New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965-1975

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

The most comprehensive account available of the rise and fall of the Black Power Movement and of its dramatic transformation of both African-American and larger American culture. With a gift for storytelling and an ear for street talk, William Van Deburg chronicles a decade of deep change, from the armed struggles of the Black Panther party to the cultural nationalism of artists and writers creating a new aesthetic. Van Deburg contends that although its tactical gains were sometimes short-lived, the Black Power movement did succeed in making a revolution—one in culture and consciousness—that has changed the context of race in America.

"New Day in Babylon is an extremely intelligent synthesis, a densely textured evocation of one of American history's most revolutionary transformations in ethnic group consciousness."—Bob Blauner, New York Times

Winner of the Gustavus Myers Center Outstanding Book Award, 1993
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Sep 1, 1993
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Pages
388
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ISBN
9780226172354
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / United States / 20th Century
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X. Muhammad Ali. When you think of African American history, you think of its heroes—individuals endowed with courage and strength who are celebrated for their bold exploits and nobility of purpose. But what of black villains? Villains, just as much as heroes, have helped define the black experience.

Ranging from black slaveholders and frontier outlaws to serial killers and gangsta rappers, Hoodlums examines the pivotal role of black villains in American society and popular culture. Here, William L. Van Deburg offers the most extensive treatment to date of the black badman and the challenges that this figure has posed for race relations in America. He first explores the evolution of this problematic racial stereotype in the literature of the early Republic—documents in which the enslavement of African Americans was justified through exegetical claims. Van Deburg then probes antebellum slave laws, minstrel shows, and the works of proslavery polemicists to consider how whites conceptualized blacks as members of an inferior and dangerous race. Turning to key works by blacks themselves, from the writings of Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois to classic blaxploitation films like Black Caesar and The Mack, Van Deburg demonstrates how African Americans have combated such negative stereotypes and reconceptualized the idea of the badman through stories of social bandits—controversial individuals vilified by whites for their proclivity toward evil, but revered in the black community as necessarily insurgent and revolutionary.

Ultimately, Van Deburg brings his story up-to-date with discussions of prison and hip-hop culture, urban rioting, gang warfare, and black-on-black crime. What results is a work of remarkable virtuosity—a nuanced history that calls for both whites and blacks to rethink received wisdom on the nature and prevalence of black villainy.
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