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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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Boycotts, Buses, and Passes: Black Women's Resistance in the U.S. South and South Africa

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Boycotts, Buses, and Passes: Black Women's Resistance in the U.S. South and South Africa Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"While Mandela and King were the most visible leaders of black freedom movements in South Africa and the U.S., Pamela Brooks suggests looking not at how the men made the movements but how the movements made the men. In her view, they were movements constituted in good measure by women. Her history of the liberation struggles identifies an incipient feminism in which black women demanded equality with men, respect in their workplaces and economic security for their children." Premilla Nadasen, Ms. magazine (read the entire Ms. review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the mid-1950s, as many developing nations sought independence from colonial rule, black women in the American South and in South Africa launched parallel campaigns to end racial injustice within their respective communities. Just as the dignified obstinacy of Mrs. Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, the 20,000 South African women who marched in Pretoria a year later to protest the pass laws signaled a new wave of resistance to the system of apartheid. In both places women who had previously been consigned to subordinate roles brought fresh leadership to the struggle for political freedom and social equality. In this book, Pamela E. Brooks tells their story, documenting the extraordinary achievements of otherwise ordinary women.

In comparing the experiences of black women activists in two different parts of the African diaspora, Brooks draws heavily on oral histories that provide clear, and often painful, insight into their backgrounds, their motives, their hopes, and their fears. We learn how black women from all walks of life — domestic and factory workers, householders, teachers, union organizers, churchwomen, clubwomen, rural and urban dwellers alike — had to overcome their class differences and work through the often difficult gender relations within their families and communities. Yet eventually they came together to forge their own political organizations, such as the Women's Political Council and the Federation of South African Women, or joined organizations of women and men, such as the Montgomery Improvement Association and the African National Congress, to advance the common agenda of black liberation.

By tracing the dual rise of political consciousness and activism among the black women of the U.S. South and South Africa, Brooks not only illuminates patterns that have long been overlooked but places that shared history within the context of a larger global struggle to bring an end to the vestiges of European colonialism.

Review:

"A very ambitious project elegantly and sensitively written....One of the more useful things Brooks provides is a slew of oral history interviews that she undertook to document the ordinariness of women's lives and how they made choices based on their visions of justice and equality. These interviews are crucial in the preservation of these women's stories and legacies, and they provide the rich substance of the book." Françoise N. Hamlin, Brown University

Book News Annotation:

Brooks (African American studies, Oberlin College) recounts the parallel stories of women's resistance to racial injustice in the American South and South Africa. In doing so, she addresses historical gaps and neglect in recognizing the political agency of black women, as well as how their actions helped to achieve global racial equality. She conducted 40 interviews between 1995 and 2006 with 35 women, weaving their stories with the history of nineteenth and early-twentieth century struggles and resistance through churches, unions, schools, and clubs, which led up to the mass demonstrations of the 1950s, most notably bus boycotts. She also describes other activities, such as home missionary groups, that were foundations to the political organizing. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Pamela E. Brooks is associate professor of African American studies at Oberlin College.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781558496781
Author:
Brooks, Pamela E.
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Subject:
Blacks
Subject:
History
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
Women's Studies - History
Subject:
United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
Africa - South - Republic of South Africa
Subject:
Southern States Race relations History.
Subject:
Civil rights movements -- Southern States.
Subject:
Gender Studies-General
Subject:
Gender Studies-Womens Studies
Publication Date:
20081231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.00x6.00x.90 in. 1.05 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Africa » South Africa
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » Africa
History and Social Science » World History » General
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Boycotts, Buses, and Passes: Black Women's Resistance in the U.S. South and South Africa New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages University of Massachusetts Press - English 9781558496781 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "While Mandela and King were the most visible leaders of black freedom movements in South Africa and the U.S., Pamela Brooks suggests looking not at how the men made the movements but how the movements made the men. In her view, they were movements constituted in good measure by women. Her history of the liberation struggles identifies an incipient feminism in which black women demanded equality with men, respect in their workplaces and economic security for their children." (read the entire Ms. review)
"Review" by , "A very ambitious project elegantly and sensitively written....One of the more useful things Brooks provides is a slew of oral history interviews that she undertook to document the ordinariness of women's lives and how they made choices based on their visions of justice and equality. These interviews are crucial in the preservation of these women's stories and legacies, and they provide the rich substance of the book."
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