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Living Black History: How Reimagining the African-American Past Can Remake America's Racial Future Paperback – May 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Civitas Books (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 046504395X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465043958
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,253,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this sharp, savvy collection, several pieces of which began as W.E.B. Du Bois lectures at Harvard in 2004, Columbia University scholar Marable (The Autobiography of Medgar Evers) declares that "being true to black history... means accepting and interpreting its totality." Living black history, Marable posits, requires "reconstruct[ing] America's memory about itself" through projects that give voice to the voiceless. Marable takes a historian's pleasure in reproaching those (like Kweisi Mfume and Henry Louis Gates Jr.) who discount Du Bois's commitment to radicalism. He similarly admonishes those, from the black middle class or hip-hop "Malcolmologists," who seize on Malcolm X's resistance without recognizing—as Marable does in dissecting Alex Haley's unreliable Autobiography and criticizing the Shabazz family—Malcolm X's unquenched, pan-Africanist voice. An essay on lawyer Robert Carter, who helped win Brown v. Board of Education, prompts the author's reflection on gains blacks have made in access to educational institutions, and also his lament that Brown has not helped the working class or the poor. But Marable offers no targeted solution for African-American uplift. Rather, given his socialist leanings—less articulated here than in other works—he supports cross-racial and class-based efforts to fight structural racism. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Lamenting the absence of detailed histories of pivotal African American figures, or analyses that are too superficial and propagandistic, Marable offers a probing look at several historical figures and the civil-rights movement. In his critique of W. E. B. DuBois, Marable exposes much of the myth and conflict between DuBois and Booker T. Washington and exposes them both to be more complex and engaged than most works reveal. Regarding Malcolm X, Marable suggests that Alex Haley's biography and Spike Lee's film are most significant for their slants and omissions. Conflicts surrounding the estate of Malcolm X and the availability of raw material to scholars have further complicated the quest to understand the iconic black leader. Marable's final chapter explores the promise of integrated education of the Brown decision and the reality of hypersegregation that continues to estrange low-income minorities from the American mainstream. Still, Marable hopes that a new civil-rights movement will achieve the promise of Brown by transcending the limitations of popular myth and historical distortions. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roland G. Sheppard on December 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Living Black History How Re-Imagining the African-American Past Can Remake America's Racial Future, was written by Manning Marable, who is one of America's most influential and widely read scholars. He is Professor of History and Political Science and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and founding Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies. His latest books include "The Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of Race in American Life" and "Freedom on My Mind: The Columbia Documentary History of the African American Experience." Marable also has a long history as a political activist in Black and reform-oriented socialist organizations. He has been a member of the New American Movement, a member of the executive committee of the National Black Political Assembly, an associate of the journal Socialist Review, national vice-chairperson of the Democratic Socialists of America, a leader of the National Black Independent Political Party, and finally, co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence.
Manning Marble's new book, is supposed to be about "How Reimagining the African-American Past Can Remake America's Racial Future."
In the book's preface, Marable states "Too often the study of history is an exercise in nostalgia or political myth-making rather than an honest interaction with the raw materials of the past" (p. xiv). His aim is to provide a corrective by treating African-American history both honestly and critically.
Unfortunately the book fails to live up to his goals.
Marable, to his credit, does point out the exceptional contributions of W.E.B. Dubois and C.L.R. James to Black history and thought. He goes into depth about the significance of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter Baker on September 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I respect what Professor Marable is trying to say in his book, however, it isn't articulated well enough. What stands out in my mind is that (especially with regard to the Malcolm X chapter) the 'scholarly pursuit' found within is more deductive and assuming than anything. Aside from that, to look at the sources in the bibliography, is like wading through a mire and it makes clarifying his research more difficult (there aren't even proper footnotes). This could have been better. But it's worth reading.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By F. I. Lowe Perry on June 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
ANY BOOK BY DR. MANNING MIRABEL IS WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN SALT AND INTELLECTUAL PERSUIT.
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