How Long? How Long? : African American Women in the Struggle for Civil Rights: African American Women in the Struggle for Civil Rights

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Oxford University Press, USA, Jun 25, 1997 - Social Science - 272 pages
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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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Contents

Introduction
3
Race Gender Relations
36
THREE Women and the Escalation of the Civil Rights Movement
53
FOUR Sustaining the Momentum of the Movement
71
FIVE Sowing the Seeds of Mass Mobilization
86
SIX Bridging Students to the Movement
98
SEVEN Race Class and Culture Matter
115
EIGHT Bringing the Movement Home to Small Cities and Rural Communities
140
TEN The Movement Unravels from the Bottom
173
ELEVEN Theoretical Conclusions
190
EPILOGUE Lessons from Our Past
203
Appendix A The Study
210
Notes
216
Bibliography
235
Index
247
Copyright

NINE Cooperation and Conflict in the Civil Rights Movement
157

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Page vii - Out of the huts of history's shame I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'ma black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise. Ain't That Bad? Dancin' the funky chicken Eatin' ribs and tips Diggin' all the latest sounds And drinkin
Page vii - The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time that she is caught in the tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice, white illogical hate and Black lack of power.
Page vii - You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies*, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room.

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