In the Lion's Mouth: Black Populism in the New South, 1886-1900

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A history of the alliance between black farmers, sharecroppers, and the People's Party
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Ali therefore is able--through a combination of original research and synthesis of previous studies--to reframe very effectively our understanding of the genesis, expansion, and historical significance of black Populism. In particular, he reveals the central role that black Populism played in providing impetus and force to the Populist movement in the South. His book stands as an important contribution to the literature in the field."---American Historical Review

"In the Lion's Mouth breaks new ground by locating a distinctive politics of culture deeply rooted in the black radical tradition, agrarian culture, with groundings in African culture and the experience of slavery. Ali correctly resists the common tendency to either see black populists as an offshoot of white populist movement, or a failed effort at interracial organizing. Rather, he paints a compelling portrait of an independent movement. But understand that by independent, he does not mean separatist. It is an important distinction, for if we follow Ali's arguments and the evidence he marshals seriously, we can only conclude that the white Populist movement, more than any, exhibited separatist tendencies. Ali flips the script, if you will, and compels us to rethink the entire history of late 19th century Southern politics. Moreover, he insists that the real story of these different movements is not a simple matter of two separate strands of populism operating side-by-side, but conflicting ideals about fairness, equity, the construction of a democratic, caring political economy."

--Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression

"In this insightful survey of a generation of African American political activism, Omar Ali lays to rest the common misconception that black politics in the South ended with the death of Reconstruction. He shows how, during the 1880s and 1890s, two Populist movements, black and white, mainly separate and unequal, challenged the political status quo. Anyone interested in the innovative and often bold political action undertaken by black southerners in these trying times will benefit from reading In the Lion's Mouth."

--Charles Postel, author of The Populist Vision

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Omar H. Ali is associate professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, he received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University and is the author of In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third Party Movements in the United States.
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