African American Voices: A Documentary Reader from Emancipation to the Present

By Ponton, David,, III | The Journal of Southern History, May 2015 | Go to article overview

African American Voices: A Documentary Reader from Emancipation to the Present


Ponton, David,, III, The Journal of Southern History


African American Voices: A Documentary Reader from Emancipation to the Present. Edited by Leslie Brown. Uncovering the Past: Documentary Readers in American History. (Malden, Mass.: John Wiley and Sons, 2014. Pp. xvi, 325. Paper, $39.95, ISBN 978-1-4443-3941-3; cloth, $99.95, ISBN 978-1-4443-3940-6.) Arranged for the Uncovering the Past: Documentary Readers in American History series, African American Voices: A Documentary Reader from Emancipation to the Present is Leslie Brown's contribution. Brown eschews familiar categories for periodizing black history, especially for the moments between 1960 and 1977, where she identifies an early period of "revolt," a middle period of "power," and a final "revolutionary" period. Brown finds "the civil rights movement," as an expression, "limiting" in its ability to fully capture how long and enduring civil rights struggles have been for blacks in the United States (p. 7). Brown introduces each of the twelve chapters of the book, providing some context and, sometimes, modeling the practice of posing historical questions. Some of the documents in the reader are familiar, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Others are welcome surprises, omitted from similar collections like Manning Marable's classic Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal: An African American Anthology (Lanham, Md. …

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