Want To Start A Revolution?

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The story of the black freedom struggle in America has been overwhelmingly male-centric, starring leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Huey Newton. With few exceptions, black women have been perceived as supporting actresses; as behind-the-scenes or peripheral activists, or rank and file party members. But what about Vicki Garvin, a Brooklyn-born activist who became a leader of the National Negro Labor Council and guide to Malcolm X on his travels through Africa? What about Shirley Chisholm, the first black Congresswoman?

From Rosa Parks and Esther Cooper Jackson, to Shirley Graham DuBois and Assata Shakur, a host of women demonstrated a lifelong commitment to radical change, embracing multiple roles to sustain the movement, founding numerous groups and mentoring younger activists. Helping to create the groundwork and continuity for the movement by operating as local organizers, international mobilizers, and charismatic leaders, the stories of the women profiled in Want to Start a Revolution? help shatter the pervasive and imbalanced image of women on the sidelines of the black freedom struggle.

Contributors: Margo Natalie Crawford, Prudence Cumberbatch, Johanna Fernández, Diane C. Fujino, Dayo F. Gore, Joshua Guild, Gerald Horne, Ericka Huggins, Angela D. LeBlanc-Ernest, Joy James, Erik McDuffie, Premilla Nadasen, Sherie M. Randolph, James Smethurst, Margaret Stevens, and Jeanne Theoharis.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“By centering radical black women, Want to Start a Revolution? shatters the artificial boundaries separating civil rights, black power, and feminist ideologies and movements, generating an expanded history of black radicalism and conveying the centrality of African-American women to the black freedom struggle and social justice movements more broadly. This collection will undoubtedly inspire an outpouring of much-needed new scholarship, adding to our collective knowledge and offering new frameworks for grappling with this history.”
-Emilye Crosby,author of A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi

“In sum, this anthology will undoubtedly spark renewed interest in recovering the myriad of female activists whose stories have not yet been told... Highly recommended.”-CHOICE,

Want to Start a Revolution? successfully meets its three goals of expanding the boundaries of black radicalism, shedding light on the labor women performed to sustain radical movements, and exploring the gender politics of black women activists (pp. 3-4). Collectively, the essays will provide activists, students, and academic specialists with powerful insights into post- World War II black feminist thought, and the lives of women who joined and guided movements to transform an oppressive society. This collection will also be useful to teachers aiming to introduce students to the politics of historical memory, and the recent distortions of civil rights discourse. We owe a debt of gratitude to the editors and contributors to this collection for reminding us that in the postwar struggle for revolutionary change, as now, women of color hold up more than half the sky.”-H-Net Reviews,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814783139
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2009
  • Pages: 370
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Dayo F. Gore is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego and has previously taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is the co-editor (with Jeanne Theoharis and Komozi Woodard) of Want to Start a Revolution? Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle (NYU Press, 2009).

Jeanne Theoharis is Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York and co-editor (with Komozi Woodard) of Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements (NYU Press).

Komozi Woodard is Professor of American History, Public Policy, and Africana Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and author of A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka and Black Power Politics.

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Table of Contents

Dayo F. Gore, Jeanne Theoharis, and Komozi Woodard
1 “No Small Amount of Change Could Do”
Erik S. McDuffie
2 What “the Cause” Needs Is a “Brainy and Energetic Woman”
Prudence Cumberbatch
3 From Communist Politics to Black Power
Dayo F. Gore
4 Shirley Graham Du Bois
Gerald Horne and Margaret Stevens
5 “A Life History of Being Rebellious”
Jeanne Theoharis
6 Framing the Panther
Joy Jamesvi Contents
7 Revolutionary Women, Revolutionary Education
Ericka Huggins and Angela D. LeBlanc-Ernest
8 Must Revolution Be a Family Affair?
Margo Natalie Crawford
9 Retraining the Heartworks
James Smethurst
10 “Women’s Liberation or . . . Black Liberation, You’re Fighting the Same Enemies”
Sherie M. Randolph
11 To Make That Someday Come
Joshua Guild
12 Denise Oliver and the Young Lords Party
Johanna Fernández
13 Grassroots Leadership and Afro-Asian Solidarities
Diane C. Fujino
14 “We Do Whatever Becomes Necessary”
Premilla Nadasen
About the Contributors

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