Synopses & Reviews
and#147;Finally! A book that clarifies the history of our movement, our aspirations, our struggles, and the bitter challenges we faced. This is a profoundly important and revealing work. Everyone who lived through these events, anyone who wants to understand the Black Panther Party, and especially the younger generations striving to shape the future, must read this book!and#8221;and#151;Bobby Seale, Chairman, Black Panther Party
and#147;This is the definitive history of one of the great revolutionary organizations in the history of this country. In this age of the Occupy Movement, let us learn deep democratic lessons and strong anti-imperial conclusions from this magisterial book!and#8221;and#151;Cornel West, author of Race Matters
and#147;This meticulously researched history explores the combination of revolutionary commitment and historical circumstance that enabled the emergence of the Black Panther Party. Because they do not shy away from the contradictions that animated this movement, Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin pose crucial questions about the genesis, rise, and decline of the BPP that are as relevant to young generations of activists as they are to those who came of age during that era.and#8221; and#151;Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz
and#147;In a stunning historical account, Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin map the complex trajectory of the ideology and practice of the Black Panther Party. Going beyond merely chronicling and#145;what happened,and#8217; the authors situate the rise and fall of the Panthers within the prevailing, and constantly shifting, political climate at home and abroad. Much has been written about the Party, but Black against Empire is the definitive history of the Panthersand#151;one that helps us rethink the very meaning of a revolutionary movement.and#8221;and#151;Michael Omi, co-author of Racial Formation in the United States
and#147;As important as the Black Panthers were to the evolution of black power, the African American freedom struggle, and, indeed, the sixties as a whole, scholarship on the group has been surprisingly thin and all too often polemical. Certainly no definitive scholarly account of the Panthers has been produced to date, or rather had been produced to date. Bloom and Martin can now lay claim to that honor. This is, by a wide margin, the most detailed, analytically sophisticated, and balanced account of the organization yet written. Anyone who hopes to understand the group and its impact on American culture and politics will need to read this book.and#8221;and#151;Doug McAdam, author of Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930-1970
and#147;This is the book weand#8217;ve all been waiting for: the first complete history of the Black Panther Party, devoid of the hype, the nonsense, the one-dimensional heroes and villains, the myths, or the tunnel vision that has limited scholarly and popular treatments across the ideological spectrum. Bloom and Martinand#8217;s riveting, nuanced, and highly original account revises our understanding of the partyand#8217;s size, scope, ideology, and political complexity, and offers the most compelling explanations for its ebbs and flows and ultimate demise. Moreover, they reveal with spectacular clarity that the Partyand#8217;s primary target was not just police brutality or urban poverty or white supremacy but U.S. Empire in all of its manifestations.and#8221;and#151;Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
and#147;Black against Empire puts the Black Panthers in dialogue with the varieties of political unrest across the country. Through a fresh analytical framework that helps us understand the revolutionary fervor of the 1960s, Bloom and Martin make clear that the Panthers were not an aberration or figment of the popular imaginary. They were the vanguard among black people seeking a way out of nowhere.and#8221;and#151;Jane Rhodes, author of Framing the Black Panthers: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon
and#147;The remarkable history of the Black Panther Partyand#151;battles with the police, its repression at the hands of the FBI, its breakfast-for-children and sickle-cell anemia programs, its ability to distribute 100,000 newspapers by hand each weekand#151;is in danger of being blotted from memory, or distorted to demonize them, while others try to preserve only a glorified legacy. This history by Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin, based mainly on historical documents, is remarkable in the scope of its narrative and attention to detail. As one who lived through the Panther era, I believe this book should become a standard historical work for years to come.and#8221; and#151;Tom Hayden, author of The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama
and#147;Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr., have written the first comprehensive political history of the Black Panther Party. They present an unvarnished, judicious treatment of a much revered, much maligned, and widely misunderstood revolutionary organization leading the charge for and#145;Black Powerand#8217; in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They provide persuasive answers to questions about the Partyand#8217;s rise and fall that others have failed to fully address. All other scholars will henceforth have to grapple with their substantial findings. General readers will find it compelling too.and#8221; and#151;Tera Hunter, Professor of History and African American Studies, Princeton University
