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Radical Sensations by Shelley Streeby Book Summary:
The significant anarchist, black, and socialist world-movements that emerged in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth adapted discourses of sentiment and sensation and used the era's new forms of visual culture to move people to participate in projects of social, political, and economic transformation. Drawing attention to the vast archive of images and texts created by radicals prior to the 1930s, Shelley Streeby analyses representations of violence and of abuses of state power in response to the Haymarket police riot, of the trial and execution of the Chicago anarchists, and of the mistreatment and imprisonment of Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón and other members of the Partido Liberal Mexicano. She considers radicals' reactions to and depictions of U.S. imperialism, state violence against the Yaqui Indians in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the failure of the United States to enact laws against lynching, and the harsh repression of radicals that accelerated after the United States entered the First World War. By focusing on the adaptation and critique of sentiment, sensation, and visual culture by radical world-movements in the period between the Haymarket riots of 1886 and the deportation of Marcus Garvey in 1927, Streeby sheds new light on the ways that these movements reached across national boundaries, criticized state power, and envisioned alternative worlds.
The Radical Reader by Timothy McCarthy,John McMillian Book Summary:
Radicalism is as American as apple pie. One can scarcely imagine what American society would look like without the abolitionists, feminists, socialists, union organizers, civil-rights workers, gay and lesbian activists, and environmentalists who have fought stubbornly to breathe life into the promises of freedom and equality that lie at the heart of American democracy. The first anthology of its kind, The Radical Reader brings together more than 200 primary documents in a comprehensive collection of the writings of America’s native radical tradition. Spanning the time from the colonial period to the twenty-first century, the documents have been drawn from a wealth of sources—speeches, manifestos, newspaper editorials, literature, pamphlets, and private letters. From Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” to Kate Millett’s “Sexual Politics,” these are the documents that sparked, guided, and distilled the most influential movements in American history. Brief introductory essays by the editors provide a rich biographical and historical context for each selection included.
Escape from New York by Davarian L. Baldwin,Minkah Makalani Book Summary:
In the midst of vast cultural and political shifts in the early twentieth century, politicians and cultural observers variously hailed and decried the rise of the “New Negro.” This phenomenon was most clearly manifest in the United States through the outpouring of Black arts and letters and social commentary known as the Harlem Renaissance. What is less known is how far afield of Harlem that renaissance flourished—how much the New Negro movement was actually just one part of a collective explosion of political protest, cultural expression, and intellectual debate all over the world. In this volume, the Harlem Renaissance “escapes from New York” into its proper global context. These essays recover the broader New Negro experience as social movements, popular cultures, and public behavior spanned the globe from New York to New Orleans, from Paris to the Philippines and beyond. Escape from New York does not so much map the many sites of this early twentieth-century Black internationalism as it draws attention to how New Negroes and their global allies already lived. Resituating the Harlem Renaissance, the book stresses the need for scholarship to catch up with the historical reality of the New Negro experience. This more comprehensive vision serves as a lens through which to better understand capitalist developments, imperial expansions, and the formation of brave new worlds in the early twentieth century. Contributors: Anastasia Curwood, Vanderbilt U; Frank A. Guridy, U of Texas at Austin; Claudrena Harold, U of Virginia; Jeannette Eileen Jones, U of Nebraska–Lincoln; Andrew W. Kahrl, Marquette U; Shannon King, College of Wooster; Charlie Lester; Thabiti Lewis, Washington State U, Vancouver; Treva Lindsey, U of Missouri–Columbia; David Luis-Brown, Claremont Graduate U; Emily Lutenski, Saint Louis U; Mark Anthony Neal, Duke U; Yuichiro Onishi, U of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Theresa Runstedtler, U at Buffalo (SUNY); T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Vanderbilt U; Michelle Stephens, Rutgers U, New Brunswick; Jennifer M. Wilks, U of Texas at Austin; Chad Williams, Brandeis U.
Reframing Randolph by Andrew E. Kersten,Clarence Lang Book Summary:
"Foreword / Arlene Holt Baker -- A reintroduction to Asa Philip Randolph / Andrew E. Kersten and Clarence Lang -- Researching Randolph: Shifting historiographic perspectives / Joe William Trotter, Jr. -- A. Philip Randolph: emerging socialist radical / Eric Arnesen -- Keeping his faith: A. Philip Randolph's working-class religion / Cynthia Taylor -- Brotherhood men and singing Slackers: A. Philip Randolph's rhetoric of music and manhood / Robert Hawkins -- The spirit and strategy of the United Front: Randolph and the National Negro Congress, 1936-1940 / Erik S. Gellman -- Organizing gender: A. Philip Randolph and women activists / Melinda Chateauvert -- Beyond A. Philip Randolph: Grassroots protest and the March on Washington Movement / David Lucander -- The "Void at the Center of the Story": The Negro American Labor Council and the long civil rights movement / William P. Jones -- No exit: A. Philip Randolph and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis / Jerald Podair.
