Anticommunism and the African American Freedom Movement: Another Side of the Story

Overview

The original essays in this book highlight the destructive impact of McCarthyism on the African American Freedom Movement. Recovering little-known stories of black radical activism, they challenge the idea that the Cold War was, on balance, beneficial to the movement. The book emphasizes what was lost when anticommunism forced the movement to submerge broader issues of economic justice, labor rights, feminism, and peace. The authors illustrate the often neglected or understated human costs of the Red Scare, ...

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Overview

The original essays in this book highlight the destructive impact of McCarthyism on the African American Freedom Movement. Recovering little-known stories of black radical activism, they challenge the idea that the Cold War was, on balance, beneficial to the movement. The book emphasizes what was lost when anticommunism forced the movement to submerge broader issues of economic justice, labor rights, feminism, and peace. The authors illustrate the often neglected or understated human costs of the Red Scare, focusing on local and individual stories that offer insight into larger national and international trends.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This fascinating work challenges the long-held assumption that the Cold War aided the civil rights movement and led American presidents to support civil rights as a means of undercutting Soviet propaganda. In a series of six well-written and insightful essays, the contributors instead assert that the struggle against communism undermined the movement's radicalism, narrowed its
focus, and cost it allies . . . The collection is well put together and impressive. It reshapes the popular perception of the impact the Cold War had on the civil rights movement, and is an essential addition to the historical record." - The American Historical Review

"A major contribution of this work is its reminder of the host of individuals and organizations that offered a more expansive view of peace and civil rights than what became the dominant narrow interest in voting rights and the desegregation of public accomodations." - The Journal of American History

"A stimulating collection of articles dealing with the Civil Rights Movement . . . As a whole, the book is convincing because of the detailed examples put forth to support the major hypotheses." - Choice

"The history of a long civil rights movement with a crucial radical component carries powerful implications for ongoing battles for liberation that require a transforming vision of democracy and a holistic program of struggle for political, social, economic and cultural equality. This volume makes a valuable contribution to that understanding. Anticommunism and the African American Freedom Movement is a valuable source for scholars, activists and all who work for a just world. It is deeply instructive to learn of past efforts to forge democratic change, to learn the price of rupture of those efforts and to grasp the elements of continuity that enrich activism today." - Mark Solomon, Against the Current

"The collectionAnticommunism and the African American Freedom Movement: 'Another Side of the Story', edited by historians Robbie Lieberman and Clarence Lang, is a significant contribution to this growing field of scholarship. Lieberman's and Lang's edition proves to be an innovative addition to the historiographical 'revisionist' literature of the early Cold War and convincingly illuminates the repressive role which McCarthyism played on the black freedom struggle by excavating and recovering seemingly lost stories of a black radical activist tradition." - Daniel Holder, KULT Online

"This trailblazing, challenging, and exceedingly thoughtful book establishes a New Paradigm for the consideration of the most profoundly monumental change in this nation in recent decades:the retreat of Jim Crow.This book should not only be read, it should be pondered and studied intensively, for there are nuggets of wisdom on every page." - Gerald Horne, Author of Red Seas:Ferdinand Smith and Radical Black Sailors in the U.S. and Jamaica and the forthcoming Mau Mau in Harlem?: The U.S. and the Struggle to Free Kenya (Palgrave Macmillan)

"Lieberman and Lang have assembled an arresting collection of essays unabashedly tackling the troubled marriage of Communism and the movements for Black Freedom, Peace, and Mexican-American rights after World War II. While acknowledging an unbroken history of idealism and activist resistance to domestic exploitation over the decades, a range of scholars make available fascinating new research to remind us what was lost in a tragic era when fear and expediency led to a misguided 'crusade' against those imperfect but devoted militants standing in the vanguard of social justice." - Alan M. Wald, H. Chandler Davis Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan; Author of Trinity of Passion: The Literary Left and the Anti-Fascist Crusade (2007)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230605244
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Series: Contemporary Black History Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robbie Lieberman is Professor of History at Southern Illinois University and the editor of Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research. Her publications include “My Song Is My Weapon:” People’s Songs, American Communism and the Politics of Culture 1930-1950, which won the Deems-Taylor Award from ASCAP; The Strangest Dream: Communism, Anticommunism and the U.S. Peace Movement 1945-1963; and Prairie Power: Voices of 1960s Midwestern Student Protest.

Clarence Lang is Associate Professor of African American Studies and History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He is the author of Grassroots at the Gateway: Class Politics and Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, 1936-75.

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Table of Contents

"Another Side of the Story": African American Intellectuals Speak Out for Peace and Freedom during the Early Cold War Years—Robbie Lieberman
• Quieting the Chorus: Progressive Women's Race and Peace Politics in Postwar New York—Jacqueline Castledine
• The March of Young Southern Black Women: Esther Cooper Jackson, Black Left Feminism, and the Personal and Political Costs of Cold War Repression—Erik McDuffie
• Correspondence: Journalism, Anticommunism and Marxism in 1950s Detroit—Rachel Peterson
• Freedom Train Derailed: The National Negro Labor Council and the Nadir of Black Radicalism 1950-1956—Clarence Lang
• Challenges to Solidarity: The Mexican American Fight for Social and Economic Justice 1946-1963—Zaragosa Vargas

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