Radio Free Dixie, Second Edition: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power

Radio Free Dixie, Second Edition: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power

by Timothy B. Tyson

NOOK BookSecond Edition (eBook - Second Edition)

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This classic book tells the remarkable story of Robert F. Williams (1925-1996), one of the most influential black activists of the generation that toppled Jim Crow and forever altered the arc of American history. In the late 1950s, Williams, as president of the Monroe, North Carolina, branch of the NAACP, and his followers used machine guns, dynamite, and Molotov cocktails to confront Klan terrorists. Advocating "armed self-reliance," Williams challenged not only white supremacists but also Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights establishment. Forced to flee during the 1960s to Cuba--where he broadcast "Radio Free Dixie," a program of black politics and music that could be heard as far away as Los Angeles and New York City--and then to China, Williams remained a controversial figure for the rest of his life.

Radio Free Dixie reveals that nonviolent civil rights protest and armed resistance movements grew out of the same soil, confronted the same predicaments, and reflected the same quest for African American freedom. As Robert Williams's story demonstrates, independent black political action, black cultural pride, and armed self-reliance operated in the South in tension and in tandem with legal efforts and nonviolent protest.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469652047
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 01/28/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 424
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

Timothy B. Tyson is senior research scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, adjunct professor of American studies at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, and author of The Blood of Emmett Till.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Tim Tyson, by excavating the story of Robert Williams, has served to deepen an understanding of the Cold War-era African-American freedom struggle. His exploration of the meaning of race, gender and class in the South of the 1950s is an eye opener. His portrayal of the deep undercurrents and diverse strands of resistance to Jim Crow should be read by all those concerned not only with the hidden history, but with the ongoing American dilemma of an evolving but still all-too-persistent color line.—Madison, WI Capital Times

Radio Free Dixie is a superb biography, one that will change the way we think about the black freedom struggle of the 1950s and early 1960s. Tyson eloquently portrays Robert F. Williams as an activist ahead of his time. Occupying the ideological territory between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, Williams led nonviolent protests while developing a philosophy of self-defense that at times bordered on a call to armed insurrection.—John Dittmer, DePauw University

[An] excellent book. . . . Timothy Tyson has done Williams, and scholars of 20th century world radicalisms, a great service with Radio Free Dixie. . . . Definitive in its coverage of Williams's life between his birth in North Carolina in 1925 and his exile to Cuba in 1961.—Against The Current

[A] radiant biography. . . . Tyson is that rarest of writers: a successful scholar who can actually tell a compelling story in clear, even handsome language. . . . Tyson sharpens our historical focus, demonstrating just how crucial self-defense, guns, and nonviolence were to the successes of the black freedom struggle.—Village Voice Literary Supplement

This wonderful book will help the younger generation understand the depths of terror and repression which African Americans were exposed to and the courage, intelligence, resourcefulness, and irreplaceable role of one of its truly great working class leaders.—Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Rutgers University

[A] stunning new biography. . . . Written in lucid and confident prose with a solid reliance on first-hand accounts, Radio Free Dixie presents an engaging portrait of one man's continuous struggle to resist political and social oppression.—Emerge

[This] book couldn't be more timely because it challenges the effort of many white Americans to sanitize, deny and distort the past, often in the name of heritage.—Raleigh News & Observer

Tyson's firecracker text crackles with brilliant and lasting images of black life in the Carolinas and across the South in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Liberally peppered with quotes from Williams . . . the book is imbued with the man's voice and his indefatigable spirit. . . . Tyson successfully portrays Williams as a troubled visionary, a strong, stubborn and imperfect man, one who greatly influenced what became the Black Power Movement and its young leaders.—Publishers Weekly

Timothy Tyson has written a compelling story that needed to be told and now needs to be read by all who care about race, courage, and humanity. Robert Williams was an inspiration to many and a threat to others; Tyson gives him his proper due.—Julian Bond

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