"An essential, deeply researched, and insightful studyand#151;the best so farand#151;of the complex history, inner workings, and conflicted legacy of the Black Panther Party as it waged its relentless battle for human rights and racial dignity in the streets of urban America.and#8221; and#151;Leon F. Litwack, President, Organization of American Historians
and#147;Bloom and Martin bring to light an important chapter in American history. They carefully mine the archival data to give us an account of the rise of the Black Panther Party, of its successes and the shoals of American politics on which it fractured. In the process they give full credit to the strategic agency of the remarkable revolutionaries at the center of the story.and#8221; and#151;Frances Fox Piven, President, American Sociological Association
and#8220;There have been at least a half dozen books and films by former Panthers, or about them, over the last decade. and#8216;Black Against Empire,and#8217; however, is unique among them in the scope and depth of its scholarship.and#8221;
and#8220;Vivid renderings of scene make this scholarly tome thoroughly accessible; a and#8220;you are thereand#8221; tone adds immediacy to the ideological concerns underpinning Black Panther Party history. . . . [the authors] make comprehensible both the movement and the times.and#8221; STARRED REVIEW
and#8220;A comprehensive and compelling history of the Black Panther Party . . . it is the book I would recommend to anyone wanting to read just one book about the Black Panthers.and#8221;
and#8220;Twelve years of archival research helped the authors produce this first comprehensive book on the Black Panther Party, its members, its leaders, and its resistance to the politics of the American government.and#8221;
and#8220;Lets you understand what happenedand#8212;and why.and#8221;
and#8220;An account that should be called, above everything else, and#8216;definitive.and#8217; . . . A downright scientific analysis of a subject that leaves most readers understandably unable to stay neutral.and#8221;
and#8220;Black against Empire breaks new scholarly ground in providing the first comprehensive history of the Black Panther Party.and#8221;
and#8220;A welcome addition to the literature about the Oakland-born organization that spread across the country like a prairie fire in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968 and that altered the consciousness of African Americans.and#8221;
and#8220;What Bloom and Martin have given us is as authoritative, respectful and complete a record of the Black Panther Partyand#8217;s workings as we are likely to get.and#8221;
and#8220;A comprehensive history.and#8221;
"Black Against Empire may well become the definitive document of one of the most important American social movements of the 20th century."
"The first comprehensive history of the party, a history which, as Bloom and Martin explain, has been mostly and#8216;forbiddenand#8217;."
"In their thoroughly researched, definitive history of the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, Bloom and Martin offer a fascinating, compelling analysis of the politics of armed self-defense against police brutality. . . . Exceptional. A must read."
"A riveting and thoughtful narrative of the Partyand#8217;s formation and ideational evolution. . . . Black Against Empire is essential reading for those looking to understand the rise and fall of movements for social change."
"Future historians of the Panthers and American radicalism will find Black Against Empire a foundational text."
"A bracingly narrated, voluminously researched history of the Black Panther Party. It plumbs rare archives and provides trenchant analysis of how and why the Panthers tapped the historical moment and emerged as a potent force." FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2013
"The first high-quality history of the Black Panther Party. . . . For the first time, one can read, in a single volume, a well-researched history that explains the origins of the Panthers in the context of Oakland neighborhood politics and the groupand#8217;s transformation into a social service organization. For that reason alone, the book will become a classic in the growing black power scholarship."
"Black against Empire is easily the most impressive, sweeping, and substantive scholarly history of the BPP. . . . Black against Empre is a masterful work. It is analytically sophisticated, superbly researched, and a fine addition to the disparate histories of the most audacious and significant black leftist group of the period."
and#8220;Thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and a fascinating piece of history . . . an exceptional piece of scholarship, and a book greatly worth reading.and#8221;
and#8220;Biondiand#8217;s work offers a fresh perspective on the student protest era, acknowledging the major and overlooked contributions of black students.and#8221;
and#8220;Biondiand#8217;s book is a very powerful chronicle of the struggle and strategizing that moved seemingly immovable institutions toward change.and#8221;
"Enriches our understanding of the vital, if often undervalued and understudied, role of black students in linking campus radicalism to broader struggles for racial and economic justice and in calling public attention to issues of diversity in higher education. . . . The Black Revolution on Campus is a valuable addition to our understanding of the modern black freedom movement, student activism, and the institutionalization of black studies as an agent of change in higher education."
