How Long? how Long?: African American Women in the Struggle for Civil Rights / Edition 1

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Overview


A compelling and readable narrative history, How Long? How Long? presents both a rethinking of social movement theory and a controversial thesis: that chroniclers have egregiously neglected the most important leaders of the Civil Rights movement, African-American women, in favor of higher-profile African-American men and white women. Author Belinda Robnett argues that the diversity of experiences of the African-American women organizers has been underemphasized in favor of monolithic treatments of their femaleness and blackness.

Drawing heavily on interviews with actual participants in the American Civil Rights movement, this work retells the movement as seen through the eyes and spoken through the voices of African-American women participants. It is the first book to provide an analysis of race, class, gender, and culture as substructures that shaped the organization and outcome of the movement. Robnett examines the differences among women participants in the movement and offers the first cohesive analysis of the gendered relations and interactions among its black activists, thus demonstrating that femaleness and blackness cannot be viewed as sufficient signifiers for movement experience and individual identity. Finally, this book makes a significant contribution to social movement theory by providing a crucial understanding of the continuity and complexity of social movements, clarifying the need for different layers of leadership that come to satisfy different movement needs.

An engaging narrative history as well as a major contribution to social movement and feminist theory, How Long? How Long? will appeal to students and scholars of social activism, women's studies, American history, and African-American studies, and to general readers interested in the perennially fascinating story of the American Civil Rights movement.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Bound to be controversial, Robnett's How Long? How Long? challenges received perspectives on the role of gender in the Civil Rights Movement. In doing so she has made a major contribution to our understanding of the internal dynamics of social movements. It is both impassioned and impressive."--Mayer Zald, Department of Sociology, University of Arizona

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195114904
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Belinda Robnett is Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of California at Davis.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Rethinking Social Movement Theory: Race, Class, Gender, and Culture 12
2 Exclusion, Empowerment, and Partnership: Race Gender Relations 36
3 Women and the Escalation of the Civil Rights Movement 53
4 Sustaining the Momentum of the Movement 71
5 Sowing the Seeds of Mass Mobilization 86
6 Bridging Students to the Movement 98
7 Race, Class, and Culture Matter 115
8 Bringing the Movement Home to Small Cities and Rural Communities 140
9 Cooperation and Conflict in the Civil Rights Movement 157
10 The Movement Unravels from the Bottom 173
11 Theoretical Conclusions 190
Epilogue: Lessons from Our Past 203
App. A The Study 210
App. B Interviews 212
App. C Archives and Primary Sources 214
Notes 216
Bibliography 235
Index 247
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