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Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination Paperback – June 15, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0807009772 ISBN-10: 0807009776 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; New edition edition (June 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807009776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807009772
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Kelley, a history professor and a writer with a progressive political slant, analyzes the black radical tradition within the context of a higher consciousness that imagines how society should and could be and lets that dream dictate action. This pursuit of freedom and equality underlies, if not justifies, the basis of measuring the success of black radical movements. He takes the reader on a survey of black radical movements--Back to Africa, the Garvey movement, associations with communism and Marxism, local protests, Third World consciousness and identification, reparation, and black feminism--finding a common core centered on the dream of freedom. In one section, Kelley connects the black radical tradition with surrealism, focusing on freedom as a concept that initiates in the mind and has a nontraditional manner of self-manifestation. Kelley sees such mindscapes as the counterbalance to what many perceive as the failure of certain movements. However, Kelley's capacity to integrate these imaginative mindscapes into the freedom quest allows the reader to perceive the continuity and ultimate success of these freedom movements. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Based on Kelley's belief that to make a better world we must first imagine it, this brilliantly conceived and written book recounts the accomplishments of black activists and thinkers over the past century who have been committed to remaking the world.' --Library Journal

More About the Author

Robin D. G. Kelley never met Thelonious Monk, but he grew up with his music. Born in 1962, he spent his formative years in Harlem in a household and a city saturated with modern jazz. As a child he took a few trumpet lessons with the legendary Jimmy Owens, played French horn in junior high school, and picked up piano during his teen years in California. In 1987, Kelley earned his PhD in History from UCLA and focused his work on social movements, politics and culture--although music remained his passion.

During his tenure on the faculties of Emory University, the University of Michigan, New York University, and Columbia University, Kelley's scholarly interests shifted increasingly toward music. He has written widely on jazz, hip hop, electronic music, musicians' unions and technological displacement, and social and political movements more broadly.

Before becoming Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, Robin D. G. Kelley served on the faculty at Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies, where he held the first Louis Armstrong Chair in Jazz Studies. Besides Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, Kelley has authored several prize-winning books, including Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression (University of North Carolina Press, 1990); Race Rebels: Culture Politics and the Black Working Class (The Free Press, 1994); Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America (Beacon Press, 1997), which was selected one of the top ten books of 1998 by the Village Voice. He is currently completing Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2011), and a general survey of African American history co-authored with Tera Hunter and Earl Lewis to be published by Norton.

Kelley's essays have appeared in several anthologies and journals, including The Nation, Monthly Review, The Voice Literary Supplement, New York Times (Arts and Leisure), New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Color Lines, Code Magazine, Utne Reader, Lenox Avenue, African Studies Review, Black Music Research Journal, Callaloo, New Politics, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noir, One World, Social Text, Metropolis, American Visions, Boston Review, Fashion Theory, American Historical Review, Journal of American History, New Labor Forum, Souls, Metropolis, and frieze: contemporary art and culture, to name a few.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
While Robin Kelley might claim this book is not a "true" intellectual history, there's an awful lot of intellect packed inside. His profound thoughts, engaging writing, and motivating ideas all find focus with his idea that the center of any movement for change has to be love -- love of self, love of people, love of place. Jammed with interesting historical notes and biographies, his sweeping perspective on what it has meant to be black and, perhaps more importantly, identified as such, would serve every citizen of the world well. And if Mayor Mike B. and his constitutents would read Kelley's idea for downtown NYC, New York -- and the world -- might have a chance.
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Carmen on June 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the BEST book I've read in the last 20 years!! A must read for anyone interested in the Utopian vision of radical movements. I learned a great deal about the reparations movement, Black feminism, and a movement no one is talking about-Surrealism. And it's beautifully written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Hammond on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is beyond excellent. It covers the topics that are not usually covered in regards to the political activity and productions of African Americans. GREAT READ! For those not as radical as I it may be a challenge, however, that makes it all the more important for you to dive into!
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5 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Lobo on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is truly awful. I had the misfortune of being assigned this book for a class, and let me tell you...Just awful. First of all, the author is a unreconstructed Communist who never admitted that Communism failed. Secondly, the book is totally self-indulgent; it's not historical at all. He writes in the first person and offers nothing to back up his statements (no citations). This guy is really out to lunch. Catch his next book, published by Bellevue State Press.
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