many anxious white Americans who are now politically behaving accordingly given this perceived threat.The panicked response of the waning white majority to what they perceive as the catastrophe of a Black president can be heard in every cry to “take back our country.” This panic has resulted in the elevation of an overt and unapologetic racist as the nominee of one of America’s major political parties.

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A Chosen Exile

Between the eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, countless African Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community. It was, as Allyson Hobbs writes, a chosen exile, a separation from one racial identity and the leap into another. This revelatory history of passing explores the possibilities and challenges that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions. It also tells a tale of loss.As racial relations in America have evolved so has the significance of passing. To pass as white in the antebellum South was to escape the shackles of slavery. After emancipation, many African Americans came to regard passing as a form of betrayal, a selling of one s birthright. When the initially hopeful period of Reconstruction proved short-lived, passing became an opportunity to defy Jim Crow and strike out on one s own.Although black Americans who adopted white identities reaped benefits of expanded opportunity and mobility, Hobbs helps us to recognize and understand the grief, loneliness, and isolation that accompanied and often outweighed these rewards. By the dawning of the civil rights era, more and more racially mixed Americans felt the loss of kin and community was too much to bear, that it was time to pass out and embrace a black identity. Although recent decades have witnessed an increasingly multiracial society and a growing acceptance of hybridity, the problem of race and identity remains at the center of public debate and emotionally fraught personal decisions.”

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A Class of Their Own

In this major undertaking, civil rights historian Adam Fairclough chronicles the odyssey of black teachers in the South from emancipation in 1865 to integration one hundred years later. No book until now has provided us with the full story of what African American teachers tried, achieved, and failed to do in educating the Southern black population over this critical century.This magisterial narrative offers a bold new vision of black teachers, built from the stories of real men and women, from teachers in one-room shacks to professors in red brick universities. Fairclough explores how teachers inspired and motivated generations of children, instilling values and knowledge that nourished racial pride and a desire for equality. At the same time, he shows that they were not just educators, but also missionaries, politicians, community leaders, and racial diplomats. Black teachers had to negotiate constantly between the white authorities who held the purse strings and the black community’s grassroots resistance to segregated standards and white power. Teachers were part of, but also apart from, the larger black population. Often ignored, and occasionally lambasted, by both whites and blacks, teachers were tireless foot soldiers in the long civil rights struggle.Despite impossible odds–discrimination, neglect, sometimes violence–black teachers engaged in a persistent and ultimately heroic struggle to make education a means of liberation. A Class of Their Own is indispensable for understanding how blacks and whites interacted and coexisted after the abolition of slavery, and how black communities developed and coped with the challenges of freedom and oppression.

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A Dying Colonialism

An incisive and illuminating account of how, during the Algerian Revolution, the people of Algeria changed centuries-old cultural patterns and embraced certain ancient cultural practices long derided by their colonialist oppressors as primitive, in order to destroy those same oppressors. Fanon uses the fifth year of the Algerian Revolution as a point of departure for an explication of the inevitable dynamics of colonial oppression. Fanon uses the fifth year of the Algerian Revolution as a point of departure for an explication of the inevitable dynamics of colonial oppression.

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A Forgotten Sisterhood

Emerging from the darkness of the slave era and Reconstruction, black activist women Lucy Craft Laney, Mary McLeod Bethune, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Nannie Helen Burroughs founded schools aimed at liberating African-American youth from disadvantaged futures in the segregated and decidedly unequal South. From the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries, these individuals fought discrimination as members of a larger movement of black women who uplifted future generations through a focus on education, social service, and cultural transformation. Born free, but with the shadow of the slave past still implanted in their consciousness, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs built off each other’s successes and learned from each other’s struggles as administrators, lecturers, and suffragists. Drawing from the women’s own letters and writings about educational methods and from remembrances of surviving students, Audrey Thomas McCluskey reveals the pivotal significance of this sisterhood’s legacy for later generations and for the institution of education itself.

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A Formula for Eradicating Racism

In their new book, A Formula for Eradicating Racism, Professors Tim McGettigan and Earl Smith spell out a practical plan to end racism. The authors demonstrate that racism is a type of undemocratic social architecture that Americans can construct and dismantle by choice. McGettigan and Smith argue that, early in its history, the US intentionally dehumanized people of color so that white invaders could plunder the western hemisphere without moral qualms. Technically speaking, a crime is not a crime if it’s committed against people who are defined as sub-humans. The most glaring example of democratic dehumanization is the 3/5 Compromise which, even to this day, fractionates the perceived merit of African Americans. In addition, the US denaturalized Indigenous Peoples, Hispanics, Asians and every other person of color via the Naturalization Act of 1790 — which established that only free whites could be US citizens. Subsequently, the US has treated people of color like wartime enemies. The US still enthusiastically celebrates continent-wide genocide under the sacred banner of Manifest Destiny. Though it will never be possible to right such monumental wrongs, McGettigan and Smith maintain that the US can still dismantle America’s architecture of racism. The US can re-humanize all those it has callously dehumanized by erasing the 3/5 Compromise and rescinding every other law, policy, superstition and practice which suggests that people of color are anything but 100% bona fide human beings.

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