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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The Black Cabinet by Jill Watts

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Publisher Atlantic Monthly Press
Release Date 2020-05-12
Category History
Total Pages 186
ISBN 9780802146922
Language English, Spanish, and French
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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.

Title Black Culture and the New Deal Large Print 16pt
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In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration--unwilling to antagonize a powerful southern congressional bloc--refused to endorse legislation that openly sought to improve political, economic, and social conditions for African Americans. Instead, as historian Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff shows, the administration recognized and celebrated African Americans by offering federal support to notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists. Sklaroff illustrates how programs within the Federal Arts Projects and several war agencies gave voice to such notable African Americans as Lena Horne, Joe Louis, Duke Ellington, and Richard Wright, as well as lesser-known figures. She argues that these New Deal programs represent a key moment in the history of American race relations, as the cultural arena provided black men and women with unique employment opportunities and new outlets for political expression. Equally important, she contends that these cultural programs were not merely an attempt to appease a black constituency but were also part of the New Deal's larger goal of promoting a multiracial nation. Yet, while federal projects ushered in creativity and unprecedented possibilities, they were also subject to censorship, bigotry, and political machinations. With numerous illustrations, Black Culture and the New Deal offers a fresh perspective on the New Deal's racial progressivism and provides a new framework for understanding black culture and politics in the Roosevelt era.

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A portrait of the influential secretary of the NAACP explores his dedication to advancing civil rights in America, tracing his role in ending lynching, creating the legal strategy that led to Brown v. Board of Education, and hosting a premier salon for the Harlem Renaissance.

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In the last weeks of the 1960 presidential race, Louis Martin pulled off a minor miracle. With two days to go before the election, this passionate civil rights advocate and Democratic activists put two million pamphlets into the hands of black voters across America, informing them of Senator John F. Kennedy's sympathetic phone call to Martin Luther King, Jr., then languishing in a Georgia prison. The center of gravity in black partisan support shifted, and Kennedy won by a hair. This is just one example of the remarkable influence Louis Martin had on national politics for more than four decades. Now, for the first time, the story of Louis Martin's life is told. Walking with Presidents traces the career of an African American who rose from crusading journalist to preeminent presidential advisor and civil rights liason in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter administrations. Martin was the consummate insider, unconcerned about who got credit for his work so long as he could advance his mission--bringing African Americans into the political mainstream.

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Explores the relationship between race and the rise of conservativism in America and the political setbacks that remained in the way of attempts to remedy oppression and discrimination.

Title The Black History of the White House
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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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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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Best known as an educator and early civil rights activist, Mary McLeod Bethune was the daughter of former slaves. After moving to Washington, D.C., in 1936, she organized and represented thousands of women with the National Council of Negro Women. She 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. Residents of all races were brought together to honor Bethune's birthday with some of the first games between the local Negro League team and a white semi-pro team. Historian Ida E. Jones explores the monumental life of Mary McLeod Bethune as a leader, a crusader and a Washingtonian.

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Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The Great Depression hit Americans hard, but none harder than African Americans and the working poor. To Ask for an Equal Chance explores black experiences during this period and the intertwined challenges posed by race and class. "Last hired, first fired," black workers lost their jobs at twice the rate of whites, and faced greater obstacles in their search for economic security. Black workers, who were generally urban newcomers, impoverished and lacking industrial skills, were already at a disadvantage. These difficulties were intensified by an overt, and in the South legally entrenched, system of racial segregation and discrimination. New federal programs offered hope as they redefined government's responsibility for its citizens, but local implementation often proved racially discriminatory. As Cheryl Lynn Greenberg makes clear, African Americans were not passive victims of economic catastrophe or white racism; they responded to such challenges in a variety of political, social, and communal ways. The book explores both the external realities facing African Americans and individual and communal responses to them. While experiences varied depending on many factors including class, location, gender and community size, there are also unifying and overarching realities that applied universally. To Ask for an Equal Chance straddles the particular, with examinations of specific communities and experiences, and the general, with explorations of the broader effects of racism, discrimination, family, class, and political organizing.

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Book Summary:

Mary McLeod Bethune was often called the "First Lady of Negro America," but she made significant contributions to the political climate of Florida as well. From the founding of the Daytona Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls in 1904, Bethune galvanized African American women for change. She created an environment in Daytona Beach that, despite racial tension throughout the state, allowed Jackie Robinson to begin his journey to integrating Major League Baseball less than two miles away from her school. Today, her legacy lives through a number of institutions, including Bethune-Cookman University and the Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation National Historic Landmark. Historian Ashley Robertson explores the life, leadership and amazing contributions of this dynamic activist.

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the mistreatment of black Americans. In this 'precise and eloquent work' - as described in its Pulitzer Prize citation - Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history - an 'Age of Neoslavery' that thrived in the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude thereafter. By turns moving, sobering and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals these stories, the companies that profited the most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Hattie Mcdaniel by Jill Watts

Title Hattie McDaniel
Author Jill Watts
Publisher Harper Collins
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Category Biography & Autobiography
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ISBN 9780060514914
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

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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Title Prince of Darkness
Author Shane White
Publisher St. Martin's Press
Release Date 2015-10-13
Category History
Total Pages 320
ISBN 9781466880719
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

In the middle decades of the nineteenth century Jeremiah G. Hamilton was a well-known figure on Wall Street. Cornelius Vanderbilt, America's first tycoon, came to respect, grudgingly, his one-time opponent. The day after Vanderbilt's death on January 4, 1877, an almost full-page obituary on the front of the National Republican acknowledged that, in the context of his Wall Street share transactions, "There was only one man who ever fought the Commodore to the end, and that was Jeremiah Hamilton." What Vanderbilt's obituary failed to mention, perhaps as contemporaries already knew it well, was that Hamilton was African American. Hamilton, although his origins were lowly, possibly slave, was reportedly the richest colored man in the United States, possessing a fortune of $2 million, or in excess of two hundred and $50 million in today's currency. In Prince of Darkness, a groundbreaking and vivid account, eminent historian Shane White reveals the larger than life story of a man who defied every convention of his time. He wheeled and dealed in the lily white business world, he married a white woman, he bought a mansion in rural New Jersey, he owned railroad stock on trains he was not legally allowed to ride, and generally set his white contemporaries teeth on edge when he wasn't just plain outsmarting them. An important contribution to American history, Hamilton's life offers a way into considering, from the unusual perspective of a black man, subjects that are usually seen as being quintessentially white, totally segregated from the African American past.