Hubert Harrison by Jeffrey B. Perry Book Summary:
Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) was a brilliant writer, orator, educator, critic, and activist who combined class consciousness and anti-white-supremacist race consciousness into a potent political radicalism. In this second volume of his acclaimed biography, Jeffrey B. Perry traces the final decade of Harrison's life, from 1918 to 1927.
Eugene O'Neill by Robert M. Dowling Book Summary:
An “absorbing” biography of the playwright and Nobel laureate that “unflinchingly explores the darkness that dominated O’Neill’s life” (Publishers Weekly). This extraordinary biography fully captures the intimacies of Eugene O’Neill’s tumultuous life and the profound impact of his work on American drama, innovatively highlighting how the stories he told for the stage interweave with his actual life stories as well as the culture and history of his time. Much is new in this extensively researched book: connections between O’Neill’s plays and his political and philosophical worldview; insights into his Irish American upbringing and lifelong torment over losing faith in God; his vital role in African American cultural history; unpublished photographs, including a unique offstage picture of him with his lover Louise Bryant; new evidence of O’Neill’s desire to become a novelist and what this reveals about his unique dramatic voice; and a startling revelation about the release of Long Day’s Journey Into Night in defiance of his explicit instructions. This biography is also the first to discuss O’Neill’s lost play Exorcism (a single copy of which was only recently recovered), a dramatization of his own suicide attempt. Written with both a lively informality and a scholar’s strict accuracy, Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts is a biography worthy of America’s foremost playwright. “Fast-paced, highly readable . . . building to a devastating last act.” —Irish Times
Whiting Up by Marvin McAllister Book Summary:
In the early 1890s, black performer Bob Cole turned blackface minstrelsy on its head with his nationally recognized whiteface creation, a character he called Willie Wayside. Just over a century later, hiphop star Busta Rhymes performed a whiteface supercop in his hit music video "Dangerous." In this sweeping work, Marvin McAllister explores the enduring tradition of "whiting up," in which African American actors, comics, musicians, and even everyday people have studied and assumed white racial identities. Not to be confused with racial "passing" or derogatory notions of "acting white," whiting up is a deliberate performance strategy designed to challenge America's racial and political hierarchies by transferring supposed markers of whiteness to black bodies--creating unexpected intercultural alliances even as it sharply critiques racial stereotypes. Along with conventional theater, McAllister considers a variety of other live performance modes, including weekly promenading rituals, antebellum cakewalks, solo performance, and standup comedy. For over three centuries, whiting up as allowed African American artists to appropriate white cultural production, fashion new black identities through these "white" forms, and advance our collective ability to locate ourselves in others.
1919, The Year of Racial Violence by David F. Krugler Book Summary:
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 US history.
Lost Battalions by Richard Slotkin Book Summary:
"A work of stunning density and penetrating analysis . . . Lost Battalions deploys a narrative symmetry of gratifying complexity."—David Levering Lewis, The Nation During the bloodiest days of World War I, no soldiers served more valiantly than the African American troops of the 369th Infantry—the fabled Harlem Hellfighters—and the legendary 77th "lost battalion" composed of New York City immigrants. Though these men had lived up to their side of the bargain as loyal American soldiers, the country to which they returned solidified laws and patterns of social behavior that had stigmatized them as second-class citizens. Richard Slotkin takes the pulse of a nation struggling with social inequality during a decisive historical moment, juxtaposing social commentary with battle scenes that display the bravery and solidarity of these men. Enduring grueling maneuvers, and the loss of so many of their brethren, the soldiers in the lost battalions were forever bound by their wartime experience. Both a riveting combat narrative and a brilliant social history, Lost Battalions delivers a richly detailed account of the fierce fight for equality in the shadow of a foreign war.
