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A groundbreaking contribution to the history of the "long Civil Rights movement," Hammer and Hoe tells the story of how, during the 1930s and 40s, Communists took on Alabama's repressive, racist police state to fight for economic justice, civil and political rights, and racial equality. The Alabama Communist Party was made up of working people without a Euro-American radical political tradition: devoutly religious and semiliterate black laborers and sharecroppers, and a handful of whites, including unemployed industrial workers, housewives, youth, and renegade liberals. In this book, Robin D. G. Kelley reveals how the experiences and identities of these people from Alabama's farms, factories, mines, kitchens, and city streets shaped the Party's tactics and unique political culture. The result was a remarkably resilient movement forged in a racist world that had little tolerance for radicals. After discussing the book's origins and impact in a new preface written for this twenty-fifth-anniversary edition, Kelley reflects on what a militantly antiracist, radical movement in the heart of Dixie might teach contemporary social movements confronting rampant inequality, police violence, mass incarceration, and neoliberalism.
Hammer and Hoe documents the efforts of the Alabama Communist Party and its allies to secure racial, economic, and political reforms. Sensitive to the complexities of gender, race, culture, and class without compromising the political narrative, Robin Kelley here illuminates one of the most unique and lest understood radical movements in American History.
Thomas Paine was one of the most remarkable political writers of the modern world and the greatest radical of a radical age. Through writings like Common Sense—and words such as "The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth," "We have it in our power to begin the world over again," and "These are the times that try men's souls"—he not only turned America's colonial rebellion into a revolutionary war but, as Harvey J. Kaye demonstrates, articulated an American identity charged with exceptional purpose and promise.
The explosion of print culture that occurred in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century activated the widespread use of print media to promote social and political activism. Exploring this phenomenon, the essays in Modern Print Activism in the United States focus on specific groups, individuals, and causes that relied on print as a vehicle for activism. They also take up the variety of print forms in which calls for activism have appeared, including fiction, editorials, letters to the editor, graphic satire, and non-periodical media such as pamphlets and calendars. As the contributors show, activists have used print media in a range of ways, not only in expected applications such as calls for boycotts and protests, but also for less expected aims such as the creation of networks among readers and to the legitimization of their causes. At a time when the golden age of print appears to be ending, Modern Print Activism in the United States argues that print activism should be studied as a specifically modernist phenomenon and poses questions related to the efficacy of print as a vehicle for social and political change.
Behind the public fear of a Communist conspiracy against the U.S. government, Pedersen finds a party fractured by conflicting agendas, ineffectual leadership, and unstable membership. However, he also uncovers new evidence that Communists in the United States, acting on Soviet orders, used their influence in unions and front groups to sway American foreign policy in ways that benefited the Soviet Union. He documents the consolidation of an espionage apparatus in Baltimore and demonstrates that while espionage activities may have involved only a few individuals, all Party members shared an attitude of willing support for the activities of the Soviet Union that made these covert practices possible.
Recent flashpoints in Black-Jewish relations--Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March, the violence in Crown Heights, Leonard Jeffries' polemical speeches, the O.J. Simpson verdict, and the contentious responses to these events--suggest just how wide the gap has become in the fragile coalition that was formed during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Instead of critical dialogue and respectful exchange, we have witnessed battles that too often consist of vulgar name-calling and self-righteous finger-pointing. Absent from these exchanges are two vitally important and potentially healing elements: Comprehension of the actual history between Blacks and Jews, and level-headed discussion of the many issues that currently divide the two groups. In Struggles in the Promised Land, editors Jack Salzman and Cornel West bring together twenty-one illuminating essays that fill precisely this absence. As Salzman makes clear in his introduction, the purpose of this collection is not to offer quick fixes to the present crisis but to provide a clarifying historical framework from which lasting solutions may emerge. Where historical knowledge is lacking, rhetoric comes rushing in, and Salzman asserts that the true history of Black-Jewish relations remains largely untold. To communicate that history, the essays gathered here move from the common demonization of Blacks and Jews in the Middle Ages; to an accurate assessment of Jewish involvement of the slave trade; to the confluence of Black migration from the South and Jewish immigration from Europe into Northern cities between 1880 and 1935; to the meaningful alliance forged during the Civil Rights movement and the conflicts over Black Power and the struggle in the Middle East that effectively ended that alliance. The essays also provide reasoned discussion of such volatile issues as affirmative action, Zionism, Blacks and Jews in the American Left, educational relations between the two groups, and the real and perceived roles Hollywood has play in the current tensions. The book concludes with personal pieces by Patricia Williams, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Michael Walzer, and Cornel West, who argues that the need to promote Black-Jewish alliances is, above all, a "moral endeavor that exemplifies ways in which the most hated group in European history and the most hated group in U.S. history can coalesce in the name of precious democratic ideals." At a time when accusations come more readily than careful consideration, Struggles in the Promised Land offers a much-needed voice of reason and historical understanding. Distinguished by the caliber of its contributors, the inclusiveness of its focus, and the thoughtfulness of its writing, Salzman and West's book lays the groundwork for future discussions and will be essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary American culture and race relations.
From the end of postwar Reconstruction in the South to an analysis of the rise and fall of Black Power, acclaimed historian Adam Fairclough presents a straightforward synthesis of the century-long struggle of black Americans to achieve civil rights and equality in the United States. Beginning with Ida B. Wells and the campaign against lynching in the 1890s, Fairclough chronicles the tradition of protest that led to the formation of the NAACP, Booker T. Washington and the strategy of accommodation, Marcus Garvey and the push for black nationalism, through to Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and beyond. Throughout, Fairclough presents a judicious interpretation of historical events that balances the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement against the persistence of racial and economic inequalities.

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