A Noble Fight: African American Freemasonry and the Struggle for Democracy in America

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University of Illinois Press, Oct 1, 2010 - Social Science - 304 pages
A Noble Fight examines the metaphors and meanings behind the African American appropriation of the culture, ritual, and institution of freemasonry in navigating the contested terrain of American democracy. Combining cultural and political theory with extensive archival research--including the discovery of a rare collection of nineteenth-century records of an African American Freemason Lodge--Corey D. B. Walker provides an innovative perspective on American politics and society during the long transition from slavery to freedom.

With great care and detail, Walker argues that African American freemasonry provides a critical theoretical lens for understanding the distinctive ways African Americans have constructed a radically democratic political imaginary through racial solidarity and political nationalism, forcing us to reconsider much more circumspectly the complex relationship between voluntary associations and democratic politics.

Mapping the discursive logics of the language of freemasonry as a metaphoric rendering of American democracy, this study interrogates the concrete forms of an associational culture, revealing how paradoxical aspects of freemasonry such as secrecy and public association inform the production of particular ideas and expressions of democracy in America.



Secret Rites Public Power
1 The Specter of Democracy
2 A Cartography of Democracy
3 Ritual and Revolution
4 A New Political Ideology
5 The Democratic Uses of Ritual and Secrecy
Race Ritual and the Struggle for Democracy in America
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About the author (2010)

Corey D. B. Walker is an assistant professor in the department of Africana Studies at Brown University.

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