16 February 2015

How Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A Reading List


Excerpt:
This year, Black History Month carries a special significance, because America is marking not just the 150th anniversary of Emancipation, but also the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It was propelled into reality through the heroic witness of non-violent demonstrations in Selma, Alabama and across the nation. But the freedom dreams of enslaved Africans, southern sharecroppers and northern militants too often remain muted in the popular imagination of our own times. Black political radicalism fueled America's democratic imagination, even as institutions of white supremacy, Jim Crow, and racial and economic exploitation remained determined to extinguish the flames of black liberation and rebellion. Several recent history books help illuminate the historical contradictions that Black History Month exemplifies, namely, how a nation founded on racial slavery became both a beacon for radical hope and a defender of racial segregation and economic injustice.

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