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In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own.
In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women's political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women -- Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more -- who were the vanguard of women's rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.
Contributors are Mia E. Bay, Judith Byfield, Alexandra Cornelius, Thadious Davis, Corinne T. Field, Arlette Frund, Kaiama L. Glover, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, Natasha Lightfoot, Sherie Randolph, Barbara D. Savage, Jon Sensbach, Maboula Soumahoro, and Cheryl Wall.
With essays on U.S. history ranging from the American Revolution to the dawn of the twenty-first century, Contested Democracy illuminates struggles waged over freedom and citizenship throughout the American past. Guided by a commitment to democratic citizenship and responsible scholarship, the contributors to this volume insist that rigorous engagement with history is essential to a vital democracy, particularly amid the current erosion of human rights and civil liberties within the United States and abroad. Emphasizing the contradictory ways in which freedom has developed within the United States and in the exercise of American power abroad, these essays probe challenges to American democracy through conflicts shaped by race, slavery, gender, citizenship, political economy, immigration, law, empire, and the idea of the nation state.
In this volume, writers demonstrate how opposition to the expansion of democracy has shaped the American tradition as much as movements for social and political change. By foregrounding those who have been marginalized in U.S society as well as the powerful, these historians and scholars argue for an alternative vision of American freedom that confronts the limitations, failings, and contradictions of U.S. power. Their work provides crucial insight into the role of the United States in this latest age of American empire and the importance of different and oppositional visions of American democracy and freedom.
At a time of intense disillusionment with U.S. politics and of increasing awareness of the costs of empire, these contributors argue that responsible historical scholarship can challenge the blatant manipulation of discourses on freedom. They call for careful and conscientious scholarship not only to illuminate contemporary problems but also to act as a bulwark against mythmaking in the service of cynical political ends.
Unlike white women activists, who often created their own institutions separate from men, black women, Jones explains, often organized within already existing institutions--churches, political organizations, mutual aid societies, and schools. Covering three generations of black women activists, Jones demonstrates that their approach was not unanimous or monolithic but changed over time and took a variety of forms, from a woman's right to control her body to her right to vote. Through a far-ranging look at politics, church, and social life, Jones demonstrates how women have helped shape the course of black public culture.
A respected group of contributors from diverse generations and backgrounds argue for new chronologies, more inclusive conceptualizations of feminist agendas and participants, and fuller engagements with contestations around particular issues and practices. Race, class, and sexuality are explored within histories of women's rights and feminism as well as the cultural and intellectual currents and social and political priorities that marked movements for women's advancement and liberation. These essays question whether the concept of waves surging and receding can fully capture the complexities of U.S. feminisms and suggest models for reimagining these histories from radio waves to hip-hop.
Coinciding with the 2020 US presidential election, Drawing the Vote, an original graphic novel, looks at the history of voting rights in the United States and how it affects the way we vote today. Throughout the book, the author, Tommy Jenkins, identifies events and trends that led to the unprecedented results of the 2016 presidential election that left American political parties more estranged than ever. To balance these complex ideas and statistics, Kati Lacker’s original artistic style makes the book accessible for readers of all ages. At a time when many citizens are experiencing challenges and apathy about voting and skepticism concerning our bitterly divided government, Drawing the Vote seeks to offer some explanation for how we got here and how every American can take action to make their vote count.
Over the long nineteenth century, African-descended peoples used the uncertainties and possibilities of emancipation to stake claims to freedom, equality, and citizenship. In the process, people of color transformed the contours of communities, nations, and the Atlantic World. Although emancipation was an Atlantic event, it has been studied most often in geographically isolated ways. The justification for such local investigations rests in the notion that imperial and national contexts are essential to understanding slaving regimes. Just as the experience of slavery differed throughout the Atlantic World, so too did the experience of emancipation, as enslaved people’s paths to freedom varied depending on time and place.
With the essays in this volume, historians contend that emancipation was not something that simply happened to enslaved peoples but rather something in which they actively participated. By viewing local experiences through an Atlantic framework, the contributors reveal how emancipation was both a shared experience across national lines and one shaped by the particularities of a specific nation. Their examination uncovers, in detail, the various techniques employed by people of African descent across the Atlantic World, allowing a broader picture of their paths to freedom.
Contributors: Ikuko Asaka, Caree A. Banton, Celso Thomas Castilho, Gad Heuman, Martha S. Jones, Philip Kaisary, John Garrison Marks, Paul J. Polgar, James E. Sanders, Julie Saville, Matthew Spooner, Whitney Nell Stewart, and Andrew N. Wegmann.
This landmark collection of newly commissioned essays explores how diverse women of African descent have practiced religion as part of the work of their ordinary and sometimes extraordinary lives. By examining women from North America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Africa, the contributors identify the patterns that emerge as women, religion, and diaspora intersect, mapping fresh approaches to this emergent field of inquiry.
The volume focuses on issues of history, tradition, and the authenticity of African-derived spiritual practices in a variety of contexts, including those where memories of suffering remain fresh and powerful. The contributors discuss matters of power and leadership and of religious expressions outside of institutional settings. The essays study women of Christian denominations, African and Afro-Caribbean traditions, and Islam, addressing their roles as spiritual leaders, artists and musicians, preachers, and participants in bible-study groups.
This volume's transnational mixture, along with its use of creative analytical approaches, challenges existing paradigms and summons new models for studying women, religions, and diasporic shiftings across time and space.
Volume 3, Number 4
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SPECIAL ISSUE: PROCLAIMING EMANCIPATION AT 150
Martha S. Jones, Guest Editor
History and Commemoration: The Emancipation Proclamation at 150
Reluctant to Emancipate? Another Look at the First Confiscation Act
Stephen Sawyer & William J. Novak
Emancipation and the Creation of Modern Liberal States in America and France
Rose's War and the Gendered Politics of a Slave Insurgency in the Civil War
Emancipation Encounters: The Meaning of Freedom from the Pages of Civil War Sketchbooks
Notes on Contributors