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African American writers have incorporated Martin Luther King Jr. into their work since he rose to prominence in the mid-1950s. Martin Luther King Jr., Heroism, and African American Literature is a study by award-winning author Trudier Harris of King's character and persona as captured and reflected in works of African American literature continue to evolve. One of the most revered figures in American history, King stands above most as a hero. His heroism, argues Harris, is informed by African American folk cultural perceptions of heroes. Brer Rabbit, John the Slave, Stackolee, and Railroad Bill'folk heroes all'provide a folk lens through which to view King in contemporary literature. Ambiguities and issues of morality that surround trickster figures also surround King. Nonconformist traits that define Stackolee and Railroad Bill also inform King's life and literary portraits. Defiance of the law, uses of indirection, moral lapses, and bad habits are as much a part of the folk-transmitted biography of King as they are a part of writers? depictions of him in literary texts. Harris first demonstrates that during the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, when writers such as Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, and LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) were rising stars in African American poetry, King's philosophy of nonviolence was out of step with prevailing notions of militancy (Black Power), and their literature reflected that division. In the quieter times of the 1970s and 1980s and into the twenty-first century, however, treatments of King and his philosophy in African American literature changed. Writers who initially rejected him and nonviolence became ardent admirers and boosters, particularly in the years following his assassination. By the 1980s, many writers skeptical about King had reevaluated him and began to address him as a fallen hero. To the most recent generation of writers, such as Katori Hall, King is fair game for literary creation, no matter what those portrayals may reveal, to a point where King has become simply another source of reference for creativity. Collectively these writers, among many others, illustrate that Martin Luther King Jr. provides one of the strongest influences upon the creative worlds of multiple generations of African American writers of varying political and social persuasions.
It has been nearly fifty years since Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Appraisals of King's contributions began almost immediately and continue to this day. The author explores a great many of King's chief ideas and socio-ethical practices: his concept of a moral universe, his doctrine of human dignity, his belief that not all suffering is redemptive, his brand of personalism, his contribution to the development of social ethics, the inclusion of young people in the movement, sexism as a contradiction to his personalism, the problem of black-on-black violence, and others. The book reveals both the strengths and the limitations in King's theological socio-ethical project, and shows him to have relentlessly applied personalist ideas to organized nonviolent resistance campaigns in order to change the world. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature AwardAs NASA prepared for the launch of Apollo 11 in July 1969, many African American leaders protested the billions of dollars used to fund ?space joyrides? rather than help tackle poverty, inequality, and discrimination at home. This volume examines such tensions as well as the ways in which NASA?s goal of space exploration aligned with the cause of racial equality. It provides new insights into the complex relationship between the space program and the civil rights movement in the Jim Crow South and abroad.Essays explore how thousands of jobs created during the space race offered new opportunities for minorities in places like Huntsville, Alabama, while at the same time segregation at NASA?s satellite tracking station in South Africa led to that facility?s closure. Other topics include black skepticism toward NASA?s framing of space exploration as ?for the benefit of all mankind,? NASA?s track record in hiring women and minorities, and the efforts of black activists to increase minority access to education that would lead to greater participation in the space program. The volume also addresses how to best find and preserve archival evidence of African American contributions that are missing from narratives of space exploration.NASA and the Long Civil Rights Movement offers important lessons from history as today?s activists grapple with the distance between social movements like Black Lives Matter and scientific ambitions such as NASA?s mission to Mars.
Social movements have wrought dramatic changes upon American society. This raises the question: Why do some movements succeed in their endeavors while others fail? Luders answers this question by introducing an analytical framework that begins with a shift in emphasis away from the characteristics of movements toward the targets of protests and affected bystanders and why they respond as they do. This shift brings into focus how targets and other interests assess both their exposure to movement disruptions as well as the costs of conceding to movement demands. From this point, diverse outcomes stem not only from a movement's capabilities for protest but also from differences among targets and others in their vulnerability to disruption and the substance of movement goals. Applied to the civil rights movement, this approach recasts conventional accounts of the movement's outcome in local struggles and national politics and clarifies the broader logic of social change.
The civil rights movement transformed the United States in such fundamental ways that exploring it in the classroom can pose real challenges for instructors and students alike. Speaking to the critical pedagogical need to teach civil rights history accurately and effectively, this volume goes beyond the usual focus on iconic leaders of the 1950s and 1960s to examine the broadly configured origins, evolution, and outcomes of African Americans' struggle for freedom. Essays provide strategies for teaching famous and forgotten civil rights people and places, suggestions for using music and movies, frameworks for teaching self-defense and activism outside the South, a curriculum guide for examining the Black Panther Party, and more. Books in the popular Harvey Goldberg Series provide high school and introductory college-level instructors with ample resources and strategies for better engaging students in critical, thought-provoking topics. By allowing for the implementation of a more nuanced curriculum, this is history instruction at its best. Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement will transform how the United States civil rights movement is taught.