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White Australia Has A Black History: William Cooper And First Nations Peoples’ Political Activism (First Nations True Stories) Paperback – August 28, 2019
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But his people could not vote and were not even counted in the census. How could he get the government to listen to him? Would his skills in oratory, letter-writing and organizing his people into the first national black organization achieve his goals or would his activism bring backlash?
Betrayed by the Prime Minister who would not forward his petition to the King of England, Cooper joined with other leaders in Sydney for the 150th anniversary of white settlement and organized a protest called the Day of Mourning. This set in train the controversy that still surrounds Australia Day today. Cooper campaigned for the truth of the black history of white Australia to be told. He mentored future generations of leaders who are still calling for “voice, treaty, truth” today. This book covers the history of the struggle for First Nations peoples’ human rights from settlement to today.
William Cooper was born in 1860 to his tribal mother who saw the first white settlers come to the Murray River. He lost his son Dan in World War 1. Cooper was anguished that Aboriginal soldiers gave their lives for a country that had stolen their land and dignity. He campaigned for a new deal but was it a pipe dream?
Cooper’s health was failing but he had lit a fire that would not be put out. One of those who picked up the baton was his grandson, Alf Turner or Uncle Boydie. Could Uncle Boydie unearth the petition Cooper meant for the King in the 1930’s and find a way to get it to the King’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth 11? Poetic justice but a near-impossible task.
Historian Barbara Miller has written a number of riveting books on Australian history and biography and makes history come alive. Miller was a finalist in the Queensland Literary Awards for the Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance in 2018 for her memoir “White Woman Black Heart: Journey Home to Old Mapoon.”Click “Buy Now” & discover Australia’s hidden history!
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From the Author
Also, as William Cooper was a pioneer of the Aboriginal movement for human rights in Australia, much of what has happened since his passing has built on the platform he established. This means book No 1 really becomes a history of Indigenous affairs from contact till today. However, William Cooper was not alone. The stories of other key Aboriginal leaders of his time and beyond are also covered.
It is a privilege for me to bring this story to you. As you will see, I became part of the unfolding story and maybe you will too.
About the Author
Her memoir White Woman Black Heart: Journey Home to Old Mapoon, A Memoir was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards in 2018 for the main prize, the Queensland Premier's Award for a Work of State Significance.
Her first book on the Holocaust was the biography called William Cooper, Gentle Warrior: Standing Up for Indigenous Australians and Persecuted Jews in 2012. Cooper was a Christian Aboriginal Australian who, as well as being an activist for his people, led one of the few private protests worldwide against Kristallnacht. He has been honoured at Yad Vashem for that. Barbara is updating the 2012 book into two books with the first - White Australia Has A Black History: First Nations People's Political Activism, just published.
Barbara's own history of activism and her work for Aboriginal organisations such as the North Queensland Land Council which she helped establish in 1975-7 and the Aboriginal Coordinating Council (ACC) of which she was CEO in the 1990s, have given her an insider's view. The ACC was a statutory body representing remote Aboriginal local government councils.
If I Survive: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 100-year-old Lena Goldstein's Miracle Story is Barbara's second book on the Holocaust. This gripping biography of Lena Goldstein is the first in a series called Faces of Eve and has come out of Barbara's long history of involvement with the Jewish community in Australia and Israel.
She wrote an intriguing historical biography in 2014 on European adventurers such as Quiros, Torres and Janszoon who voyaged through the Pacific Islands in the early 1600s looking for a large south land. Barbara followed in 2018 with her memoir, White Woman Black Heart and The Dying Days of Segregation in Australia:Case Study Yarrabah.
- Publisher : Barbara Miller Books (August 28, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 064847223X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0648472230
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.73 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,309,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The author has set forth a monumental production examining injustice perpetrated upon an indigenous people. In her exhaustive examination of the basics upon which the moves were initiated and the manner in which they constantly were re initiated and enforced she has presented a quite scholarly work supported by a large number of references as well as a hundred and ninety pertinent end-notes. Truly a remarkable accomplishment that does indeed show a dark history of disdain for the rights of individuals. It also is a tribute to William Cooper and the many others that attempted to regain not only the aboriginals land but their self-respect. The government’s demonstration of utter disdain is so reminiscent of that of the United States and its rough shod over-ride of the American Indian by their false treaties and promises, and the resulting “Trail of Tears”, the massacres and more. These quite parallel situations bring to mind a most interesting situation extant in each country – a basic and undying pride in their heritage demonstrated by an Australian woman and an American Indian man. Both often have been criticized for their early actions when others were immersed in the struggle for their people. Again simply demonstrating a somewhat similar lack of understanding with little knowledge of a situation and similarly lacking empathy. Isn’t it often said the “Everyone should have a dream to pursue and the more dire one’s circumstances, the greater the need for that dream”? And after the younger age at which they forged ahead with their dreams, both later returned to their roots with pride and proceeded to provide extensive help for their people.
The young Australian woman was Evonne Goolagong, daughter of a locally famous athlete mother who persisted in urging on her daughter, who became one of tennis’ multi-winning champions, including Wimbledon, in the 1970’s – 80’s. The young Indian was Billy Mills, the Oglala Sioux boy who against all odds gained the 1964 Olympic Gold Medal following a dream implanted by a desperate father in the mind of a grieving 8-year-old who had just lost his mother.
Discussion: Thus to reiterate, the author has provided a well-documented, exhaustive history of the manner in which still another group of indigenous people have been severely mistreated. Her extensive research has set forth and examined in detail each abominable act and has provided more than ample supportive data. It is a treasure trove of indisputable fact. The almost overwhelming detail leaves no space for any type of denial. Regrettably however, this makes movement through the material quite slow so readers, other than those interested in the many unacceptable actions perpetrated by governments, may find this to be somewhat of a deterrent to acquiring this fascinating material.
William Cooper’s political activism forced the Australian government to recognize the humanity of Aborigines. Miller paints a grim picture of the brutal treatment endured by these people when the first settlers started to arrive. As the settlers’ activities caused drastic changes to the delicate ecosystem, the Aborigines faced starvation as their hunting grounds were overrun. They also suffered the indignity of seeing their sacred areas being treated with disregard.
Miller’s book details Cooper’s efforts to peacefully reshape Australia’s political landscape and give the First Nation people a true voice. She also details her own experiences, giving the book even more emotional weight and resonance.
William Cooper had various jobs throughout his life, but when he realized how difficult it would be to get a pension, he started on the path to political activism. Unlike many activists, Cooper started to champion the rights of Aboriginal Australians when he was in his seventies. This makes his work and his achievements all the more compelling. This is a worthwhile read for both the author’s personal viewpoint and a look at the many challenges faced by the Aborigines and those who supported them.
The author did a lot of research which helps to shed light on the cruelties of white settlers/settlement on native people. The documented acts of cruelty meted out to native Australians, the Aborigines, cannot be disputed; however, it does make for slow reading. This book is recommended for anyone who wants some background of the history of Australia.
Top reviews from other countries
This book should be mandatory reading in the Australian school curriculum.