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Want to Start a Revolution?: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle

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Uncovers the often overlooked stories of the women who shaped the black freedom struggle

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.

ISBN-13: 9780814783146

Publisher: New York University Press

Publication Date: 12-01-2009

Pages: 370

Product Dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Jeanne Theoharis (Editor) Jeanne Theoharis is distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of numerous books and articles on the black freedom struggle, including the award-winning The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Beacon Press, 2013) and most recently A More Beautiful and Terrible History (Beacon Press, 2018). Komozi Woodard (Editor) 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. Dayo F. Gore (Editor) Dayo F. Gore is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies at the Universityof California, San Diego and has previously taught at the Universityof 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).

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