Urban Humanities and Their Publics

We Are Revolutionaries: What Black Power Tells Us About Democracy in America

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In our homes, on our streets, and in our classrooms, the chant “Black Lives Matter” has become a thundering call to hold the institutions of American democracy accountable for continued racial injustice.  Such demands can seem revolutionary — even incendiary — to those Americans for whom the basic rights of citizenship are rarely, if ever, in question. In the 1960s and 1970s, Black Power activists like Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, and Elaine Brown faced just such criticism as they organized Black communities across America around the right to decent housing, education, healthcare, municipal services, cultural inclusion, and jobs.  Historians Peniel Joseph (Tufts) and Yohuru Williams (Fairfield University) explore the legacy of Black Power’s radical democratic practices and remind us of the potential of just revolution in times of turmoil.

 

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