"The most comprehensiveand#160;account of black studies founding generations. . . . [A]and#160;nuanced telling of the creation of black studiesand#160;programs."
"Deep and interesting. . . . [Biondi] provides a sweeping view of the birth of black studies."
and#8220;[Hillsand#8217;] empathetic analyses . . . make this the definitive biography of Lawrence for a very long time.and#8221;
and#8220;The book is the most thorough analysis available of Lawrenceand#8217;s work and a valuable contribution to American art history as well as African-American studies.and#8221;
and#8220;An essential book.and#8221;
and#8220;This thoughtful and comprehensive biography makes a good case for recognizing Jacob Lawrence as among the finest American artists.and#8221;
Dedicated to documenting the life of America's best-known advocate for peace and justice, The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.
breaks the chronology of its series to present King's never-before-published sermon file. In 1997 Mrs. Coretta Scott King granted the King Papers Project permission to examine papers kept in boxes in the basement of the Kings' home. The most significant finding was a battered cardboard box that held more than two hundred folders containing documents King used to prepare his celebrated sermons. This private collection that King kept in his study sheds considerable light on the theology and preaching preparation of one of the most noted orators of the modern era.
These illuminating papers reveal that King's concern about poverty, human rights, and social justice was clearly present in his earliest handwritten sermons, which conveyed a message of faith, hope, and love for the dispossessed. His enduring message can be charted through his years as a seminary student, as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, as a leader of the Montgomery bus boycott, and, ultimately, as an internationally renowned proponent of human rights who saw himself mainly as a preacher and "advocate of the social gospel." Ten of the original and unedited sermons King submitted for publication in the 1963 book Strength to Love and audio versions of King's most famous sermons are the culmination of this groundbreaking work.
In Oakland, California, in 1966, community college students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton armed themselves, began patrolling the police, and promised to prevent police brutality. Unlike the Civil Rights Movement that called for full citizenship rights for blacks within the U.S., the Black Panther Party rejected the legitimacy of the U.S. government and positioned itself as part of a global struggle against American imperialism. In the face of intense repression, the Party flourished, becoming the center of a revolutionary movement with offices in 68 U.S. cities and powerful allies around the world.
Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence. Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement, and its disastrous unraveling. Informed by twelve years of meticulous archival research, as well as familiarity with most of the former Party leadership and many rank-and-file members, this book is the definitive history of one of the greatest challenges ever posed to American state power.
The Black Revolution on Campus
is the definitive account of an extraordinary but forgotten chapter of the black freedom struggle. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Black students organized hundreds of protests that sparked a period of crackdown, negotiation, and reform that profoundly transformed college life. At stake was the very mission of higher education. Black students demanded that public universities serve their communities; that private universities rethink the mission of elite education; and that black colleges embrace self-determination and resist the threat of integration. Most crucially, black students demanded a role in the definition of scholarly knowledge.
Martha Biondi masterfully combines impressive research with a wealth of interviews from participants to tell the story of how students turned the slogan and#147;black powerand#8221; into a social movement. Vividly demonstrating the critical linkage between the student movement and changes in university culture, Biondi illustrates how victories in establishing Black Studies ultimately produced important intellectual innovations that have had a lasting impact on academic research and university curricula over the past 40 years. This book makes a major contribution to the current debate on Ethnic Studies, access to higher education, and opportunity for all.
and#147;Martha Biondi's superb book is a pioneering treatment of the integral role of courageous black students in the turbulent 60s. In our age of the Occupy Movement, we badly need this wonderful work!"
and#151;Cornel West, author of Race Matters
and#147;The Black Revolution on Campus is a passionate and powerful piece of scholarship about a dramatic moment in the evolution of American universities: the period in the 1960s and 1970s when the Black Power Movement clashed with the liberal sensibilities of Western cultural empire building. Biondi carefully demonstrates why this era of intellectual insurgency, led by Black students and their white allies, was significant. It allowed those whose stories had been left out of the curriculum to begin to speak truth to power. But it also made space for other movements (such as feminism and gay rights) to become important parts of the contemporary academic curriculum. Biondi invites the reader to do more than bear witness to an important scholarly debate about the role of black studies on college campuses in the 1960s and 1970s. Her probing analysis illuminates enduring yet evolving truths about our larger culture and its myths of American life.and#8221;
and#151;Lani Guinier, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
and#147;The Black Revolution on Campus is the first comprehensive account detailing the struggles for black studies within institutions of higher education in the United States. It suggests the enduring salience, and at times bitter consequences, of black struggles for inclusion, representation, and autonomy on college campuses and within university curricula. I know of no other work of its kind, and certainly no work as definitive.and#8221;
and#151;Nikhil Pal Singh, author of Black is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy
and#147;Martha Biondi's The Black Revolution on Campus is a judicious and empathetic history of the Black student movement. Reading the book reminds us of the forgotten stories and remarkable individuals who forged the organizations that moved history along. It makes us recognize how much the good side of the contemporary American academy is indebted to the courage and commitment of the people who put themselves on the line to bring justice into institutions that are often smug about their values and their own history. The promise of the Black Revolution is unfinished. Biondi's book is a reminder of those tasks that remain.and#8221;
and#151;Vijay Prashad, author of Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today
One of the greatest American writers, Langston Hughes was an innovator of jazz poetry and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance whose poems and plays resonate widely today. Accessible, personal, and inspirational, Hughesand#8217;s poems portray the African American community in struggle in the context of a turbulent modern United States and a rising black freedom movement. This invaluable collection of newly published letters between Hughes and four confidantes sheds light on his life and politics.
Letters from Langston begins in 1930 and ends shortly before his death in 1967, providing a window into a unique, self-created world where Hughes lived at ease. This distinctive volume of correspondence patches together stories of friends and family living in an era of uncertainty and their visions of an idealized worldand#151;one without hunger, war, racism, and class oppression.
More than two decades since his death, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s ideasand#151;his call for racial equality, his faith in the ultimate triumph of justice, and his insistence on the power of nonviolent struggle to bring about a major transformation of American societyand#151;are as vital and timely as ever. The wealth of his writings, both published and unpublished, that constitute his intellectual legacy are now preserved in this authoritative, chronologically arranged, multi-volume edition. Faithfully reproducing the texts of his letters, speeches, sermons, student papers, and articles, this edition has no equal.
Volume One contains many previously unpublished documents beginning with the letters King wrote to his mother and father during his childhood. We read firsthand his surprise and delight in his first encounter (during a trip to Connecticut) with the less segregated conditions in the North. Through his student essays and exams, we discover King's doubts about the religion of his father and we can trace his theological development. We learn of his longing for the emotional conversion experience that he witnessed others undergoing, and we follow his search to know God through study at theological seminaries. Throughout the first volume, we are treated to tantalizing hints of his mature rhetorical abilities, as in his 1945 letter to the Atlanta Constitution that spoke out against white racism.
Each volume in this series contains an introductory essay that traces the biographical details of Dr. King's life during the period covered. Ample annotations accompany the documents. Each volume also contains a chronology of key events in his life and a "Calendar of Documents" that lists all important, extant documents authored by King or by others, including those that are not trnascribed in the document itself.
The preparation of this edition is sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta with Stanford University and Emory University.
Mark Twain's letters for 1874 and 1875 encompass one of his most productive and rewarding periods as author, husband and father, and man of property. He completed the writing of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,
published the major collection Sketches, New and Old,
became a leading contributor to the Atlantic Monthly,
and turned The Gilded Age,
the novel he had previously coauthored with Charles Dudley Warner, into one of the most popular comedies of the nineteenth-century American stage. His personal life also was gratifying, unmarred by the family tragedies that had darkened the earlier years of the decade. He and his wife welcomed a second healthy daughter and moved into the showplace home in Hartford, Connecticut, that they occupied happily for the next sixteen years. All of these accomplishments and events are vividly captured, in Mark Twain's inimitable language and with his unmatched humor, in letters to family and friends, among them some of the leading writers of the day. The comprehensive editorial annotation supplies the historical and social context that helps make these letters as fresh and immediate to a modern audience as they were to their original readers.
