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Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination Hardcover – October 20, 2011
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"This book is a revelation. Alondra Nelson…provides the deep context for our current conversation about the health disparities that plague the African-American community…[and] adds immeasurably to our knowledge of the Black Panther Party…Nelson is the first scholar I know of to bring these two histories into dialogue with each other, and she does so with spectacular results. This is a tremendously important book." –Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University
"Alondra Nelson combines careful research, deep political insight, and passionate commitment to tell the little-known story of the Black Panther Party's health activism in the late 1960s."–Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
"Nelson...reports exhaustively on the Black Panther Party's role in the radical health movement of the 1970s, positioning the BPP as important players in the long tradition of civil rights health activism...[The] work deserves commendation for its thoughtfulness and thoroughness."–Publishers Weekly
"Body and Soul is well researched and powerfully argued, and it skillfully bridges several scholarly fields…By any measure, Nelson’s book is an important contribution."–The Crisis
"Nelson makes a valuable contribution by demonstrating that the Party’s medical outreach programs were a continuation of a tradition of self-reliance that began in the nineteenth century… Body and Soul will serve as the catalyst for continued analysis of other useful aspects of BPP history."–Journal of American History
“a sympathetic, scholarly account of this lesser-known aspect of Panther activism...a valuable contribution to the literature...in sociology, medical and social history, and African American studies.”–Library Journal
"highly informative, meticulously documented, extremely relevant, and deeply engaging"–The Black Commentator
"Delving deeper, Nelson writes about the group’s understanding of health as a basic human right and the social implications of genetics that, decades ago, seemed to anticipate the current debates about the politics of health and race."– Diverse Issues in Higher Education
From the Back Cover
"This book is a revelation. Alondra Nelson uncovers two remarkable histories in Body and Soul. First, she provides the deep context for our current conversation about the health disparities that plague the African-American community and that are, as she puts it, "quite literally sickening."Second, she adds immeasurably to our knowledge of the Black Panther Party, complicating its commonplace designation as a radical, militant organization to unearth its dedication and hard work in advocating for and providing equal and quality health care for even the most underserved African Americans. Nelson is the first scholar I know of to bring these two histories into dialogue with each other, and she does so with spectacular results. This is a tremendously important book." --Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
"In Body and Soul, Alondra Nelson combines careful research, deep political insight, and passionate commitment to tell the little-known story of the Black Panther Party's health activism in the late 1960s. In doing so, and in showing how the problems of poverty, discrimination, and access to medical care remain hauntingly similar more than forty years later, Nelson reminds us that the struggle continues, particularly for African Americans, and that social policies have profound moral implications." --Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
"The activities of the Black Panther Party have long been reduced to stories of violent police confrontations and empty propaganda. By taking seriously the claims and the practices of the Black Panthers with respect to the health of Black people, Alondra Nelson has provided a critical corrective to earlier studies. More importantly, this is a brilliant analysis of a significant moment in the long tradition of health advocacy on the part of African Americans. That health was a cornerstone of Black Panther politics reveals how deeply access to good health care has shaped Black lives and politics in the past and today. Body and Soul is a major achievement and will be indispensable to anyone who wants to understand how healthcare and citizenship became so intertwined in American life." -- Evelynn Hammonds, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies, Dean of Harvard College, Harvard University
"In her revisionist account, Nelson insightfully guides the reader through the range of campaigns by which the Black Panther Party paved the way to broad efforts to promote biomedical inclusion and democratize access to medical knowledge and practice."
--Steven Epstein, author of Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research
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Top customer reviews
In this book, Professor Nelson presents the history of the Black Panther Party's efforts to provide much needed healthcare to poor people. It is an eye-opening illustration of the Black Panther Party as a force behind a movement - in keeping with a theme that still resonates today - Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. I highly recommend reading this book for an honest presentation of a balanced story of the positive work the Black Panther Party did during the Civil Rights Era in America.
Pamela C. Ranberg (History student at the University of Baltimore)