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Now with a new afterword, the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatic account of the civil rights era’s climactic battle in Birmingham as the movement, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., brought down the institutions of segregation. "The Year of Birmingham," 1963, was a cataclysmic turning point in America’s long civil rights struggle. Child demonstrators faced down police dogs and fire hoses in huge nonviolent marches against segregation. Ku Klux Klansmen retaliated by bombing the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four young black girls. Diane McWhorter, daughter of a prominent Birmingham family, weaves together police and FBI records, archival documents, interviews with black activists and Klansmen, and personal memories into an extraordinary narrative of the personalities and events that brought about America’s second emancipation. In a new afterword—reporting last encounters with hero Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and describing the current drastic anti-immigration laws in Alabama—the author demonstrates that Alabama remains a civil rights crucible.
One of Planetizen’s Top Ten Books of 2006 "But for Birmingham," Fred Shuttleworth recalled President John F. Kennedy saying in June 1963 when he invited black leaders to meet with him, "we would not be here today." Birmingham is well known for its civil rights history, particularly for the violent white-on-black bombings that occurred there in the 1960s, resulting in the city’s nickname "Bombingham." What is less well known about Birmingham’s racial history, however, is the extent to which early city planning decisions influenced and prompted the city’s civil rights protests. The first book-length work to analyze this connection, "The Most Segregated City in America": City Planning and Civil Rights in Birmingham, 1920–1980 uncovers the impact of Birmingham’s urban planning decisions on its black communities and reveals how these decisions led directly to the civil rights movement. Spanning over sixty years, Charles E. Connerly’s study begins in the 1920s, when Birmingham used urban planning as an excuse to implement racial zoning laws, pointedly sidestepping the 1917 U.S. Supreme Court Buchanan v. Warley decision that had struck down racial zoning. The result of this obstruction was the South’s longest-standing racial zoning law, which lasted from 1926 to 1951, when it was redeclared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite the fact that African Americans constituted at least 38 percent of Birmingham’s residents, they faced drastic limitations to their freedom to choose where to live. When in the1940s they rebelled by attempting to purchase homes in off-limit areas, their efforts were labeled as a challenge to city planning, resulting in government and court interventions that became violent. More than fifty bombings ensued between 1947 and 1966, becoming nationally publicized only in 1963, when four black girls were killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Connerly effectively uses Birmingham’s history as an example to argue the importance of recognizing the link that exists between city planning and civil rights. His demonstration of how Birmingham’s race-based planning legacy led to the confrontations that culminated in the city’s struggle for civil rights provides a fresh lens on the history and future of urban planning, and its relation to race.
"Explores and analyzes the historical context and significance of the iconic Charles Moore photograph"--Provided by publisher.
With their collection In Search of the Black Panther Party, Yohuru Williams and Jama Lazerow provided a broad analysis of the Black Panther Party and its legacy. In Liberated Territory, they turn their attention to local manifestations of the organization, far away from the party’s Oakland headquarters. This collection’s contributors, all historians, examine how specific party chapters and offshoots emerged, developed, and waned, as well as how the local branches related to their communities and to the national party. The histories and character of the party branches vary as widely as their locations. The Cape Verdeans of New Bedford, Massachusetts, were initially viewed as a particular challenge for the local Panthers but later became the mainstay of the Boston-area party. In the early 1970s, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, chapter excelled at implementing the national Black Panther Party’s strategic shift from revolutionary confrontation to mainstream electoral politics. In Detroit, the Panthers were defined by a complex relationship between their above-ground activities and an underground wing dedicated to armed struggle. While the Milwaukee chapter was born out of a rising tide of black militancy, it ultimately proved more committed to promoting literacy and health care and redressing hunger than to violence. The Alabama Black Liberation Front did not have the official imprimatur of the national party, but it drew heavily on the Panthers’ ideas and organizing strategies, and its activism demonstrates the broad resonance of many of the concerns articulated by the national party: the need for jobs, for decent food and housing, for black self-determination, and for sustained opposition to police brutality against black people. Liberated Territory reveals how the Black Panther Party’s ideologies, goals, and strategies were taken up and adapted throughout the United States. Contributors: Devin Fergus, Jama Lazerow, Ahmad A. Rahman, Robert W. Widell Jr., Yohuru Williams
