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Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama's Black Belt First Edition Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0814743058
ISBN-10: 0814743056
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Bloody Lowndes is an important book. The author’s careful analysis of the 1966 election is both readable and quite useful to understanding the importance of the moment.”

-EverythingAlabama.com



“Jeffries has written the book historians of the black freedom movement have been waiting for. His beautifully written account rescues Lowndes County from its role as merely a backdrop to ‘Black Power,’ to being one of the key battlegrounds for democracy in the United States. Here are local people whose local struggles have contributed mightily to the kind of politics we desperately need in the Obama age—the politics of ‘freedom democracy,’ a politics born in Reconstruction, rooted in social justice and human rights, and honed in the Alabama cotton belt.”
-Robin D. G. Kelley,author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination



"Jeffries' book sets a new standard for the political history of African Americans in the rural South by refocusing on the mechanics of power taken, used, lost, and retaken between blacks and whites, rather than the larger fabric of social and cultural politics. Given the stark and still unrelieved inequalities of the black belt, this is a salutary stance." 
-Van Gosse,Journal of Southern History

“Hasan Kwame Jeffries’ Bloody Lowndes provides a nuanced portrait of the marriage between federal policy initiatives and local activism in the battle to dismantle Jim Crow, focusing on the months from March 1965 through November 1966 when SNCC workers, led by Stokely Carmichael, were active in Lowndes County, Alabama.”-American Studies

“Without succumbing to the temptation to paint the struggle for black equality in broad strokes, Jeffries isolates the locus of the issues that framed the movement and uses these to explain how, through a variety of social networks, the movement spread regionally and ultimately nationally... is an exceptional piece of scholarship. Jeffries has produced an important work that will unquestionably reshape the debate over the origins and legacy of the civil rights and black power movements for years to come.” -Journal of American History

“Jeffries’s Bloody Lowndes is an important contribution to the literature of the African American freedom struggle. Jeffries reveals the deep historical roots of black struggles against racial and economic oppression in the Black Belt. He makes clear that the civil rights reforms of the 1960s were insufficient responses to the ‘freedom politics’ that spawned the Lowndes County Freedom Organization—the first Black Panther Party.”

-Clayborne Carson,author of In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s



“Excellent scholarship, important history, and an invaluable contribution to understanding current and future “conversations” on race and politics in a dynamically changing political environment.”
-Charles V. Hamilton,co-author of Black Power: The Politics of Liberation



“Jeffries is at the top of a very short list of ‘young lions’ paving the way for a new interpretation of the history of the Civil Rights-Black Power movement. His work on the legendary Lowndes County Freedom Organization is outstanding in terms of the breadth and carefulness of research, depth and clarity of conceptualization, organization and presentation of material, and the originality and the wealth of the results.”
-Komozi Woodard,author of A Nation Within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Black Power Politics



“Jeffries examines the topic more thoroughly and in greater depth than any previous study, pressing the narrative back to Reconstruction but focusing most of his narrative and analysis on the mid-1960s and 1970s. The research is wide-ranging and in great depth, both in archival and oral history sources. . .this book is a needed and important addition to the historiography of the Civil Rights Movement.”
-CHOICE



“An extensively researched, well-written, and extremely important book that will make a tremendous contribution to the historiography of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.”
-Emilye Crosby,author of A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi

About the Author

Hasan Kwame Jeffries is Associate Professor of History at The Ohio State University, where he holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; First Edition edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814743056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814743058
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,278,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have a general understanding of the civil rights movement but want to take a closer look at how one particular community mobilized and progressed, this book is a great place to start. You will feel all sorts of emotions while reading this book, from anger to pride to disappointment to hope. Jeffries' writing is superb, as is his research. This is just a very, very good book.

The only challenge to following a book like this is the dearth of well-known players, which can make it tough to remember who did what. But Jeffries does a wonderful job of introducing us to the movement leaders, as well as the men and women who worked tirelessly to sustain white supremacy. I felt like I was almost part of the community while reading the book, and not every history book can totally immerse the reader like that.

In terms of style, he provides a nice introduction of race relations in Lowndes County from Reconstruction to the 1960s, then gets into great detail of the movement from 1965-1966, following both a chronological and thematic approach that made it a smooth read and easy to follow. His last chapter covered a very broad period almost up to the present. And each chapter ends with a nice summary of what you just read.

I learned about the great grassroots work done by SNCC and Stokely Carmichael, as well as the particular structural impediments to progress that were built into these rural southern communities. Despite all the effort to change the education, law enforcement, electoral and political systems in Lowndes County, progress was remarkably slow because of the power wielded by a determined, united minority of whites. Courageous activists made great progress toward righting many wrongs, but the system and various other factors limited the advancements.

This is a great book by a young historian, and I hope there's more from him in the future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A bold and insightful portrait of the little Alabama county that changed the world. I live in Lowndes County, Alabama and was thrilled that someone put their time and talents into writing a history that's readable and fascinating. Loved it.
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Format: Hardcover
Finally, we have the epic story of the initial Black Panther experiment in the Deep South. The brilliant historian and gifted writer Hasan Kwame Jeffries has written a powerful, persuasive and riveting narrative of the transformation of Civil Rights into Black Power in Alabama's "Bloody Lowndes." The history of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) is an epic tale; and Professor Jeffries has not missed the rich nuances of individual, social and political history in the narrative of this important story. Since the story of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Lowndes County is legendary, Mr. Jeffries has the formidable challenge of transforming legend into history.

Hasan Jeffries is at the top of a very short list of "young lions" paving the way for a new interpretation of the history of the Civil Rights-Black Power movement. His work on the legendary Lowndes County Freedom Organization is outstanding in terms of the breadth and carefulness of research, depth and clarity of conceptualization, organization and presentation of material, and the originality and the wealth of the results.

For the sake of this discussion, historians may be divided into roughly three groups. One group interprets the epic dimensions of the black freedom movement captured in biographies of such figures as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set on the national stage of American history. By contrast, another emerging group interprets the local and grassroots dimensions of the freedom movement captured in the portraits of such figures as Fannie Lou Hamer, Gloria Richardson and Ella Baker. More importantly, there is a third but smaller group that sees epic dimensions in the history of the grassroots.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Black Power was more than a slogan in rural Lowndes County in the 1960's; it was a call to action. Jeffries's book positions Lowndes County as the scene of one of SNCC's finest periods of community organizing. Jeffries scrupulously details both grassroots and legal actions through an activist scholar's eye. The fact that he moved to and lived with the people of Lowndes while he authored this book brings an authenticity and compassion that other historians lack, while not compromising his objectivity.

Many people have heard of Lowndes County due to the murder of white seminary student Jonathan Daniels (August 20, 1965) who stepped in front of SNCC workers as they were coming out of a store. Although Jeffries touches on this outrageous incident, he reminds us of the daily danger faced by the Black community and why they welcomed the workers and strategies of SNCC. The reader is invited to share in the celebration of local people who fought to overthrow the minority white power structure and take their rightful place in leadership positions, and in history.

Maria Gitin, Civil Rights Veteran (Wilcox County Al) and author of "This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight, University of Alabama Press 2014.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I LOVED this book. I had to read it for a class, so I was dreading it, but it was one of the best books I've ever read. Really thorough analysis of the importance of Lowndes County during the civil rights movement.
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