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
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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 domain 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.
 

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Contents

Secret Rites Public Power
1
1 The Specter of Democracy
23
2 A Cartography of Democracy
45
3 Ritual and Revolution
86
4 A New Political Ideology
128
5 The Democratic Uses of Ritual and Secrecy
175
Race Ritual and the Struggle for Democracy in America
219
Notes
227
Index
281
back cover
291
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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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