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Title Smoketown
Author Mark Whitaker
Publisher Simon and Schuster
Release Date 2018-01-30
Category History
Total Pages 432
ISBN 9781501122439
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

A brilliant, lively account of the Black Renaissance that burst forth in Pittsburgh from the 1920s through the 1950s—“Smoketown will appeal to anybody interested in black history and anybody who loves a good story…terrific, eminently readable…fascinating” (The Washington Post). Today black Pittsburgh is known as the setting for August Wilson’s famed plays about noble, but doomed, working-class citizens. But this community once had an impact on American history that rivaled the far larger black worlds of Harlem and Chicago. It published the most widely read black newspaper in the country, urging black voters to switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party, and then rallying black support for World War II. It fielded two of the greatest baseball teams of the Negro Leagues and introduced Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Pittsburgh was the childhood home of jazz pioneers Billy Strayhorn, Billy Eckstine, Earl Hines, Mary Lou Williams, and Erroll Garner; Hall of Fame slugger Josh Gibson—and August Wilson himself. Some of the most glittering figures of the era were changed forever by the time they spent in the city, from Joe Louis and Satchel Paige to Duke Ellington and Lena Horne. Mark Whitaker’s Smoketown is a “rewarding trip to a forgotten special place and time” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). It depicts how ambitious Southern migrants were drawn to a steel-making city on a strategic river junction; how they were shaped by its schools and a spirit of commerce with roots in the Gilded Age; and how their world was eventually destroyed by industrial decline and urban renewal. “Smoketown brilliantly offers us a chance to see this other Black Renaissance and spend time with the many luminaries who sparked it…It’s thanks to such a gifted storyteller as Whitaker that this forgotten chapter of American history can finally be told in all its vibrancy and glory” (The New York Times Book Review).

Mae West by Jill Watts

Title Mae West
Author Jill Watts
Publisher Oxford University Press
Release Date 2003-04-17
Category Biography & Autobiography
Total Pages 400
ISBN 9780190289713
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

"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.

God Harlem U S A by Jill Watts

Title God Harlem U S A
Author Jill Watts
Publisher Univ of California Press
Release Date 1995-02-13
Category Biography & Autobiography
Total Pages 249
ISBN 9780520201729
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

"Unearthing rare, scarce, and previously unknown original sources, Watts spells out a comprehensive, even definitive account of Father's controversial life and charismatic ministry. In addition to the fascinating biography, this is solid social and intellectual history as well."—American Academy of Religion

Title The Political Status of the Negro in the Age of F D R
Author Ralph Johnson Bunche
Publisher Unknown
Release Date 1975-08-01
Category African Americans
Total Pages 682
ISBN 0226080293
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Sojourner Truth S America by Margaret Washington

Title Sojourner Truth s America
Author Margaret Washington
Publisher University of Illinois Press
Release Date 2011-04-21
Category Biography & Autobiography
Total Pages 520
ISBN 0252093747
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

This fascinating biography tells the story of nineteenth-century America through the life of one of its most charismatic and influential characters: Sojourner Truth. In an in-depth account of this amazing activist, Margaret Washington unravels Sojourner Truth's world within the broader panorama of African American slavery and the nation's most significant reform era. Born into bondage among the Hudson Valley Dutch in Ulster County, New York, Isabella was sold several times, married, and bore five children before fleeing in 1826 with her infant daughter one year before New York slavery was abolished. In 1829, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a domestic, preached, joined a religious commune, and then in 1843 had an epiphany. Changing her name to Sojourner Truth, she began traveling the country as a champion of the downtrodden and a spokeswoman for equality by promoting Christianity, abolitionism, and women's rights. Gifted in verbal eloquence, wit, and biblical knowledge, Sojourner Truth possessed an earthy, imaginative, homespun personality that won her many friends and admirers and made her one of the most popular and quoted reformers of her times. Washington's biography of this remarkable figure considers many facets of Sojourner Truth's life to explain how she became one of the greatest activists in American history, including her African and Dutch religious heritage; her experiences of slavery within contexts of labor, domesticity, and patriarchy; and her profoundly personal sense of justice and intuitive integrity. Organized chronologically into three distinct eras of Truth's life, Sojourner Truth's America examines the complex dynamics of her times, beginning with the transnational contours of her spirituality and early life as Isabella and her embroilments in legal controversy. Truth's awakening during nineteenth-century America's progressive surge then propelled her ascendancy as a rousing preacher and political orator despite her inability to read and write. Throughout the book, Washington explores Truth's passionate commitment to family and community, including her vision for a beloved community that extended beyond race, gender, and socioeconomic condition and embraced a common humanity. For Sojourner Truth, the significant model for such communalism was a primitive, prophetic Christianity. Illustrated with dozens of images of Truth and her contemporaries, Sojourner Truth's America draws a delicate and compelling balance between Sojourner Truth's personal motivations and the influences of her historical context. Washington provides important insights into the turbulent cultural and political climate of the age while also separating the many myths from the facts concerning this legendary American figure.

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