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Set the world on fire : black nationalist women and the global struggle for freedom

by Blain, Keisha N., 1985-

Format: Print Book 2018
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 2 copies
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E185.6.B65 2018
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E185.6.B65 2018
Unavailable (1)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Homewood African American CHECKED OUT
Location  CLP - Homewood
Collection  African American

In 1932, Mittie Maude Lena Gordon spoke to a crowd of black Chicagoans at the old Jack Johnson boxing ring, rallying their support for emigration to West Africa. In 1937, Celia Jane Allen traveled to Jim Crow Mississippi to organize rural black workers around black nationalist causes. In the late 1940s, from her home in Kingston, Jamaica, Amy Jacques Garvey launched an extensive letter-writing campaign to defend the Greater Liberia Bill, which would relocate 13 million black Americans to West Africa.

Gordon, Allen, and Jacques Garvey--as well as Maymie De Mena, Ethel Collins, Amy Ashwood, and Ethel Waddell--are part of an overlooked and understudied group of black women who take center stage in Set the World on Fire , the first book to examine how black nationalist women engaged in national and global politics from the early twentieth century to the 1960s. Historians of the era generally portray the period between the Garvey movement of the 1920s and the Black Power movement of the 1960s as one of declining black nationalist activism, but Keisha N. Blain reframes the Great Depression, World War II, and the early Cold War as significant eras of black nationalist--and particularly, black nationalist women's--ferment.

In Chicago, Harlem, and the Mississippi Delta, from Britain to Jamaica, these women built alliances with people of color around the globe, agitating for the rights and liberation of black people in the United States and across the African diaspora. As pragmatic activists, they employed multiple protest strategies and tactics, combined numerous religious and political ideologies, and forged unlikely alliances in their struggles for freedom. Drawing on a variety of previously untapped sources, including newspapers, government records, songs, and poetry, Set the World on Fire highlights the flexibility, adaptability, and experimentation of black women leaders who demanded equal recognition and participation in global civil society.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Blain, assistant professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, illuminates an oft-ignored period of black nationalist and internationalist activism in the U.S.: the Great Depression, World War II, and early Cold War. Her engrossing study shows that much of this activism was led by African-American and Afro-Caribbean women. As racism intensified the sufferings of black Americans during the Depression, people of color in Africa and the Caribbean were increasingly agitated by British imperial rule; this circumstance encouraged female activists who had participated in Marcus Garvey's movement to see the task of fighting white supremacy as one that united people of African descent across physical and political boundaries. Blain bolsters the roll of well-known black internationalists with less-familiar figures such as Chicago "street scholar" Mittie Maude Lena Gordon, who urged black Americans to emigrate to West Africa; Josephine Moody, who argued that black freedom could come only from the global overthrow of white power and urged African-Americans to "set the world on fire"; and Ethel Collins, who called on women to resist patriarchy within the black-nationalist movement. Adding essential chapters to the story of this movement, Blain expands current understanding of the central roles played by female activists at home and overseas. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Series Politics and culture in modern America.
Subjects Black nationalism -- History -- 20th century.
African diaspora -- History -- 20th century.
Pan-Africanism -- History -- 20th century.
African American women -- Political activity -- History -- 20th century.
African American women political activists -- History -- 20th century.
Women -- Political activity -- United States -- History.
Publisher Philadelphia :2018
Language English
Description 255 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm.
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 201-239) and index.
ISBN 9780812249880
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