Houston A. Baker Jr. condemns those black intellectuals who, he believes, have turned their backs on the tradition of racial activism in America. These individuals choose personal gain over the interests of the black majority, whether they are espousing neoconservative positions that distort the contours of contemporary social and political dynamics or abandoning race as an important issue in the study of American literature and culture. Most important, they do a disservice to the legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and others who have fought for black rights. In the literature, speeches, and academic and public behavior of some black intellectuals in the past quarter century, Baker identifies a "hungry generation" eager for power, respect, and money. Baker critiques his own impoverished childhood in the "Little Africa" section of Louisville, Kentucky, to understand the shaping of this new public figure. He also revisits classical sites of African American literary and historical criticism and critique. Baker devotes chapters to the writing and thought of such black academic superstars as Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, and Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Hoover Institution senior fellow Shelby Steele; Yale law professor Stephen Carter; and Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter. His provocative investigation into their disingenuous posturing exposes what Baker deems a tragic betrayal of King's legacy. Baker concludes with a discussion of American myth and the role of the U.S. prison-industrial complex in the "disappearing" of blacks. Baker claims King would have criticized these black intellectuals for not persistently raising their voices against a private prison system that incarcerates so many men and women of color. To remedy this situation, Baker urges black intellectuals to forge both sacred and secular connections with local communities and rededicate themselves to social responsibility. As he sees it, the mission of the black intellectual today is not to do great things but to do specific, racially based work that is in the interest of the black majority.
This new edition of Southern Writers assumes its distinguished predecessor's place as the essential reference on literary artists of the American South. Broadly expanded and thoroughly revised, it boasts 604 entries-nearly double the earlier edition's-written by 264 scholars. For every figure major and minor, from the venerable and canonical to the fresh and innovative, a biographical sketch and chronological list of published works provide comprehensive, concise, up-to-date information. Here in one convenient source are the South's novelists and short story writers, poets and dramatists, memoirists and essayists, journalists, scholars, and biographers from the colonial period to the twenty-first century. What constitutes a "southern writer" is always a matter for debate. Editors Joseph M. Flora and Amber Vogel have used a generous definition that turns on having a significant connection to the region, in either a personal or literary sense. New to this volume are younger writers who have emerged in the quarter century since the dictionary's original publication, as well as older talents previously unknown or unacknowledged. For almost every writer found in the previous edition, a new biography has been commissioned. Drawn from the very best minds on southern literature and covering the full spectrum of its practitioners, Southern Writers is an indispensable reference book for anyone intrigued by the subject.
"Pate McMichael not only puts to rest the legend of a conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King Jr. but, in lucid, compelling prose, he also demonstrates how that legend was constructed, and why it persists. Anyone interested in civil rights history, the 1960s, King, or conspiracy theories—or just a great story—should grab this book and hold on tight." —Clay Risen, author of The Bill of the Century Unanswered questions surround the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and many still wonder whether justice was served. After all, only one man, an escaped convict named James Earl Ray, was punished for the crime, and he did not seem to fit the caricature of a hangdog racist thirsty for blood. Had he been paid by clandestine forces? After his arrest, Ray forged a partnership with two very strange bedfellows: a slick lawyer named Arthur J. Hanes, the de facto "Klonsel" for the United Klans of America, and journalist William Bradford Huie, the darling of Look magazine. Despite polar opposite views on race, Hanes and Huie found common cause in the world of conspiracy. Together, they thought they could make Memphis the new Dallas. Relying on a trove of newly released documents and dusty files, Klandestine takes readers deep inside Ray's Memphis jail cell and Alabama's violent Klaverns, showing how a legacy of unpunished racial killings provided the perfect exigency to sell a lucrative conspiracy to a suspicious and outraged nation. Pate McMichael is an award-winning journalist. His stories have been published in Zócalo Public Square, Atlanta magazine, St. Louis magazine, and elsewhere.

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