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We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement Hardcover – April 22, 2013


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We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement + This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible + Negroes with Guns
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 351 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (April 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814725244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814725245
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

African-American Studies professor Umoja adds a much-needed chapter to the history of the Civil Rights Movement with his well-sourced chronicle of the Mississippians who risked life, limb, and livelihood by arming themselves against "White supremacist terrorism". Though groups like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Congress on Racial Equality promoted nonviolence, they also relied on "covert armed protection". Indeed, armed self-defense" was "common practice for southern black activists." These men and women argued: "non-violent stuff ain't no good. It'll get you killed." The possibility of armed resistance came to be an important bargaining chip between civil rights groups and federal officials who often declined to intervene in the increasingly violent confrontations. However, after the 1964 deaths of civil rights workers James Chaney, Mickey Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman, support for nonviolence disintegrated; some disaffected civil rights leaders adopted paramilitary tactics or turned to the nascent Black Nationalist groups to protect civil rights workers. Increasingly, the Black Panthers and other Black power leaders gained ascendency as White supremacists continued their assaults on Black communities well into the 1970s. Umoja's eye-opening work is a powerful and provocative addition to the literature of the civil rights movement. (May)

Review

"Timely and timeless. . . . Expands our understanding of the hidden narratives of Mississippi's black armed resistance groups scattered through generations."-Kathleen Cleaver,Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, Emory Law School

"Akinyele Umoja’s marvelously rich and exhaustive study of Mississippi will radically transform the debate about the role of nonviolence within the civil rights movement, proving that armed self-defense actually saved lives, reduced terrorist attacks on African American communities, and laid the foundation for unparalleled community solidarity. We Will Shoot Back is decidedly not a romantic celebration of gun culture, but a sometimes sobering, sometimes beautiful story of self-reliance and self-determination and a people’s capacity to sustain a movement against all odds."-Robin D. G. Kelley,author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

"Ranging from Reconstruction to the Black Power period, this thoroughly and creatively researched book effectively challenges long-held beliefs about the Black Freedom Struggle. It should make it abundantly clear that the violence/nonviolence dichotomy is too simple to capture the thinking of Black Southerners about the forms of effective resistance."-Charles M. Payne,Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

"Umoja's eye-opening work is a powerful and provocative addition to the literature of the civil rights movement."-Publishers Weekly,

"This riveting historical narrative relies upon oral history, archival material, and scholarly literature to reconstruct the use of armed resistance by Black activists and supporters in Mississippi to challenge racist terrorism, segregation, and fight for human rights and political empowerment from the early 1950s through the late 1970's."-Mark Anthony Neal,

More About the Author

Akinyele Umoja is an educator and scholar-activist. Currently, he is an Associate Professor and chair of the Department of African-American Studies at Georgia State University where he teaches courses on the history of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and other political and social movements. Dr. Umoja's book We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance and the Mississippi Freedom Movement in April 2013.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rohan Preston on December 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Umoja, Akinyele O. We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. New York: New York University Press, 2013.

Self -defense is a fundamental human right! At least that is what many African-Americans in the Mississippi Delta accurately understood the Constitution to claim. In We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement, Akinyele Omowale Umoja argues that between the 1950s and 1970s many African-Americans chose to enforce their second amendment right in order to protect their family, friends, and property against horrific acts of klandestine racist terrorists who were oftentimes police and government officials. Umoja’s groundbreaking research illustrates the plight of people such as Amzie Moore — “a one man protection agency” who helped with the investigation of the lynching of Emmett Till; Vernon and Ellie Dahmer, the couple who oftentimes shot in the air in order to alert “potential nightriders” of their preparedness and ability to defend themselves; and Hartman Turnbow who claimed that he “wasn’t being non-violent, he was just protecting his family” after he was unjustly arrested for arson against his own property.
Umoja uses oral histories, family papers, newspaper articles and government documents such as embassy papers, FBI Cointelpro files and attorney general’s reports, to illustrate the influential role that self-defense played in the not-so-nonviolent Civil Rights Movement. He also draws on documents from rights groups such as the NAACP, SNCC and CORE to give voice to grassroots organizers who believed that armed self defense was a constitutional right in maintaining one’s citizenship. We Will Shoot Back it is a long-awaited addition to the sparsely documented literature of African-American self-defense. Lisa R. Shannon
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Asn on February 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very informative and interesting treatment of movement history. Primary sources are rare and unique providing novel and practical look at the civil rights movement in Mississippi. This book presents local people in a whole new light! Excellent work!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BOB on February 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This literary work is ground breaking and offers new and uplifting information challenging the mainstream passive docile negro imagery propagated by the civil rights movement. Every Pan African- Black Nationalist home needs this in there library
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr P on October 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Again Bro Akinyele has done a terrific job of letting the bottom line shine. This means that like the ballot or bullet, its now death Libertad o muerte
This is not about any other struggle or about any other people, a boo about the Mississppi Freedom movement

I have shared my book with others who now will be adding it to the Hillsborough County Lib system

Gracias bro A
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