Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement

1st Edition

By Yohuru Williams


142 pages

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The African American struggle for civil rights in the twentieth century is one of the most important stories in American history. With all the information available, however, it is easy for even the most enthusiastic reader to be overwhelmed. In Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement, Yohuru Williams has synthesized the complex history of this period into a clear and compelling narrative. Considering both the Civil Rights and Black Power movements as distinct but overlapping elements of the Black Freedom struggle, Williams looks at the impact of the struggle for Black civil rights on housing, transportation, education, labor, voting rights, culture, and more, and places the activism of the 1950s and 60s within the context of a much longer tradition reaching from Reconstruction to the present day.

Exploring the different strands within the movement, key figures and leaders, and its ongoing legacy, Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement is the perfect introduction for anyone seeking to understand the struggle for Black civil rights in America.


"Compact yet comprehensive, Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement does a masterful job of distilling the best and most recent scholarship on civil rights and Black Power into easily digestible nuggets. This is the new starting point for studying the movement."

— Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University

"Part breezy narrative, part comprehensive historiography, Yohuru Wiliam’s Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement is a brilliant and much needed synthesis of the rich new bodies of scholarship that have redefined our understanding of the civil rights and black power movements."

— George Derek Musgrove, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

"This splendid, succinct volume summarizes and interprets the African American struggle against oppression—the “Six Degrees of Segregation” in housing, education, voting, employment, criminal processes, and access to public spaces and conveyances… Specialists will value Williams’s insights and novices his clear writing as he weaves together the various expressions of the struggle into a coherent narrative. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries."

— E. R. Crowther, Adams State University, CHOICE Reviews

Table of Contents

Preface: Under Our Own Power: Rethinking Black Freedom Struggles

1. "A continuing evolving process": The Predecessors and Origins of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements

2. America’s Second Civil War

3. Power to the People: Black Power

4. The Art of War: The Cultural Productions of the 1950s and 1960s Era Black Freedom Struggles

5. "A Larger Freedom": The Strengths, Weaknesses, and Legacies of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements

About the Author

Yohuru Williams is Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University.

About the Series

American Social and Political Movements of the 20th Century

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies