Catalogue


Black is a country : race and the unfinished struggle for democracy /
Nikhil Pal Singh.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2004.
description
285 p.
ISBN
067401300X (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2004.
isbn
067401300X (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5153955
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Nikhil Pal Singh is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Washington.
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Washington State Book Award, USA, 2005 : Won
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-06-01:
Historically situated in the South during the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States is narrowly associated with the now iconic figure of Martin Luther King Jr. and organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Singh (history, Univ. of Washington) asserts that black challenges to inequality during the movement were the continuation of a pattern of black antiracist organizing that went beyond the South and issues of desegregation and voting rights. Thus he presents the antiracist theories and organizing of black radicals W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Bunche, Ralph Ellison, C.L.R. James, the Black Panthers, and others critical of U.S. public and foreign policies that tout freedom and democracy while at the same time promoting racial exclusion. Singh argues persuasively that the black struggle for social justice has been for universal rights that benefit the nation as a whole and can represent a model of democracy. His historiography and analysis are important and represent a new generation of historians examining the Civil Rights Movement and race in America from fresh perspectives. Suitable for U.S. history collections.-Sherri L. Barnes, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2005-02-01:
Reflecting several new trends in current scholarship, Singh (Univ. of Washington) provides a provocative contribution to civil rights literature. He focuses on a "Long Civil Rights Movement," which for him covers the New Deal through the Great Society and into the 1970s. The roles of Communism, anti-Communism, and the Cold War loom large as impediments to a radical social change that might have led to an alternate form of black empowerment--an argument in keeping with recent literature by scholars such as Mary Dudziak, Thomas Borstelmann, and Jeff Woods. Singh also explicitly challenges the liberal paradigm that has prevailed in civil rights scholarship, placing his work within a wide-ranging tradition that has recently included David Chappell, J. Mills Thornton, and Michael Eric Dyson. On far less stable ground when commenting on the contemporary political climate, the book works far better as scholarship than polemic. As an intellectual history of the long Civil Rights era and exploration of paths not taken as much as those that were, this book stands out. This important contribution places the idea of race as a political idea at the forefront, and will challenge and provoke scholars and students alike. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. C. Catsam University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Reviews
Review Quotes
Black Is a Country is a rare work that succeeds both as theory and as history. Reading and researching widely in movement history, political economy and above all in the writings, speeches and styles of Black intellectuals and activists in the 20th century, Singh shows how African American thinkers and organizers literally made history from the edges. His book should be read by all those who care about how U.S. freedom movements fit into worlds of race.
Black is a Country is an elegant account of the paradoxical relationship between race as a resource of hope and racism as an enduring curse at the core of this country's cultural and political imagination. In lucid and often lyrical prose, Nikhil Singh argues that race functions as a highly durable and oppressive technology yet race simultaneously provided a political space for 20th century intellectuals and activists to enlarge upon the public meaning of words like freedom and democracy. Black is a Country deserves to be widely read; it is the work of a gifted young scholar that promises to provoke a rethinking of classic liberal accounts of race, class and democracy.
Singh argues persuasively that the black struggle for social justice has been for universal rights that benefit the nation as a whole and can represent a model of democracy. His historiography and analysis are important and represent a new generation of historians examining the Civil Rights Movement and race in America from fresh perspectives.
Black is a Country is a work of great urgency; it is one of those books you carry with you, read over and over again, and quote often. Nikhil Singh puts to rest our national founding myth that America was always a source of "justice for all." Instead, he finds within the black radical critique of U.S. racial capitalism a more inclusive, global, and universalist vision which has the potential of renewing democracy and dismantling racism once and for all.
Black is a Country is a beautifully, written, elegantly argued, and exhaustively researched study of the links between African American social movements and new ways of knowing. From his skilled exegesis of 1930s writings by W.E.B. Du Bois through provocative arguments about the prominence of the Black Panther Party during the 1960s to his sophisticated understanding of the limits of both multiculturalism and 'color blind' interchangeability, Singh presents challenging, original, and persuasive interpretations of topics that are much discussed but little understood. This is a splendid book, one that will be widely read, frequently taught, and often cited.
Reflecting several new trends in current scholarship, Singh provides a provocative contribution to civil rights literature. He focuses on a 'Long Civil Rights Movement,' which for him covers the New Deal through the Great Society and into the 1970s. The roles of Communism, anti-Communism, and the Cold War loom large as impediments to a radical social change that might have led to an alternate form of black empowerment...As an intellectual history of the long Civil Rights era and exploration of paths not taken as much as those that were, this book stands out. This important contribution places the idea of race as a political idea at the forefront, and will challenge and provoke scholars and students alike.
In this passionate, conscientiously documented and scholarly work, University of Washington historian Singh reaches beyond the 'short civil rights era' (roughly 1954 to the mid-'60s) to recover 'the more complex and contentious racial history of the long civil rights era,' reaching from the New Deal to the Great Society...As a historical manifesto, this significant contribution to black intellectual history leads directly to the conclusion that current demand for color-blind policy 'is a product of the steady erasure of the legacy of the unfinished struggles against white supremacy.'...The analysis of political philosophy for the period makes a first-rate contribution to African-American intellectual history.
In this passionate, conscientiously documented and scholarly work, University of Washington historian Singh reaches beyond the 'short civil rights era' (roughly 1954 to the mid-'60s) to recover 'the more complex and contentious racial history of the long civil rights era, ' reaching from the New Deal to the Great Society...As a historical manifesto, this significant contribution to black intellectual history leads directly to the conclusion that current demand for color-blind policy 'is a product of the steady erasure of the legacy of the unfinished struggles against white supremacy.'...The analysis of political philosophy for the period makes a first-rate contribution to African-American intellectual history.
Reflecting several new trends in current scholarship, Singh provides a provocative contribution to civil rights literature. He focuses on a 'Long Civil Rights Movement, ' which for him covers the New Deal through the Great Society and into the 1970s. The roles of Communism, anti-Communism, and the Cold War loom large as impediments to a radical social change that might have led to an alternate form of black empowerment...As an intellectual history of the long Civil Rights era and exploration of paths not taken as much as those that were, this book stands out. This important contribution places the idea of race as a political idea at the forefront, and will challenge and provoke scholars and students alike.
This item was reviewed in:
PW Annex Reviews, March 2004
Library Journal, June 2004
Choice, February 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Short Annotation
Despite black gains in modern America, the end of racism is not yet in sight. Nikhil Pal Singh asks what happened to the worldly and radical visions of equality that animated black intellectual activists from W. E. B. Du Bois in the 1930s to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s.
Unpaid Annotation
2005 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award, Organization of American HistoriansDespite black gains in modern America, the end of racism is not yet in sight. Nikhil Pal Singhasks what happened to the worldly, egalitarian visions that animated black intellectualactivists from W. E. B. Du Bois in the 1930s to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s and blackmilitants in the 1970s. In so doing, he constructs an alternative history of civil rights in thetwentieth century, in which radical hopes and global dreams are recognized as central to thehistory of black struggle. "Black is a Country deserves to be widely read; it is the work of agifted young scholar that promises to provoke a rethinking of classic liberal accounts of race,class and democracy." -Lani Guinier, Harvard Law School and coauthor of The Miner'sCanary "Black is a Country is a work of great urgency; it is one of those books you carry withyou, read over and over again, and quote often. Singh finds within the black radical critique ofU.S. racial capitalism an inclusive, global, and universalist vision which has the potential ofrenewing democracy and dismantling racism once and for all." -Robin D. G. Kelley,Columbia University and author of Freedom Dreams
Main Description
Despite black gains in modern America, the end of racism is not yet in sight. Nikhil Pal Singh asks what happened to the worldly and radical visions of equality that animated black intellectual activists from W. E. B. Du Bois in the 1930s to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s. In so doing, he constructs an alternative history of civil rights in the twentieth century, a long civil rights era, in which radical hopes and global dreams are recognized as central to the history of black struggle. It is through the words and thought of key black intellectuals, like Du Bois, Ralph Bunche, C. L. R. James, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and others, as well as movement activists like Malcolm X and Black Panthers, that vital new ideas emerged and circulated. Their most important achievement was to create and sustain a vibrant, black public sphere broadly critical of U.S. social, political, and civic inequality. Finding racism hidden within the universalizing tones of reform-minded liberalism at home and global democratic imperatives abroad, race radicals alienated many who saw them as dangerous and separatist. Few wanted to hear their message then, or even now, and yet, as Singh argues, their passionate skepticism about the limits of U.S. democracy remains as indispensable to a meaningful reconstruction of racial equality and universal political ideals today as it ever was.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Civil Rights, Civic Mythsp. 1
Rethinking Race and Nationp. 15
Reconstructing Democracyp. 58
Internationalizing Freedomp. 101
Americanizing the Negrop. 134
Decolonizing Americap. 174
Conclusion: Racial Justice beyond Civil Rightsp. 212
Notesp. 227
Acknowledgmentsp. 277
Indexp. 279
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem