The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt

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The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt
Title The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt
Author
Publisher Atlantic Monthly Press
Release DateMay 12, 2020
Category History
Total Pages 804 pages
ISBN B07YBLK993
Book Rating 4.7 out of 5 from 104 reviews
Language EN, ES, BE, DA ,DE , NL and FR
Book Review & Summary:

A magnificently researched, dramatically told work of narrative nonfiction about the history, evolution, impact, and ultimate demise of what was known in the 1930s and 1940s as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Black Cabinet. In the early 20th century, most African Americans still lived in the South, disenfranchised, impoverished, terrorized by white violence, and denied the basic rights of citizenship. As the Democrats swept into the White House on a wave of black defectors from the Party of Lincoln, a group of African American intellectuals—legal minds, social scientists, media folk—sought to get the community’s needs on the table. This would become the Black Cabinet, a group of African American racial affairs experts working throughout the New Deal, forming an unofficial advisory council to lobby the President. But with the white Southern vote so important to the fortunes of the Party, the path would be far from smooth. Most prominent in the Black Cabinet were Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator close to Eleanor Roosevelt, and her “boys”: Robert Weaver, a Harvard-educated economist who pioneered enforcement standards for federal anti-discrimination guidelines (and, years later, the first African American Cabinet secretary); Bill Hastie, a lawyer who would become a federal appellate judge; Al Smith, head of the largest black jobs program in the New Deal at the WPA; and Robert Vann, a newspaper publisher whose unstinting reporting on the administration’s shortcomings would keep his erstwhile colleagues honest. Ralph Bunche, Walter White of the NAACP, A. Philip Randolph, and others are part of the story as well. But the Black Cabinet was never officially recognized by FDR, and with the demise of the New Deal, it disappeared from history. Jill Watts’s The Black Cabinet is a dramatic full-scale examination of a forgotten moment that speaks directly to our own.

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Publisher Atlantic Monthly Press
Release Date 2020-05-12
Category History
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Book Summary:

A magnificently researched, dramatically told work of narrative nonfiction about the history, evolution, impact, and ultimate demise of what was known in the 1930s and 1940s as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Black Cabinet. In the early 20th century, most African Americans still lived in the South, disenfranchised, impoverished, terrorized by white violence, and denied the basic rights of citizenship. As the Democrats swept into the White House on a wave of black defectors from the Party of Lincoln, a group of African American intellectuals—legal minds, social scientists, media folk—sought to get the community’s needs on the table. This would become the Black Cabinet, a group of African American racial affairs experts working throughout the New Deal, forming an unofficial advisory council to lobby the President. But with the white Southern vote so important to the fortunes of the Party, the path would be far from smooth. Most prominent in the Black Cabinet were Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator close to Eleanor Roosevelt, and her “boys”: Robert Weaver, a Harvard-educated economist who pioneered enforcement standards for federal anti-discrimination guidelines (and, years later, the first African American Cabinet secretary); Bill Hastie, a lawyer who would become a federal appellate judge; Al Smith, head of the largest black jobs program in the New Deal at the WPA; and Robert Vann, a newspaper publisher whose unstinting reporting on the administration’s shortcomings would keep his erstwhile colleagues honest. Ralph Bunche, Walter White of the NAACP, A. Philip Randolph, and others are part of the story as well. But the Black Cabinet was never officially recognized by FDR, and with the demise of the New Deal, it disappeared from history. Jill Watts’s The Black Cabinet is a dramatic full-scale examination of a forgotten moment that speaks directly to our own.

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A biography in documents of one of America's most influential black women. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

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Enhanced with illustrations, this book provides a look a the many people and diverse organizations that played a role in the battle for civil rights for African Americans during the 1950s and 1960s.

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The civil rights leader’s life and work in the nation’s capital, and her influence around the world, are celebrated in this biography. Best known as an educator and early civil rights activist, Mary McLeod Bethune was the daughter of formerly enslaved people. After moving to Washington, D.C., in 1936, she founded the National Council of Negro Women, an organization that supported Black women through numerous educational and community-based programs. Bethune also led the charge to change the segregationist policies of local hospitals and concert halls, and she acted as a mentor to countless African American women in the District. In this loving biography, historian Ida E. Jones explores the monumental life of Mary McLeod Bethune as a leader, a crusader, and a Washingtonian.

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The Republican Party once enjoyed nearly unanimous support among African American voters; today, it can hardly maintain a foothold in the black community. Exploring how and why this shift occurred?as well as recent efforts to reverse it?Michael Fauntroy meticulously navigates the policy choices and political strategies that have driven a wedge between the GOP and its formerly stalwart constituents.

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Fifty years after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, presidential historian Robert Dallek, whom The New York Times calls “Kennedy’s leading biographer,” delivers a riveting new portrait of this president and his inner circle of advisors—their rivalries, personality clashes, and political battles. In Camelot’s Court, Dallek analyzes the brain trust whose contributions to the successes and failures of Kennedy’s administration—including the Bay of Pigs, civil rights, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam—were indelible. Kennedy purposefully put together a dynamic team of advisors noted for their brilliance and acumen, including Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, and trusted aides Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger. Yet the very traits these men shared also created sharp divisions. Far from being unified, this was an uneasy band of rivals whose ambitions and clashing beliefs ignited fiery internal debates. Robert Dallek illuminates a president deeply determined to surround himself with the best and the brightest, who often found himself disappointed with their recommendations. The result, Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House, is a striking portrait of a leader whose wise resistance to pressure and adherence to principle offers a cautionary tale for our own time.

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Saving the Neighborhood tells the still controversial story of the rise and fall of racially restrictive covenants in America, which bestowed an aura of legitimacy upon the wish of many white neighborhoods to exclude minorities. It offers insight into the ways legal and social norms reinforce one another, to codify and perpetuate intolerance.

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The Black History of the White House presents the untold history, racial politics, and shifting significance of the White House as experienced by African Americans, from the generations of enslaved people who helped to build it or were forced to work there to its first black First Family, the Obamas. Clarence Lusane juxtaposes significant events in White House history with the ongoing struggle for democratic, civil, and human rights by black Americans and demonstrates that only during crises have presidents used their authority to advance racial justice. He describes how in 1901 the building was officially named the “White House” amidst a furious backlash against President Roosevelt for inviting Booker T. Washington to dinner, and how that same year that saw the consolidation of white power with the departure of the last black Congressmember elected after the Civil War. Lusane explores how, from its construction in 1792 to its becoming the home of the first black president, the White House has been a prism through which to view the progress and struggles of black Americans seeking full citizenship and justice. “Clarence Lusane is one of America’s most thoughtful and critical thinkers on issues of race, class and power.”—Manning Marable "Barack Obama may be the first black president in the White House, but he's far from the first black person to work in it. In this fascinating history of all the enslaved people, workers and entertainers who spent time in the president's official residence over the years, Clarence Lusane restores the White House to its true colors."—Barbara Ehrenreich "Reading The Black History of the White House shows us how much we DON'T know about our history, politics, and culture. In a very accessible and polished style, Clarence Lusane takes us inside the key national events of the American past and present. He reveals new dimensions of the black presence in the US from revolutionary days to the Obama campaign. Yes, 'black hands built the White House'—enslaved black hands—but they also built this country's economy, political system, and culture, in ways Lusane shows us in great detail. A particularly important feature of this book its personal storytelling: we see black political history through the experiences and insights of little-known participants in great American events. The detailed lives of Washington's slaves seeking freedom, or the complexities of Duke Ellington's relationships with the Truman and Eisenhower White House, show us American racism, and also black America's fierce hunger for freedom, in brand new and very exciting ways. This book would be a great addition to many courses in history, sociology, or ethnic studies courses. Highly recommended!"—Howard Winant "The White House was built with slave labor and at least six US presidents owned slaves during their time in office. With these facts, Clarence Lusane, a political science professor at American University, opens The Black History of the White House(City Lights), a fascinating story of race relations that plays out both on the domestic front and the international stage. As Lusane writes, 'The Lincoln White House resolved the issue of slavery, but not that of racism.' Along with the political calculations surrounding who gets invited to the White House are matters of musical tastes and opinionated first ladies, ingredients that make for good storytelling."—Boston Globe Dr. Clarence Lusane has published in The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Baltimore Sun, Oakland Tribune, Black Scholar, and Race and Class. He often appears on PBS, BET, C-SPAN, and other national media.

