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Black Power

, 280 pages

6 halftones, 3 line drawings

October 2004



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Black Power

Radical Politics and African American Identity

Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

In the 1960s, the Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party gave voice to many economically disadvantaged and politically isolated African Americans, especially outside the South. Though vilified as extremist and marginal, they were formidable agents of influence and change during the civil rights era and ultimately shaped the Black Power movement. In this fresh study, drawing on deep archival research and interviews with key participants, Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar reconsiders the commingled stories of—and popular reactions to—the Nation of Islam, Black Panthers, and mainstream civil rights leaders. Ogbar finds that many African Americans embraced the seemingly contradictory political agenda of desegregation and nationalism. Indeed, black nationalism was far more favorably received among African Americans than historians have previously acknowledged. Black Power reveals a civil rights movement in which the ideals of desegregation through nonviolence and black nationalism marched side by side.

Ogbar concludes that Black Power had more lasting cultural consequences among African Americans and others than did the civil rights movement, engendering minority pride and influencing the political, cultural, and religious spheres of mainstream African American life for the next three decades.

Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar is an associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut.

"The best account of the Black Panther Party in print... this is an outstanding work."

"Jeffrey Ogbar's wonderfully evocative study greatly enhances our understanding of the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party, and the impact these groups had on Black Power era notions of self-love and collective identity. It is a welcome addition to the still-small body of scholarship which seeks to document the influence of African-American nationalist beliefs on contemporary culture and politics."

"Black Power is a distinct contribution to the new scholarship on the Black freedom movement. Ogbar is among the best of a new generation of imaginative and critical scholars, probing past assumptions and challenging old understandings of such groups as the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam. While Ogbar's analysis is bound to become the center of lively debates, his singular interpretation rests on sound research, including an impressive array of movement interviews."

"Will be a lasting contribution to the scholarship on the African American freedom struggle, on the ways in which gender and class are implicated in the construction of racial and ethnic identities, and on American race relations more generally."

"This book will be the standard-bearer on the subject for years to come."

"An intriguing foray into a time and place in American history that has been visited far too infrequently by historians and others."

"Black Power is an intellectual triumph... well organized."

"An important contribution to the growing field of Black Power Studies."

"Ambitious, challenging, and, ultimately, rewarding book."

"As an introduction to the history of black power and black nationalism in the mid-to-late twentieth century America, this book provides a valuable overview of the sources, central issues, and influences of those movements."

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