Publishers Weekly
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Joseph (Waiting 'til the Midnight Hour) launches a much needed discussion of black power's successes and its contributions to the civil rights movement. Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael were, first and foremost, community organizers-as was Barack Obama, whose trajectory, according to the author, represents the culmination and redemption of his predecessors' efforts. Joseph examines two paths to black social justice-"black power" and the pulpit-driven civil rights movement-which popular history has traditionally pitted in opposition. Even if Carmichael's bracing criticism of American democracy or the Panthers' militancy seem miles away from King's pacifism, Joseph reveals how the two approaches fed off of each other, creating the kind of conflict and progress that would pave the way for the first African-American president, whose political roots are planted in activism. The author makes a persuasive and stimulating case for Obama's election as a vindication for black power, and his book is a vivid and welcome recasting of the history-and the myriad interpretations-of the movement. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Historian Joseph views President Obama's election from the spectrum of black power, often considered the evil twin of the civil rights movement. Joseph looks beyond the militant rhetoric and images of gun-toting Black Panthers that provoked fear in the white establishment to the concrete achievements of the black power movement. He examines the grassroots efforts that resulted in organizing sharecroppers in the rural South or organizing free breakfast and preschool programs that were later duplicated nationally. Joseph also examines the overlap of the aggressive black power movement and the nonviolent civil rights movement. He profiles the major iconic figures of the movement: Stokely Carmichael (credited with coining the phrase) and Malcolm X. In later chapters, Joseph draws on Obama's memoirs and actions before and since becoming president for perspective on how the black power movement affected him. While Obama seems to view the movement as anachronistic and angry, Joseph argues that Obama, like most Americans, fails to appreciate the enduring legacy of that movement and its significance in challenging and sharpening the ideal of American democracy.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

The new histories of the civil rights era include the black power movement as an integral part of the story for justice rather than as a footnote to the period that began with the 1954 Brown decision and ended with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Historian Joseph (Tufts Univ.) is the major scholar of black power. In this new work, he provides a well-written, well-organized account of the movement that will appeal to both students and general readers. Joseph emphasizes two overlooked aspects of black power: he pushes the origins of the movement back to the 1930s rather than the late 1960s, and he widens the movement's concerns as he argues that activists criticized European colonialism as well as US capitalism. Joseph's narrative device is to focus on the lives and careers of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and Barack Obama. This approach allows him to compare the civil rights and black power movements and conclude that, rather than being competitors, the two were collaborators in the struggle to transform the US, as the 2008 presidential election proved. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. D. O. Cullen Collin College