Weekend Reading: The Public Archive on “Radical Black Cities”

This week, The Public Archive published its fourth installment on Radical Black Reading.  The subject was race, urbanity, black geographies, and sense of place:

In this, The Public Archive’s fourth installment of Radical Black Reading,* we hope to contribute to an informal conversation about the history, plight, and future of Black cities – and towards the imagination of a radical Black city. It is a conversation taking place (if only in disparate, scattered form) across the African diaspora. The question of Black urban space, of Black geographies, and of the possibility of a radical Black city adds an urgent element to discussions of the nature of the urban, while the very survival of the Black city becomes a radical act of hope and resistance.

Several books of relevance were listed including Alejandro de la Fuente’s Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (2011), Leslie Harris’s African or American? Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784-1861 (2010), and Carla Peterson’s Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City.  De la Fuente, Harris and Peterson are also featured here, here and here at #ADPhD.

Browse the full list here or view installments here, here, and here.

 Image: David Osagie, Occupy Nigeria (2011) via The Public Archive

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2012 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 14th Annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize have been announced.

From the announcement:

Robin Blackburn for The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights (Verso Books)

In The American Crucible, Robin Blackburn has provided one of the most commanding and wide-ranging examinations of Atlantic abolitionism in years.  In an era of specialization, Blackburn thinks big, connecting emancipation moments through both time and space. Blackburn’s work compels scholars to think anew about abolitionism’s relevance to global modernity.

R. Blakeslee Gilpin for John Brown Still Lives: America’s Long Reckoning with Violence, Equality, and Change (University of North Carolina Press)

Finding new scholarly perspectives on John Brown is no easy task but R. Blakeslee Gilpin’s engaging and ramifying book does just that by examining the myriad ways that Americans have used Brown’s memory since the Civil War era. John Brown Still Lives! offers a profound meditation on the long-running debate over slavery, freedom and the struggle for racial justice in American hearts and minds.

Carla L. Peterson for Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in
Nineteenth-Century New York City (Yale University Press)

Carla Peterson’s Black Gotham brilliantly reconstructs her own family’s elusive past as a window unto free black life in 19th century New York. Part detective tale, part cultural history, Peterson’s book recaptures hidden stories of black abolitionism, economic uplift, Civil War heroism, and turn-of-the-century civil rights movements. By painstakingly reconstructing a segment of black New York, Peterson highlights a vibrant cast of characters who constantly redefined the meaning of both American and African American freedom.

James H. Sweet for Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual
History of the Atlantic World (University of North Carolina Press)

James Sweet’s thoughtful and moving book about African healer Domingos Alvares provides much more than a biographical portrait of a remarkable 18th century man. Rather, Sweet’s imaginative reconstruction of Alvares’ life in and out of bondage places African worldviews at the center of Atlantic history. Domingos Alvares also makes a compelling case for redefining the intellectual history of Atlantic society from Africans’ perspectives.

Continue reading “2012 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Finalists Announced”

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