Ronald W. Walters and the Fight for Black Power, 1969-2010

SUNY Press
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 Combines history and biography to interpret the last half century of black politics in America as represented in the life and work of a pivotal African American public intellectual.

From his leadership of the first modern lunch counter sit-ins at age twenty to his work on African American reparations at the time of his death at age seventy-two, Ronald W. Walters (1938–2010) was at the cutting edge of African American politics. A preeminent scholar, activist, and media commentator, he was founding chair of the Black Studies Department at Brandeis, where he shaped the epistemological parameters of the new discipline. Walters was an early strategist of congressional black power and a longtime advocate of a black presidential candidacy. His writings on the politics of race in America both predicted the constraints on President Obama in advancing African American interests and anticipated the emergence of the white nationalism found in the Tea Party and Donald Trump insurgency. In this fascinating book, Robert C. Smith combines history and biography to offer an overview of the last half century of black politics in America through the lens of the life and work of the man often described as the W. E. B. Du Bois of his time.

“This book makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of one of the most pivotal scholarly voices in global black politics of the twentieth century. Smith has done an excellent job capturing the personality, history, and the interpersonal affections and loyalties of this extraordinary man.” — Todd C. Shaw, author of Now Is the Time! Detroit Black Politics and Grassroots Activism

“Organizing Ron’s biography around the evolution of the black struggle is a really great and appropriate idea; the struggle and Ron were one.” — Mack H. Jones, author of Knowledge, Power, and Black Politics: Collected Essays
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About the author

 Robert C. Smith is Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University. His many books include African American Leadership, coauthored with Walters, and What Has This Got to Do with the Liberation of Black People? The Impact of Ronald W. Walters on African American Thought and Leadership (coedited with Cedric Johnson and Robert G. Newby), both also published by SUNY Press.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2018
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Pages
354
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ISBN
9781438468686
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Language
English
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Genres
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Political
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Advocacy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Rowley family's struggle began when Amy entered kindergarten and culminated five years later in a pivotal decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. In effect, the Court majority concluded that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act did not mandate equal opportunity for children with disabilities in classes with typical children; a disappointing decision for disability advocates.

The Supreme Court decided that schools were required only to provide enough help for children with disabilities to pass from grade to grade. The Court reversed the lower courts' rulings, which had granted Amy an interpreter, setting a precedent that could affect the quality of education for all individuals with disabilities.

From the time Amy entered kindergarten in Peekskill, New York, her parents battled with school officials to get a sign language interpreter in the classroom. Nancy and Clifford Rowley, also deaf, struggled with officials for their own right to a communications process in which they could fully participate. Stuck in limbo was a bright, inquisitive child, forced to rely on partial lipreading of rapid classroom instruction and interaction, and sound amplifiers that were often broken and always cumbersome.

R.C. Smith chronicles the Rowley family's dealings with school boards, lawyers, teachers, expert consultants, advocates, and supporters, and their staunch determination to get through the exhaustive process of presenting the case time after time to school adjudicative bodies and finally the federal courts. The author also documents his own "coming to awareness" about how the "able" see the "disabled."



In the series Health, Society, and Policy, edited by Sheryl Ruzek and Irving Kenneth Zola.

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