Radical Moves by Lara Putnam Book Summary:
In the generations after emancipation, hundreds of thousands of African-descended working-class men and women left their homes in the British Caribbean to seek opportunity abroad: in the goldfields of Venezuela and the cane fields of Cuba, the canal construction in Panama, and the bustling city streets of Brooklyn. But in the 1920s and 1930s, racist nativism and a brutal cascade of antiblack immigration laws swept the hemisphere. Facing borders and barriers as never before, Afro-Caribbean migrants rethought allegiances of race, class, and empire. In Radical Moves, Lara Putnam takes readers from tin-roof tropical dancehalls to the elegant black-owned ballrooms of Jazz Age Harlem to trace the roots of the black-internationalist and anticolonial movements that would remake the twentieth century. From Trinidad to 136th Street, these were years of great dreams and righteous demands. Praying or "jazzing," writing letters to the editor or letters home, Caribbean men and women tried on new ideas about the collective. The popular culture of black internationalism they created--from Marcus Garvey's UNIA to "regge" dances, Rastafarianism, and Joe Louis's worldwide fandom--still echoes in the present.
Race War! by Gerald Horne Book Summary:
Japan’s lightning march across Asia during World War II was swift and brutal. Nation after nation fell to Japanese soldiers. How were the Japanese able to justify their occupation of so many Asian nations? And how did they find supporters in countries they subdued and exploited? Race War! delves into submerged and forgotten history to reveal how European racism and colonialism were deftly exploited by the Japanese to create allies among formerly colonized people of color. Through interviews and original archival research on five continents, Gerald Horne shows how race played a key—and hitherto ignored—;role in each phase of the war. During the conflict, the Japanese turned white racism on its head portraying the war as a defense against white domination in the Pacific. We learn about the reverse racial hierarchy practiced by the Japanese internment camps, in which whites were placed at the bottom of the totem pole, under the supervision of Chinese, Korean, and Indian guards—an embarrassing example of racial payback that was downplayed by the defeated Japanese and the humiliated Europeans and Euro-Americans. Focusing on the microcosmic example of Hong Kong but ranging from colonial India to New Zealand and the shores of the U.S., Gerald Horne radically retells the story of the war. From racist U.S. propaganda to Black Nationalist open support of Imperial Japan, information about the effect of race on U.S. and British policy is revealed for the first time. This revisionist account of the war draws connections between General Tojo, Malaysian freedom fighters, and Elijah Muhammed of the Nation of Islam and shows how white racism encouraged and enabled Japanese imperialism. In sum, Horne demonstrates that the retreat of white supremacy was not only driven by the impact of the Cold War and the energized militancy of Africans and African-Americans but by the impact of the Pacific War as well, as a chastened U.S. and U.K. moved vigorously after this conflict to remove the conditions that made Japan's success possible.
Against Wind and Tide by Ousmane K. Power-Greene Book Summary:
Against Wind and Tide tells the story of African American’s battle against the American Colonization Society (ACS), founded in 1816 with the intention to return free blacks to its colony Liberia. Although ACS members considered free black colonization in Africa a benevolent enterprise, most black leaders rejected the ACS, fearing that the organization sought forced removal. As Ousmane K. Power-Greene’s story shows, these African American anticolonizationists did not believe Liberia would ever be a true “black American homeland.” In this study of anticolonization agitation, Power-Greene draws on newspapers, meeting minutes, and letters to explore the concerted effort on the part of nineteenth century black activists, community leaders, and spokespersons to challenge the American Colonization Society’s attempt to make colonization of free blacks federal policy. The ACS insisted the plan embodied empowerment. The United States, they argued, would never accept free blacks as citizens, and the only solution to the status of free blacks was to create an autonomous nation that would fundamentally reject racism at its core. But the activists and reformers on the opposite side believed that the colonization movement was itself deeply racist and in fact one of the greatest obstacles for African Americans to gain citizenship in the United States. Power-Greene synthesizes debates about colonization and emigration, situating this complex and enduring issue into an ever broader conversation about nation building and identity formation in the Atlantic world.
Spectres of 1919 by Barbara Foley Book Summary:
With the New Negro movement and the Harlem Renaissance, the 1920s was a landmark decade in African American political and cultural history, characterized by an upsurge in racial awareness and artistic creativity. In Spectres of 1919 Barbara Foley traces the origins of this revolutionary era to the turbulent year 1919, identifying the events and trends in American society that spurred the black community to action and examining the forms that action took as it evolved. Unlike prior studies of the Harlem Renaissance, which see 1919 as significant mostly because of the geographic migrations of blacks to the North, Spectres of 1919 looks at that year as the political crucible from which the radicalism of the 1920s emerged. Foley draws from a wealth of primary sources, taking a bold new approach to the origins of African American radicalism and adding nuance and complexity to the understanding of a fascinating and vibrant era.