17 Books Published by University of California Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about The New Noir: Race, Identity, and Diaspora in Black Suburbia by Clerge Orly
The New Noir: Race, Identity, and Diaspora in Black Suburbia

by Clerge Orly
University of California Press (Oct 29, 2019)
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The expansion of the Black American middle class and the unprecedented increase in the number of Black immigrants since the 1960s have transformed the cultural landscape of New York.

In The New Noir, Orly Clerge explores the richly complex worlds of an extraordinary generation of Black middle class adults who have migrated from different corners of the African diaspora to suburbia. The Black middle class today consists of diverse groups whose ongoing cultural, political, and material ties to the American South and Global South shape their cultural interactions at work, in their suburban neighborhoods, and at their kitchen tables. Clerge compellingly analyzes the making of a new multinational Black middle class and how they create a spectrum of Black identities that help them carve out places of their own in a changing 21st-century global city.

Paying particular attention to the largest Black ethnic groups in the country, Black Americans, Jamaicans, and Haitians, Clerge’s ethnography draws on over 80 interviews with residents to examine the overlooked places where New York’s middle class resides in Queens and Long Island. This book reveals that region and nationality shape how the Black middle class negotiates the everyday politics of race and class.


Click for more detail about Mothering While Black: Boundaries and Burdens of Middle-Class Parenthood by Dawn Marie Dow Mothering While Black: Boundaries and Burdens of Middle-Class Parenthood

by Dawn Marie Dow
University of California Press (Mar 12, 2019)
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Mothering While Black examines the complex lives of the African American middle class—in particular, black mothers and the strategies they use to raise their children to maintain class status while simultaneously defining and protecting their children’s "authentically black" identities. Sociologist Dawn Marie Dow shows how the frameworks typically used to research middle-class families focus on white mothers’ experiences, inadequately capturing the experiences of African American middle- and upper-middle-class mothers. These limitations become apparent when Dow considers how these mothers apply different parenting strategies for black boys and for black girls, and how they navigate different expectations about breadwinning and childrearing from the African American community. At the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, work, family, and culture, Mothering While Black sheds light on the exclusion of African American middle-class mothers from the dominant cultural experience of middle-class motherhood. In doing so, it reveals the painful truth of the decisions that black mothers must make to ensure the safety, well-being, and future prospects of their children.


Click for more detail about Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century by Barbara Ransby Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century

by Barbara Ransby
University of California Press (Feb 08, 2017)
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In the wake of the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the exoneration of his killer, three black women activists launched a hashtag and social media platform, Black Lives Matter, which would become the rubric for a larger movement. To many, especially those in the media, Black Lives Matter appeared to burst onto the national political landscape out of thin air.   However, as Making All Black Lives Matter shows, the movement has roots in prison abolition, anti-police violence, black youth movements, and radical mobilizations across the country dating back for at least a decade. Barbara Ransby interviewed more than a dozen of the principal organizers and activists in the movement and provides a detailed review of its extensive coverage in mainstream and social media. Making All Black Lives Matter offers one of the first overviews of Black Lives Matter and explores the challenges and possible future for this growing and influential movement.


Click for more detail about Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond by Langston Hughes Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond

by Langston Hughes
University of California Press (Feb 01, 2016)
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Evelyn Louise Crawford, a retired arts administrator and consultant, and MaryLouise Patterson, a pediatrician in clinical practice, are the daughters of Langston Hughes’s cherished friends Evelyn Graves Crawford, Matt N. Crawford, Louise Thompson Patterson, and William L. Patterson. Hughes was a frequent guest in the homes of the two families and was like an uncle to to Evelyn Louise and MaryLouise.


Click for more detail about Ties That Bind: The Story Of An Afro-Cherokee Family In Slavery And Freedom (American Crossroads) by Tiya Miles Ties That Bind: The Story Of An Afro-Cherokee Family In Slavery And Freedom (American Crossroads)

by Tiya Miles
University of California Press (Jun 01, 2015)
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Click for more detail about Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party

by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr.
University of California Press (Jan 14, 2013)
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In Oakland, California, in 1966, community college students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton armed themselves, began patrolling the police, and promised to prevent police brutality. Unlike the Civil Rights Movement that called for full citizenship rights for blacks within the U.S., the Black Panther Party rejected the legitimacy of the U.S. government and positioned itself as part of a global struggle against American imperialism. In the face of intense repression, the Party flourished, becoming the center of a revolutionary movement with offices in 68 U.S. cities and powerful allies around the world.

Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence. Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement, and its disastrous unraveling. Informed by twelve years of meticulous archival research, as well as familiarity with most of the former Party leadership and many rank-and-file members, this book is the definitive history of one of the greatest challenges ever posed to American state power.


Click for more detail about Seeing through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography by Martin A. Berger Seeing through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography

by Martin A. Berger
University of California Press (May 02, 2011)
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Seeing through Race is a boldly original reinterpretation of the iconic photographs of the black civil rights struggle. Martin A. Berger’s provocative and groundbreaking study shows how the very pictures credited with arousing white sympathy, and thereby paving the way for civil rights legislation, actually limited the scope of racial reform in the 1960s. Berger analyzes many of these famous images?dogs and fire hoses turned against peaceful black marchers in Birmingham, tear gas and clubs wielded against voting-rights marchers in Selma?and argues that because white sympathy was dependent on photographs of powerless blacks, these unforgettable pictures undermined efforts to enact?or even imagine?reforms that threatened to upend the racial balance of power.


Click for more detail about Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music by Amiri Baraka Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music

by Amiri Baraka
University of California Press (Apr 20, 2010)
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For almost half a century, Amiri Baraka has ranked among the most important commentators on African American music and culture. In this brilliant assemblage of his writings on music, the first such collection in nearly twenty years, Baraka blends autobiography, history, musical analysis, and political commentary to recall the sounds, people, times, and places he’s encountered. As in his earlier classics, Blues People and Black Music, Baraka offers essays on the famous—Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane—and on those whose names are known mainly by jazz aficionados—Alan Shorter, Jon Jang, and Malachi Thompson. Baraka’s literary style, with its deep roots in poetry, makes palpable his love and respect for his jazz musician friends. His energy and enthusiasm show us again how much Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and the others he lovingly considers mattered. He brings home to us how music itself matters, and how musicians carry and extend that knowledge from generation to generation, providing us, their listeners, with a sense of meaning and belonging.


Click for more detail about Digging: The Afro-American Soul Of American Classical Music by Amiri Baraka Digging: The Afro-American Soul Of American Classical Music

by Amiri Baraka
University of California Press (May 26, 2009)
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For almost half a century, Amiri Baraka has ranked among the most important commentators on African American music and culture. In this brilliant assemblage of his writings on music, the first such collection in nearly twenty years, Baraka blends autobiography, history, musical analysis, and political commentary to recall the sounds, people, times, and places he’s encountered. As in his earlier classics, Blues People and Black Music, Baraka offers essays on the famous—Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane—and on those whose names are known mainly by jazz aficionados—Alan Shorter, Jon Jang, and Malachi Thompson. Baraka’s literary style, with its deep roots in poetry, makes palpable his love and respect for his jazz musician friends. His energy and enthusiasm show us again how much Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and the others he lovingly considers mattered. He brings home to us how music itself matters, and how musicians carry and extend that knowledge from generation to generation, providing us, their listeners, with a sense of meaning and belonging.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Final Victim of the Blacklist: John Howard Lawson, Dean of the Hollywood Ten by Gerald Horne The Final Victim of the Blacklist: John Howard Lawson, Dean of the Hollywood Ten

by Gerald Horne
University of California Press (Sep 19, 2006)
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Before he attained notoriety as Dean of the Hollywood Ten—the blacklisted screenwriters and directors persecuted because of their varying ties to the Communist Party—John Howard Lawson had become one of the most brilliant, successful, and intellectual screenwriters on the Hollywood scene in the 1930s and 1940s, with several hits to his credit including Blockade, Sahara, and Action in the North Atlantic. After his infamous, almost violent, 1947 hearing before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Lawson spent time in prison and his lucrative career was effectively over. Studded with anecdotes and based on previously untapped archives, this first biography of Lawson brings alive his era and features many of his prominent friends and associates, including John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Chaplin, Gene Kelly, Edmund Wilson, Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart, Dalton Trumbo, Ring Lardner, Jr., and many others. Lawson’s life becomes a prism through which we gain a clearer perspective on the evolution and machinations of McCarthyism and anti-Semitism in the United States, on the influence of the left on Hollywood, and on a fascinating man whose radicalism served as a foil for launching the political careers of two Presidents: Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. In vivid, marvelously detailed prose, Final Victim of the Blacklist restores this major figure to his rightful place in history as it recounts one of the most captivating episodes in twentieth century cinema and politics.


Click for more detail about Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity by Jacqueline Najuma Stewart Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity

by Jacqueline Najuma Stewart
University of California Press (Mar 28, 2005)
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The rise of cinema as the predominant American entertainment around the turn of the last century coincided with the migration of hundreds of thousands of African Americans from the South to the urban "land of hope" in the North. This richly illustrated book, discussing many early films and illuminating black urban life in this period, is the first detailed look at the numerous early relationships between African Americans and cinema. It investigates African American migrations onto the screen, into the audience, and behind the camera, showing that African American urban populations and cinema shaped each other in powerful ways.

Focusing on Black film culture in Chicago during the silent era, Migrating to the Movies begins with the earliest cinematic representations of African Americans and concludes with the silent films of Oscar Micheaux and other early "race films" made for Black audiences, discussing some of the extraordinary ways in which African Americans staked their claim in cinema’s development as an art and a cultural institution.


Click for more detail about Sleeping with the Dictionary (New California Poetry) by Harryette Mullen Sleeping with the Dictionary (New California Poetry)

by Harryette Mullen
University of California Press (Feb 22, 2002)
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Harryette Mullen’s fifth poetry collection, Sleeping with the Dictionary, is the abecedarian offspring of her collaboration with two of the poet’s most seductive writing partners, Roget’s Thesaurus and The American Heritage Dictionary. In her ménage à trois with these faithful companions, the poet is aware that while Roget seems obsessed with categories and hierarchies, the American Heritage, whatever its faults, was compiled with the assistance of a democratic usage panel that included black poets Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps, as well as feminist author and editor Gloria Steinem. With its arbitrary yet determinant alphabetical arrangement, its gleeful pursuit of the ludic pleasure of word games (acrostic, anagram, homophone, parody, pun), as well as its reflections on the politics of language and dialect, Mullen’s work is serious play. A number of the poems are inspired or influenced by a technique of the international literary avant-garde group Oulipo, a dictionary game called S+7 or N+7. This method of textual transformation—which is used to compose nonsensical travesties reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s "Jabberwocky"—also creates a kind of automatic poetic discourse.

Mullen’s parodies reconceive the African American’s relation to the English language and Anglophone writing, through textual reproduction, recombining the genetic structure of texts from the Shakespearean sonnet and the fairy tale to airline safety instructions and unsolicited mail. The poet admits to being "licked all over by the English tongue," and the title of this book may remind readers that an intimate partner who also gives language lessons is called, euphemistically, a "pillow dictionary."


Click for more detail about Understand This (California Fiction) by Jervey Tervalon Understand This (California Fiction)

by Jervey Tervalon
University of California Press (Oct 02, 2000)
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Jervey Tervalon’s novel about young people in South Central Los Angeles grows out of his experience teaching in a high school there and his pain at the death of one of his favorite students.


Click for more detail about Miles and Me by Quincy Troupe Miles and Me

by Quincy Troupe
University of California Press (Mar 08, 2000)
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Quincy Troupe’s candid account of his friendship with Miles Davis is a revealing portrait of a great musician and an intimate study of a unique relationship. It is also an engrossing chronicle of the author’s own development, both artistic and personal. As Davis’s collaborator on Miles: The Autobiography,Troupe—one of the major poets to emerge from the 1960s—had exceptional access to the musician. This memoir goes beyond the life portrayed in the autobiography to describe in detail the processes of Davis’s spectacular creativity and the joys and difficulties his passionate, contradictory temperament posed to the men’s friendship. It shows how Miles Davis, both as a black man and an artist, influenced not only Quincy Troupe but whole generations.

Troupe has written that Miles Davis was "irascible, contemptuous, brutally honest, ill-tempered when things didn’t go his way, complex, fair-minded, humble, kind and a son-of-a-bitch." The author’s love and appreciation for Davis make him a keen, though not uncritical, observer. He captures and conveys the power of the musician’s presence, the mesmerizing force of his personality, and the restless energy that lay at the root of his creativity. He also shows Davis’s lighter side: cooking, prowling the streets of Manhattan, painting, riding his horse at his Malibu home. Troupe discusses Davis’s musical output, situating his albums in the context of the times—both political and musical—out of which they emerged. Miles and Me is an unparalleled look at the act of creation and the forces behind it, at how the innovations of one person can inspire both those he knows and loves and the world at large.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Who Is Angelina? (California Fiction) by Al Young Who Is Angelina? (California Fiction)

by Al Young
University of California Press (Oct 06, 1996)
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Young, Black, University of California educated, and dangerously back in love, Angelina Green is forced to make choicesintimate, political, and spiritualas she struggles to bring coherence and direction to her zigzag, roller-coaster Berkeley life.


Click for more detail about God, Harlem U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story by Jill Watts God, Harlem U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story

by Jill Watts
University of California Press (Feb 13, 1995)
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How did an African-American man born in a ghetto in 1879 rise to such religious prominence that his followers addressed letters to him simply "God, Harlem U.S.A."?

Using hitherto unknown materials, Jill Watts portrays the life and career of one of the twentieth century’s most intriguing religious leaders, Father Divine. Starting as an itinerant preacher, Father Divine built an unprecedented movement that by the 1930s had attracted followers across the nation and around the world. As his ministry grew, so did the controversy surrounding his enormous wealth, flamboyant style, and committed "angels"—black and white, rich and poor alike.

Here for the first time a full account of Father Divine’s childhood and early years challenges previous contentions that he was born into a sharecropping family in the deep South. While earlier biographers have concentrated on Father Divine’s social and economic programs, Watts focuses on his theology, which gives new meaning to secular activities that often appeared contradictory. Although much has been written about Father Divine, God, Harlem U.S.A. finally provides a balanced and intimate account of his life’s work.


Click for more detail about Aime Cesaire, The Collected Poetry by Aimé Césaire Aime Cesaire, The Collected Poetry

by Aimé Césaire
University of California Press (Oct 03, 1983)
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This edition, containing an extensive introduction, notes, the French original, and a new translation of Césaire’s poetry—the complex and challenging later works as well as the famous Notebook—will remain the definitive Césaire in English.




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