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"Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" Mae West invited and promptly captured the imagination of generations. Even today, years after her death, the actress and author is still regarded as the pop archetype of sexual wantonness and ribald humor. But who was this saucy starlet, a woman who was controversial enough to be jailed, pursued by film censors and banned from the airwaves for the revolutionary content of her work, and yet would ascend to the status of film legend? Sifting through previously untapped sources, author Jill Watts unravels the enigmatic life of Mae West, tracing her early years spent in the Brooklyn subculture of boxers and underworld figures, and follows her journey through burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway and, finally, Hollywood, where she quickly became one of the big screen's most popular--and colorful--stars. Exploring West's penchant for contradiction and her carefully perpetuated paradoxes, Watts convincingly argues that Mae West borrowed heavily from African American culture, music, dance and humor, creating a subversive voice for herself by which she artfully challenged society and its assumptions regarding race, class and gender. Viewing West as a trickster, Watts demonstrates that by appropriating for her character the black tradition of double-speak and "signifying," West also may have hinted at her own African-American ancestry and the phenomenon of a black woman passing for white. This absolutely fascinating study is the first comprehensive, interpretive account of Mae West's life and work. It reveals a beloved icon as a radically subversive artist consciously creating her own complex image.

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Hattie McDaniel is best known for her performance as Mammy, the sassy foil to Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. Though the role called for yet another wide–grinned, subservient black domestic, McDaniel transformed her character into one who was loyal yet subversive, devoted yet bossy. Her powerful performance would win her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and catapult the hopes of Black Hollywood that the entertainment industry ––after decades of stereotypical characters–– was finally ready to write more multidimensional, fully realized roles for blacks. But racism was so entrenched in Hollywood that despite pleas by organizations such as the NAACP and SAG ––and the very examples that Black service men were setting as they fought against Hitler in WWII–– roles for blacks continued to denigrate the African American experience. So rather than see her stature increase in Hollywood, as did other Oscar–winning actresses, Hattie McDaniel, continued to play servants. And rather than see her popularity increase, her audience turned against her as an increasingly politicized black community criticized her and her peers for accepting degrading roles. "I'd rather play a maid then be a maid," Hattie McDaniel answered her critics but her flip response belied a woman who was herself emotionally conflicted about the roles she accepted but who tried to imbue each Mammy character with dignity and nuance.

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A portrait of the late executive secretary of the NAACP documents his efforts as a civil rights champion and his work to outlaw segregation and racism, noting how his physical appearance as an African-American with light-colored skin enabled him to work undercover to expose southern lynch mob activities.

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The specter of global war loomed large in President Franklin Roosevelt's mind as 1941 began. He believed the United States had a role to play in the battle against Nazi and fascist aggression already underway in Europe. Isolationists, political opponents, and arguably the majority of Americans disagreed. The wounds of the First World War had not yet fully healed, while the Great Depression largely still raged. The words he used to rally the nation towards war ultimately defined not only what Americans fought for in World War II, but how they defined themselves as a people for generations after. Roosevelt framed America's role in the conflict, and ultimately its role in forging the post-war world to come, as a question of freedom. Four freedoms, to be exact: freedom of speech, freedom from want, freedom of religion, and freedom from fear. His words inspired, but more importantly his four freedoms formed the basis for how ensuing generations of Americans conceive of liberty for themselves and for the world.0Six scholars come together in this volume to explore how each of Roosevelt's freedoms evolved over time, for Americans and for the wider world, while additionally showing why Roosevelt spoke as he did, and how our understand of his words has evolved over time. 'The four freedoms: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the evolution of an American idea' explores this moment of history, and the evolution of each of the four freedoms from those dark days of 1940 to the present day.

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Book Summary:

The Invisibles chronicles the African American presence inside the White House from its beginnings in 1782 until 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that granted slaves their freedom. During these years, slaves were the only African Americans to whom the most powerful men in the United States were exposed on a daily, and familiar, basis. By reading about these often-intimate relationships, readers will better understand some of the views that various presidents held about class and race in American society, and how these slaves contributed not only to the life and comforts of the presidents they served, but to America as a whole.

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Author Kenneth Robert Janken
Publisher Unknown
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Total Pages 319
ISBN UOM:39015028899535
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Book Summary:

This biography of the African-American activist and scholar, Rayford W. Logan, discusses his life and career and examines his contributions to the history of race relations in the United States.

For The Many by Dorothy Sue Cobble

Title For the Many
Author Dorothy Sue Cobble
Publisher Princeton University Press
Release Date 2021-05-11
Category History
Total Pages 584
ISBN 9780691156873
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Book Summary:

A history of the twentieth-century feminists who fought for the rights of women, workers, and the poor, both in the United States and abroad For the Many presents an inspiring look at how US women and their global allies pushed the nation and the world toward justice and greater equality for all. Reclaiming social democracy as one of the central threads of American feminism, Dorothy Sue Cobble offers a bold rewriting of twentieth-century feminist history and documents how forces, peoples, and ideas worldwide shaped American politics. Cobble follows egalitarian women’s activism from the explosion of democracy movements before World War I to the establishment of the New Deal, through the upheavals in rights and social citizenship at midcentury, to the reassertion of conservatism and the revival of female-led movements today. Cobble brings to life the women who crossed borders of class, race, and nation to build grassroots campaigns, found international institutions, and enact policies dedicated to raising standards of life for everyone. Readers encounter famous figures, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, and Mary McLeod Bethune, together with less well-known leaders, such as Rose Schneiderman, Maida Springer Kemp, and Esther Peterson. Multiple generations partnered to expand social and economic rights, and despite setbacks, the fight for the many persists, as twenty-first-century activists urgently demand a more caring, inclusive world. Putting women at the center of US political history, For the Many reveals the powerful currents of democratic equality that spurred American feminists to seek a better life for all.

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Author Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Publisher Haymarket Books
Release Date 2016-02-01
Category Social Science
Total Pages 288
ISBN 9781608465637
Language English, Spanish, and French
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The author of Race for Profit carries out “[a] searching examination of the social, political and economic dimensions of the prevailing racial order” (Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow). In this winner of the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize for an Especially Notable Book, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor “not only exposes the canard of color-blindness but reveals how structural racism and class oppression are joined at the hip” (Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams). The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against black people and punctured the illusion of a post-racial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists. In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and the persistence of structural inequality, such as mass incarceration and black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for black liberation. “This brilliant book is the best analysis we have of the #BlackLivesMatter moment of the long struggle for freedom in America. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has emerged as the most sophisticated and courageous radical intellectual of her generation.” —Dr. Cornel West, author of Race Matters “A must read for everyone who is serious about the ongoing praxis of freedom.” —Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement “[A] penetrating, vital analysis of race and class at this critical moment in America’s racial history.” —Gary Younge, author of The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream

The Rehnquist Choice by John W. Dean

Title The Rehnquist Choice
Author John W. Dean
Publisher Simon and Schuster
Release Date 2002-02-01
Category Political Science
Total Pages 352
ISBN 9780743229791
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The explosive, never-before-revealed story of how William Rehnquist became a Supreme Court Justice, told by the man responsible for his candidacy.

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