How Movements Are Made: Two books bring the history of the civil rights struggle to a modern audience.

AuthorStockwell, Norman
PositionBOOKS - "W.E.B. Du Bois: The Lost and the Found," and "Time to Teach: A History of the Southern Civil Rights Movement"

The deaths, on the same day this past July, of the Reverend C.T. Vivian and U.S. Representative John Lewis remind us that many of the leaders of past struggles for civil rights are passing away, just as a new generation of activists are reinvigorating these movements. Two new books bring this alive in a powerful and accessible way.

In W.E.B. Du Bois: The Lost and the Found, a new monograph for the Polity series "Black Lives," Elvira Basevich, a poet and assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, puts the early twentieth-century writing of Du Bois in the context of twenty-first-century anti-racist work.

Sociologist and civil rights activist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois published his classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, more than a century ago. In a combination of analysis, storytelling, autobiography, and gospel song, Du Bois sought to address what he saw as the crucial issue of the time: "the color line."

As Basevich writes, "Against this flood of ignorance, as a young journalist and social scientist, Du Bois set to work to find a meaningful way to talk about racial differences that was both scientifically objective and that empowered vulnerable racial groups."

Du Bois, Basevich explains, "charted the historical legacy of slavery in the twentieth century and identified key goals for future social justice movements."

Du Bois built his model of leadership around the ideal of "direct community engagement and representation."

He "remained absorbed with the same recurring questions that defined his storied life: How can the promise of a brighter future be delivered to African and Afro-descendant peoples?"

Similarly, Julian Bond's Time to Teach: A History of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, a new collection of the legendary activist and educator's writing, carefully compiled from Bond's lecture notes and lightly edited for publication by Jeanne Theoharis and Bond's widow, Pamela Sue Horowitz, brings the wealth of his movement experience to the young leaders of today.

Horace Julian Bond died on August 15, 2015, seven months after his seventy-fifth...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT