22 Books Published by University of Illinois Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women by Brittney Cooper Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women

by Brittney Cooper
University of Illinois Press (May 03, 2017)
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Beyond Respectability charts the development of African American women as public intellectuals and the evolution of their thought from the end of the 1800s through the Black Power era of the 1970s. Eschewing the Great Race Man paradigm so prominent in contemporary discourse, Brittney C. Cooper looks at the far-reaching intellectual achievements of female thinkers and activists like Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, Fannie Barrier Williams, Pauli Murray, and Toni Cade Bambara. Cooper delves into the processes that transformed these women and others into racial leadership figures, including long-overdue discussions of their theoretical output and personal experiences. As Cooper shows, their body of work critically reshaped our understandings of race and gender discourse. It also confronted entrenched ideas of how—and who—produced racial knowledge.


Click for more detail about Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio, and Freedom (New Black Studies Series) by Sonja D Williams Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio, and Freedom (New Black Studies Series)

by Sonja D Williams
University of Illinois Press (Aug 11, 2015)
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Posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007, Richard Durham creatively chronicled and brought to life the significant events of his times. Durham’s trademark narrative style engaged listeners with fascinating characters, compelling details, and sharp images of pivotal moments in American and African American history and culture. In Word Warrior , award-winning radio producer Sonja D. Williams draws on archives and hard-to-access family records, as well as interviews with family and colleagues like Studs Terkel and Toni Morrison, to illuminate Durham’s astounding career. Durham paved the way for black journalists as a dramatist and a star investigative reporter and editor for the pioneering black newspapers the Chicago Defender and Muhammed Speaks . Talented and versatile, he also created the acclaimed radio series Destination Freedom and Here Comes Tomorrow and wrote for popular radio fare like The Lone Ranger . Incredibly, his energies extended still further—to community and labor organizing, advising Chicago mayoral hopeful Harold Washington, and mentoring generations of activists. Incisive and in-depth, Word Warrior tells the story of a tireless champion of African American freedom, equality, and justice during an epoch that forever changed a nation.


Click for more detail about Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian by Ethelene Whitmire Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian

by Ethelene Whitmire
University of Illinois Press (Aug 07, 2015)
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The first African American to head a branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL), Regina Andrews led an extraordinary life. Allied with W. E. B. Du Bois, Andrews fought for promotion and equal pay against entrenched sexism and racism and battled institutional restrictions confining African American librarians to only a few neighborhoods within New York City. Andrews also played a key role in the Harlem Renaissance, supporting writers and intellectuals with dedicated workspace at her 135th Street Branch Library. After hours she cohosted a legendary salon that drew the likes of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Her work as an actress and playwright helped establish the Harlem Experimental Theater, where she wrote plays about lynching, passing, and the Underground Railroad. Ethelene Whitmire’s new biography offers the first full-length study of Andrews’s activism and pioneering work with the NYPL. Whitmire’s portrait of her sustained efforts to break down barriers reveals Andrews’s legacy and places her within the NYPL’s larger history.


Click for more detail about Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian by Ethelene Whitmire Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian

by Ethelene Whitmire
University of Illinois Press (May 01, 2014)
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The first African American to head a branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL), Regina Andrews led an extraordinary life. Allied with W. E. B. Du Bois, she fought for promotion and equal pay against entrenched sexism and racism. Andrews also played a key role in the Harlem Renaissance, supporting writers and intellectuals with dedicated workspace at her 135th Street Branch Library. After hours she cohosted a legendary salon that drew the likes of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Her work as an actress and playwright helped established the Harlem Experimental Theater. Ethelene Whitmire’s new biography offers the first full-length portrait of Andrews’ activism, engagement with the arts of the Harlem Renaissance, and work with the NYPL.


Click for more detail about Black Revolutionary: William Patterson & the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle by Gerald Horne Black Revolutionary: William Patterson & the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle

by Gerald Horne
University of Illinois Press (Sep 26, 2013)
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A leading African American Communist, lawyer William L. Patterson (1891–1980) was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the defeat of Jim Crowby virtue of his leadership of the Scottsboro campaign in the 1930s. In this watershed biography, historian Gerald Horne shows how Patterson helped to advance African American equality by fostering and leveraging international support for the movement. Horne highlights key moments in Patterson’s global activism: his early education in the Soviet Union, his involvement with the Scottsboro trials and other high-profile civil rights cases of the 1930s to 1950s, his 1951 "We Charge Genocide" petition to the United Nations, and his later work with prisons and the Black Panther Party. Through Patterson’s story, Horne examines how the Cold War affected the freedom movement, with civil rights leadership sometimes disavowing African American leftists in exchange for concessions from the U.S. government. He also probes the complex and often contradictory relationship between the Communist Party and the African American community, including the impact of the FBI’s infiltration of the Communist Party. Drawing from government and FBI documents, newspapers, periodicals, archival and manuscript collections, and personal papers, Horne documents Patterson’s effectiveness at carrying the freedom struggle into the global arena and provides a fresh perspective on twentieth-century struggles for racial justice.


Click for more detail about The Black Chicago Renaissance (New Black Studies Series) by Darlene Clark Hine and John McCluskey Jr. The Black Chicago Renaissance (New Black Studies Series)

by Darlene Clark Hine and John McCluskey Jr.
University of Illinois Press (Jun 25, 2012)
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 Beginning in the 1930s, Black Chicago experienced a cultural renaissance that lasted into the 1950s and rivaled the cultural outpouring in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. The contributors to this volume analyze this prolific period of African American creativity in music, performance art, social science scholarship, and visual and literary artistic expression. Unlike Harlem, Chicago was an urban industrial center that gave a unique working class and internationalist perspective to the cultural work being done in Chicago. This collection’s various essays discuss the forces that distinguished the Black Chicago Renaissance from the Harlem Renaissance and placed the development of black culture in a national and international context. Among the topics discussed in this volume are Chicago writers Gwendolyn Brooks and Richard Wright, The Chicago Defender and Tivoli Theater, African American music and visual arts, and the American Negro Exposition of 1940. Contributors are Hilary Mac Austin, David T. Bailey, Murry N. DePillars, Samuel A. Floyd Jr., Erik S. Gellman, Jeffrey Helgeson, Darlene Clark Hine, John McCluskey Jr., Christopher Robert Reed, Elizabeth Schlabach, and Clovis E. Semmes.

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Click for more detail about Rebels and Runaways: Slave Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Florida by Larry Eugene Rivers Rebels and Runaways: Slave Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Florida

by Larry Eugene Rivers
University of Illinois Press (Jun 22, 2012)
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This gripping study examines slave resistance and protest in antebellum Florida and its local and national impact from 1821 to 1865. Using a variety of sources, Larry Eugene Rivers discusses Florida’s unique historical significance as a runaway slave haven dating back to the seventeenth century. In moving detail, Rivers illustrates what life was like for enslaved blacks whose families were pulled asunder as they relocated and how they fought back any way they could to control small parts of their own lives. Identifying slave rebellions such as the Stono, Louisiana, Denmark (Telemaque) Vesey, Gabriel, and the Nat Turner insurrections, Rivers argues persuasively that the size, scope, and intensity of black resistance in the Second Seminole War makes it the largest sustained slave insurrection in American history.


Click for more detail about Swing the Sickle for the Harvest Is Ripe: Gender and Slavery in Antebellum Georgia by Daina Ramey Berry Swing the Sickle for the Harvest Is Ripe: Gender and Slavery in Antebellum Georgia

by Daina Ramey Berry
University of Illinois Press (Jun 28, 2010)
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"Swing the Sickle for the Harvest Is Ripe" compares the work, family, and economic experiences of enslaved women and men in upcountry and lowcountry Georgia during the nineteenth century. Mining planters’ daybooks, plantation records, and a wealth of other sources, Daina Ramey Berry shows how slaves’ experiences on large plantations, which were essentially self-contained, closed communities, contrasted with those on small plantations, where planters’ interests in sharing their workforces allowed slaves more open, fluid communications. By inviting readers into slaves’ internal lives through her detailed examination of domestic violence, separation and sale, and forced breeding, Berry also reveals important new ways of understanding what it meant to be a female or male slave, as well as how public and private aspects of slave life influenced each other on the plantation


Click for more detail about Divas On Screen: Black Women In American Film by Mia Mask Divas On Screen: Black Women In American Film

by Mia Mask
University of Illinois Press (Jul 02, 2009)
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This insightful study places African American women’s stardom in historical and industrial contexts by examining the star personae of five African American women: Dorothy Dandridge, Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Halle Berry. Interpreting each woman’s celebrity as predicated on a brand of charismatic authority, Mia Mask shows how these female stars have ultimately complicated the conventional discursive practices through which blackness and womanhood have been represented in commercial cinema, independent film, and network television.Mask examines the function of these stars in seminal yet underanalyzed films. She considers Dandridge’s status as a sexual commodity in films such as Tamango, revealing the contradictory discourses regarding race and sexuality in segregation-era American culture. Grier’s feminist-camp performances in sexploitation pictures Women in Cages and The Big Doll House and her subsequent blaxploitation vehicles Coffy and Foxy Brown highlight a similar tension between representing African American women as both objectified stereotypes and powerful, self-defining icons. Mask reads Goldberg’s transforming habits in Sister Act and The Associate as representative of her unruly comedic routines, while Winfrey’s daily television performance as self-made, self-help guru echoes Horatio Alger narratives of success. Finally, Mask analyzes Berry’s meteoric success by acknowledging the ways in which Dandridge’s career made Berry’s possible.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Moses And The Monster And Miss Anne by Carole C. Marks Moses And The Monster And Miss Anne

by Carole C. Marks
University of Illinois Press (Jun 25, 2009)
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This engaging history presents the extraordinary lives of Patty Cannon, Anna Ella Carroll, and Harriet Tubman, three "dangerous" women who grew up in early nineteenth-century Maryland and were vigorously enmeshed in the social and political maelstrom of antebellum America. The "monstrous" Patty Cannon was a reputed thief, murderer, and leader of a ruthless gang who kidnapped free blacks and sold them back into slavery, whereas Miss Anna Ella Carroll, a relatively genteel unmarried slaveholder, foisted herself into state and national politics by exerting influence on legislators and conspiring with Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks to keep Maryland in the Union when many state legislators clamored to join the Confederacy. And, of course, Harriet Tubman—slave rescuer, abolitionist, and later women’s suffragist—was both hailed as "the Moses of her people" and hunted as an outlaw with a price on her head worth at least ten thousand dollars. Carole C. Marks gleans historical fact and sociological insight from the persistent myths and exaggerations that color the women’s legacies. Though they never actually met, and their backgrounds and beliefs differed drastically, these women’s lives converged through their active experiences of the conflict over slavery in Maryland and beyond, the uncertainties of economic transformation, the struggles in the legal foundation of slavery and, most of all, the growing dispute in gender relations in America.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power by David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power

by David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito
University of Illinois Press (Apr 08, 2009)
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In whatever role he chose—civil rights leader, wealthy entrepreneur, or unconventional surgeon—Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard (1908-76) was always close to controversy. One of the leading renaissance men of twentieth century black history, Howard successfully organized a grassroots boycott against Jim Crow in the 1950s. Well known for his benevolence, fun-loving lifestyle, and fabulous parties attended by such celebrities as Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, he could also be difficult to work with when he let his boundless ego get the best of him. A trained medical doctor, he kept the secrets of the white elite, and although married to one woman for forty years, he had many personal peccadilloes. But T. R. M. Howard’s impressive accomplishments and abilities vastly outshone his personal flaws and foibles. He was a dynamic civil rights pioneer and promoter of self-help and business enterprise among blacks. With this remarkable biography, David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito secure Howard’s rightful place in African American history. Drawing from dozens of interviews with Howard’s friends and contemporaries, as well as FBI files, court documents, and private papers, the authors present a fittingly vibrant portrait of a complicated leader, iconoclastic businessman, and tireless activist.


Click for more detail about African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids by Randal Maurice Jelks African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids

by Randal Maurice Jelks
University of Illinois Press (Mar 01, 2006)
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African Americans in the Furniture City is unique not only in terms of its subject, but also for its framing of the African American struggle for survival, civil rights, and community inside a discussion of the larger white community. Examining the African-American community of Grand Rapids, Michigan between 1850 and 1954, Randal Maurice Jelks uncovers the ways in which its members faced urbanization, responded to structural racism, developed in terms of occupations, and shaped their communal identities.

Focusing on the intersection of African Americans’ nineteenth-century cultural values and the changing social and political conditions in the first half of the twentieth century, Jelks pays particularly close attention to the religious community’s influence during their struggle toward a respectable social identity and fair treatment under the law. He explores how these competing values defined the community’s politics as it struggled to expand its freedoms and change its status as a subjugated racial minority.


Click for more detail about Caribbean Crusaders and the Harlem Renaissance by Joyce Moore Turner Caribbean Crusaders and the Harlem Renaissance

by Joyce Moore Turner
University of Illinois Press (Oct 31, 2005)
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Caribbean Crusaders and the Harlem Renaissance is a study of the emergence of African American radicalism in Harlem, a crossroads of the African Diaspora in the early twentieth century. Turner reveals that the Harlem Renaissance was more than just an artistic fluorescence; it was also a political movement to counter racism and colonialism. To explore the roots of the Caribbean emigres’ radical ideology and the strategies used to extend agitation from Harlem to national and international platforms, the study draws on the papers and writings of Hermina Huiswoud, Cyril Briggs, the Reverend E. Ethelred Brown, Langston Hughes, and Richard B. Moore, as well as from interviews and biographies of related contemporary figures. It also incorporates census records, FBI files, and hundreds of documents from the recently opened Russian Archive. Through a focus on Otto Huiswood, the sole African American charter member of the Communist Party, and his wife, Hermina, Turner exposes the complex developments within the socialist and communist parties on the question of race. reveal the breadth, depth, and nearly global reach of the Afro-Caribbean activists’ activities. Joyce Moore Turner is the co-editor of Richard B. Moore, Caribbean Militant in Harlem: Collected Writings 1920-1972. W. Burghardt Turner is emeritus professor of history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Franklin W. Knight is Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University.


Click for more detail about Controlling the Silver (Illinois Poetry Series) by Lorna Goodison Controlling the Silver (Illinois Poetry Series)

by Lorna Goodison
University of Illinois Press (Oct 13, 2004)
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Poet Lorna Goodison has written a new collection of elegies and praise songs which explore the close link between history and genealogy in the Caribbean experience. Her subjects range from the economic genius of market women to the complex beauty of the natural world.


Click for more detail about Complete Poems by Claude McKay Complete Poems

by Claude McKay
University of Illinois Press (Jan 29, 2004)
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Containing more than three hundred poems, including nearly a hundred published here for the first time, this collection showcases the range and dynamism of Claude McKay (1889-1948), the Jamaican-born poet whose life and poetry were marked by restless travel and steadfast social protest. His first poems were composed in rural Jamaican dialect and launched his lifelong commitment to representing everyday black culture from the bottom up. McKay migrated to New York, reinvigorating the standard English sonnet and helping to spark the Harlem Renaissance with poems such as "If We Must Die."Coming under scrutiny for his Bolshevist views, McKay left America in 1922 and spent twelve years traveling the world. When he returned to Harlem in 1934, having denounced Stalin’s Soviet Union, his pristine "Violent Sonnets" gave way to confessional lyrics strongly informed by his newfound Catholicism. McKay eludes easy definition, which is why this complete anthology, vividly introduced and carefully annotated by William Maxwell, is at once necessary and rewarding. Here the reader can trace the complex, transnational evolution of a major voice in twentieth-century poetry.

If We Must Die

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!  

If We Must Die

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!  


Click for more detail about The Splendid Drunken Twenties: Selections from the Daybooks, 1922-1930 by Carl Van Vechten The Splendid Drunken Twenties: Selections from the Daybooks, 1922-1930

by Carl Van Vechten
University of Illinois Press (Sep 03, 2003)
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This generous, representative sampling from the daybooks of Carl Van Vechten, one of the most significant figures of the Harlem Renaissance, is a rich resource and major reference tool for reconstructing the culture of 1920s New York, the social milieu during Prohibition, and more. Bruce Kellner has provided copious, informative notes identifying central figures and clarifying details. Between 1922 and 1930, Van Vechten kept a daily record of his activities. Not exactly diaries, but more than appointment books, the daybooks record his daily comings and goings, as well as the alliances, drinking habits, feuds, and affairs of a wide number of luminaries of the period. They catalog tales of bootlegging, literary teas, shifting cliques of artists and writers, cabaret slumming, sexual and social peccadilloes, and a seemingly endless sequence of parties.


Click for more detail about The Militant South, 1800-1861 by John Hope Franklin The Militant South, 1800-1861

by John Hope Franklin
University of Illinois Press (Mar 12, 2002)
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Identifies the factors and causes of the South’s festering propensity for aggression that contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. This title asserts that the South was dominated by militant white men who resorted to violence in the face of social, personal, or political conflict. It details the consequences of antebellum aggression.


Click for more detail about Turn Thanks: POEMS by Lorna Goodison Turn Thanks: POEMS

by Lorna Goodison
University of Illinois Press (Apr 01, 1999)
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The lyric energy, compassion, humor, and tenderness that characterize Lorna Goodison’s work are once again in evidence in "Turn Thanks", her seventh collection. Here the Jamaican poet turns to acknowledge her own ancestors and those of her craft: mother and father, aunts and uncles, Africa, William Wordsworth, Vincent Van Gogh, the Wild Woman. "Whether you will receive this letter or not I cannot tell," she writes, "Still, I intend to send it …".


Click for more detail about Mandy Oxendine by Victor Séjour Mandy Oxendine

by Victor Séjour
University of Illinois Press (Sep 01, 1997)
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In a novel rejected by a major publisher in the late nineteenth century as too shocking for its time, Charles W. Chesnutt challenges the notion that race, class, education, and gender must define where one’s "rightful" place in society should be. Both a romance and a mystery, Mandy Oxendine tells the compelling story of two fair-skinned, racially mixed lovers who choose to live on opposite sides of the color line; Tom Lowrey remains in the black community, and Mandy Oxendine chooses to pass for white. An alluring young woman, Mandy also is courted by an unscrupulous white landowner who is killed while sexually assaulting her. Critics have tended to characterize Chesnutt as being of the "Uncle Tom" school of African-American writers. Publication of Mandy Oxendine, set aside by the author and left untranscribed in an archive for years, may do much to revise that interpretation.


Click for more detail about Every Tub Must Sit on Its Own Bottom: The Philosophy and Politics of Zora Neale Hurston by Deborah G. Plant Every Tub Must Sit on Its Own Bottom: The Philosophy and Politics of Zora Neale Hurston

by Deborah G. Plant
University of Illinois Press (Oct 01, 1995)
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In a ground-breaking study of Zora Neale Hurston, Deborah Plant takes issue with current notions of Hurston as a feminist and earlier impressions of her as an intellectual lightweight who disregarded serious issues of race in American culture. Instead, Plant calls Hurston a "writer of resistance" who challenged the politics of domination both in her life and in her work.
One of the great geniuses of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston stands out as a strong voice for African American women. Her anthropological inquiries as well as her evocative prose provide today’s readers with a rich history of African American folk culture - a folk culture through which Hurston expressed her personal and political strategy of resistance and self-empowerment.
Through readings of Hurston’s fiction and autobiographical writings, Plant offers one of the first book-length discussions of Hurston’s personal philosophy of individualism and self-reliance. From a discussion of Hurston’s preacher father and influential mother, whose guiding philosophy is reflected in the title of this book, to the influence of Spinoza and Nietzsche, Plant puts into perspective the driving forces behind Hurston’s powerful prose.


Click for more detail about Langston Hughes and the Chicago Defender: Essays on Race, Politics, and Culture, 1942-62 by Langston Hughes Langston Hughes and the Chicago Defender: Essays on Race, Politics, and Culture, 1942-62

by Langston Hughes
University of Illinois Press (Jul 01, 1995)
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Langston Hughes is well known as a poet, playwright, novelist, social activist, communist sympathizer, and brilliant member of the Harlem Renaissance. He has been referred to as the "Dean of Black Letters" and the "poet low-rate of Harlem."
But it was as a columnist for the famous African-American newspaper the Chicago Defender that Hughes chronicled the hopes and despair of his people. For twenty years, he wrote forcefully about international race relations, Jim Crow, the South, white supremacy, imperialism and fascism, segregation in the armed forces, the Soviet Union and communism, and African-American art and culture. None of the racial hypocrisies of American life escaped his searing, ironic prose.
This is the first collection of Hughes’s nonfiction journalistic writings. For readers new to Hughes, it is an excellent introduction; for those familiar with him, it gives new insights into his poems and fiction.


Click for more detail about To Us, All Flowers Are Roses: POEMS (Illinois Poetry) by Lorna Goodison To Us, All Flowers Are Roses: POEMS (Illinois Poetry)

by Lorna Goodison
University of Illinois Press (Jun 01, 1995)
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