Black Liberation: A Comparative History of Black Ideologies in the United States and South Africa / Edition 1

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Overview

In Black Liberation, George Fredrickson offers a fascinating account of how blacks in the United States and South Africa came to grips with the challenge of white supremacy. He reveals a rich history - not merely of parallel developments, but of an intricate, transatlantic web of influences and cross-fertilization. He begins with early moments of hope in both countries - Reconstruction in the United States, and the liberal colonialism of British Cape Colony - when the promise of suffrage led educated black elites to fight for color-blind equality. A rising tide of racism and discrimination at the turn of the century, however, blunted their hopes and encouraged nationalist movements in both countries. Fredrickson teases out the connections between movements and nations, examining the transatlantic appeal of black religious nationalism (known as Ethiopianism), and the pan-Africanism of Du Bois and Garvey. He brings to vivid life the decades of struggle, organizing, and debate, as blacks in the United States looked to Africa for identity and South Africans looked to America for new ideas and hope. The book traces the rise of Communist influence in black movements in the two nations in the 1920s and '30s, and the adoption of Gandhian nonviolent protest after World War II. The story of India's struggle, however, was not to be repeated in either America or South Africa: in one nation, nonviolence revealed its limitations, encouraging splits in the civil rights movement; in the other, it failed, fostering an armed struggle against white supremacy. Fredrickson brings the story up through the present, exploring the divergence between African-American identity politics and the nonracialism that has triumphed in South Africa.

A revealing comparison of the struggles for black liberation in the U.S. and South Africa, Black Liberation brings to life a century of struggle against oppression. This companion volume to the award-winning White Supremacy shows how blacks of both nations looked across the Atlantic for hope and inspiration.

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Editorial Reviews

Leonard Thompson
Unlike musicologists, psychologists, and many other scholars, historians usually concentrate on a specific period and place, and feel that they can never learn enough about them. Those who spend much of their lives comparing the histories of different societies are relatively rare and, of them, George Fredrickson is certainly one of the most distinguished....In "Black Liberation" and in "White Supremacy," his 1981 study of the history of white racial ideologies in America and South Africa, Fredrickson went beyond "a comparative perspective" -- i.e., the occasional use of comparative examples -- and attempted a more rigorous method, "cross-national comparative history." "White Supremacy" is a comparative history of the ideologies white Americans and South Africans used to support their racial prejudices and policies...."Black Liberation" takes up the story by comparing the ideological responses of black Americans and black South Africans to the theories and practices of white supremacy. -- Leonard Thompson, The New York Review of Books
From the Publisher

"A superb sequel to his comparison of the two countries in White Supremacy, Fredrickson's Black Liberation compres the black responses to white oppression with equal brilliance."
--C. Vann Woodward

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195109788
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
George M. Fredrickson is Edgar E. Robinson Professor of United States History at Stanford University. He is the author of nine books, including White Supremacy, which won the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize, the Merle Curti Award, and was a jury nominee for the Pulitzer Prize.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 "Palladium of the People's Liberties": The Suffrage Question and the Origins of Black Protest 14
2 "Ethiopia Shall Stretch Forth Her Hands": Black Christianity and the Politics of Liberation 57
3 Protest of "The Talented Tenth": Black Elites and the Rise of Segregation 94
4 "Africa for the Africans": Pan-Africanism and Black Populism, 1918-1930 137
5 "Self-Determination for Negroes": Communists and Black Freedom Struggles, 1928-1948 179
6 "We Shall Not Be Moved": Nonviolent Resistance to White Supremacy, 1940-1965 225
7 "Black Man You Are on Your Own": Black Power and Black Consciousness 277
Epilogue 319
Notes 325
Index 367
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