This volume is the sixth in the only complete edition of Mark Twain's letters ever attempted. The 348 letters it contains, many of them never before published, have been meticulously transcribed, either from the original manuscripts (when extant) or from the most reliable sources now available. They have been thoroughly annotated and indexed and are supplemented by genealogical charts, contemporary notices of Mark Twain and his works, and photographs of him, his family, and his friends.
Jacob Lawrence was one of the best-known African American artists of the twentieth century. In Painting Harlem Modern, Patricia Hills renders a vivid assessment of Lawrence's long and productive career. She argues that his complex, cubist-based paintings developed out of a vital connection with a modern Harlem that was filled with artists, writers, musicians, and social activists. She also uniquely positions Lawrence alongside such important African American writers as Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison. Drawing from a wide range of archival materials and interviews with artists, Hills interprets Lawrence's art as distilled from a life of struggle and perseverance. She brings insightful analysis to his work, beginning with the 1930s street scenes that provided Harlem with its pictorial image, and follows each decade of Lawrence's work, with accounts that include his impressions of Southern Jim Crow segregation and a groundbreaking discussion of Lawrence's symbolic use of masks and masking during the 1950s Cold War era. Painting Harlem Modern is an absorbing book that highlights Lawrence's heroic efforts to meet his many challenges while remaining true to his humanist values and artistic vision.
"Painting Harlem Modern
is a long overdue study that will likely become the definitive work on this seminal figure in American art."and#151;Mary Ann Calo, Colgate University
"A thoroughand#151;and long overdueand#151;critical assessment of the remarkable span of Jacob Lawrence's work, Painting Harlem Modern offers new and valuable insight into how Harlem shaped art, and how art shaped Harlem. And as if Lawrence, art, and Harlem weren't enough, Patricia Hills also explores the creation of modern black identity. This book is a major contribution not only to African American art history but to African American history in general."and#151;Henry Louis Gates Jr., author of In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past
"Patricia Hills, one of the academy's foremost historians of American art, has now directed her energies toward the evocative paintings of the twentieth-century artist/chronicler Jacob Lawrence, and with remarkable results. Viewing Lawrence's Harlem as the Parnassus of African American arts and letters and, related to this, the conceptual site where the painter created his own template for a socially grounded modernism, Hills calls for a reevaluation of this pivotal artist and for a sustained interrogation of his complex, visually layered pictures. For her critical and erudite intercession, art history should be forever indebted."and#151;Richard J. Powell, author of Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture
"The triumphant result of years of exhaustive scholarship, Hills's book emerges as the definitive treatment of the life and work of one of America's great artists. Lucidly written and deftly illustrated, it is an essential text for specialists and an enjoyable education for anyone interested in Jacob Lawrence and modern American art."and#151;Orlando Patterson, Harvard University
About the Author
Evelyn Louise Crawford and MaryLouise Pattersonand#160;(a San Francisco art consultant and a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Cornell) are the daughters of some of Langston Hughes's closest black friends and political comrades. They remained cherished friends and confidantes of his for over forty years. Their parents, Louise Thompson Patterson (1901and#150;1999), William L. Patterson (1891and#150;1980), Matt N. Crawford (1903and#150;1996), and Evelyn Graces Crawford (1899and#150;1972), were black Communist civil rights activists. Langston Hughes often stayed with them, and they all traveled together, corresponded about key issues of the day, and took a joint trip to the Soviet Union. Langston Hughes wrote poems to celebrate both girls' births.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Black Revolution on Campus
1. and#147;Moving toward Blacknessand#8221;:
The Rise of Black Power on Campus
2. and#147;A Revolution Is Beginningand#8221;:
The Strike at San Francisco State
3. and#147;A Turbulent Era of Transitionand#8221;:
Black Students and a New Chicago
4. and#147;Brooklyn College Belongs to Usand#8221;:
The Transformation of Higher Education in New York City
5. Toward a Black University:
Radicalism, Repression, and Reform at Historically Black Colleges
6. The Counterrevolution on Campus:
Why Was Black Studies So Controversial?
7. The Black Revolution Off-Campus
8. What Happened to Black Studies?
Conclusion: Reflections on the Movement and Its Legacy