Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (Politics and Culture in Modern America) Paperback – Download: Adobe Reader, June 14, 2019
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Selected as one of the best world history books by Book Riot
Selected as one of the "Best Books from 2018 for Every Kind of Reader" by BuzzFeed News
Selected as one of the best history books of 2018 by Smithsonian Magazine.
"Blain illuminates an oft-ignored period of black nationalist and internationalist activism in the U.S.: the Great Depression, World War II, and early Cold War. Her engrossing study shows that much of this activism was led by African-American and Afro-Caribbean women. . . . Adding essential chapters to the story of this movement, Blain expands current understanding of the central roles played by female activists at home and overseas."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"In a remarkable act of historical recovery, Blain expertly traces the vital role women played in shaping black nationalist politics between the 1920s and 1960s. . . . Essential reading to anyone wanting to better understand the history of race, empire, and imperialism in the twentieth century. Perhaps most important though, Blain provides us with a timely reminder of the militancy and tenacity of the women who were at the heart of black nationalist politics. . . . These women created the ideological and practical tools for future generations of activists to take up the global struggle against white supremacy."—H-Diplo
"Set the World on Fire is history at its very best. Keisha Blain has given us an unobstructed window into the minds of black nationalist women. Sharp voices and gripping stories reveal a philosophical flexibility paired with an inflexible challenge to global white supremacy."—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning
"Set the World on Fire shows us what is hidden in plain sight. More importantly, she lays bare the foundational elements of black nationalist thought and practice. In short, women were not simply helpmates to men, but the creators and constructors of the intellectual, ideological, and organizational underpinnings of the black nationalist project in the 20th century."—Public Books
"Keisha Blain has dug deeply into twentieth-century history to reveal the personal and political lives of African diaspora women determined to Set the World on Fire as they walked a fine line between leading and adhering to the black nationalist dictate of masculine leadership. Drawing upon a range of materials, including FBI files, personal letters, newspapers, and federal census records, Blain details every step of these women's organizing efforts and their pan-African visions."—Ula Taylor, author of The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam
"Set the World on Fire illuminates a dark though important area of history. Deftly written, it is also a signal contribution to African American studies and women's studies. It shines brightening light on a previously—and scandalously—neglected topic."—Gerald Horne, author of Facing the Rising Sun: African Americans, Japan, and the Rise of Afro-Asian Solidarity
About the Author
- Publisher : University of Pennsylvania Press; Reprint edition (June 14, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0812224590
- ISBN-13 : 978-0812224597
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #477,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Whereas previous historians have told the history of black global struggle in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, often culminating with a decline in the 1920s, Dr. Blain picks up the narrative at this moment and shows that rather than receding the movement thrived during the Great Depression, WWII, and the Cold War. African American women, in particular, played central roles in the movement during this period and served as some of the most influential local, national, and global leaders. It is around and within the stories of these amazing women that Dr. Blain weaves her narrative.
The women who helmed this Black Nationalist movement came from diverse backgrounds with significant numbers coming from the poor and working classes. These activists defy easy categories. Among them were conservatives AND radicals, communists AND capitalists. Despite their differing philosophies, all of them remained committed to what Blain calls “a global racial consciousness and commitment to universal emancipation.”
By centering her narrative on these often under-appreciated activists and their expression of a “black internationalism,” Dr. Blain transforms the way we think about the United States struggle for civil rights. Rather than geographically isolated or exclusive to Americans, it is an international movement where poor women and their allies fought alongside activists from across the Black Diaspora as they battled for African American freedom within the worldwide fight for justice and equality.
This book is surely one the best recent history releases and shatters the boundaries of African American, Global, and Women’s History. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of struggles for freedom and the commanding place of black women in its hard fought battles.