A Brick and a Bible
Black Women’s Radical Activism in the Midwest during the Great Depression Melissa Ford
“In A Brick and a Bible, radical Black working-class women take center stage as the shapers of their own destinies. By charting these women’s diverse engagement with Communist-affiliated groups across the Midwest, Melissa Ford reveals the centrality of the region as a key site for Black radical politics. With clarity and grace, Ford recovers the stories of Black women determined to bring an end to race, gender, and class oppression.”—Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom
Uncovering the social revolution led by Black women in the heartland
Paper: 978-0-8093-3855-9 E-book: 978-0-8093-3856-6 $28.50, 242 pages, 14 illus.
Learn more and order at www.siupress.com/brickandbible.
In this first study of Black radicalism in midwestern cities before the civil rights movement, Melissa Ford connects the activism of Black women who championed justice during the Great Depression to those involved in the Ferguson Uprising and the Black Lives Matter movement. A Brick and a Bible examines how African American working-class women, many of whom had just migrated to “the promised land” only to find hunger, cold, and unemployment, forged a region of revolutionary potential. A Brick and a Bible theorizes a tradition of Midwestern Black radicalism, a praxis-based ideology informed by but divergent from American Communism. Midwestern Black radicalism contests that interlocking systems of oppression directly relate the distinct racial, political, geographic, economic, and gendered characteristics that make up the American heartland. This volume illustrates how, at the risk of their careers, their reputations, and even their lives, African American working-class women in the Midwest used their position to shape a unique form of social activism. Case studies of Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, and Cleveland—hotbeds of radical activism—follow African American women across the Midwest as they participated in the Ford Hunger March, organized the Funsten Nut Pickers’ strike, led the Sopkin Dressmakers’ strike, and supported the Unemployed Councils and the Scottsboro Boys’ defense. Ford profoundly reimagines how we remember and interpret these “ordinary” women doing extraordinary things across the heartland. Once overlooked, their activism shaped a radical tradition in midwestern cities that continues to be seen in cities like Ferguson and Minneapolis today.
Melissa Ford is an assistant professor at Slippery Rock University specializing in African American history. Her work has appeared in American Communist History. She is a former Black Metropolis Research Consortium fellow.
Duty beyond the Battlefield
African American Soldiers Fight for Racial Uplift, Citizenship, and Manhood, 1870–1920 Le’Trice D. Donaldson
“Deeply researched and powerfully argued, Duty beyond the Battlefield is a significant contribution to the history of black soldiers, manhood, and citizenship. With this fascinating book, Le’Trice D. Donaldson has established herself as one of the leading scholars of African American military history.”—Chad L. Williams, author of Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era
Race warriors, citizenship, heroism, and manhood after the Civil War In a bold departure from previous scholarship, Le’Trice D. Donaldson locates the often overlooked era between the Civil War and the end of World War I as the beginning of Black soldiers’ involvement in the long struggle for civil rights. Donaldson traces the evolution of these soldiers as they used their military service to challenge White notions of an African American second-class citizenry and forged a new identity as freedom fighters willing to demand the rights of full citizenship and manhood. Through extensive research, Donaldson not only illuminates this evolution but also interrogates the association between masculinity and citizenship and the ways in which performing manhood through military service influenced how these men struggled for racial uplift. Following the Buffalo soldier units and two regular army infantry units from the frontier and the Mexican border to Mexico, Cuba, and the Philippines, Donaldson investigates how these locations and the wars therein provide windows into how the soldiers’ struggles influenced Black life and status within the United States. Continuing to probe the idea of what it meant to be a military race man—a man concerned with the uplift of the Black race who followed the philosophy of progress—Donaldson contrasts the histories of officers Henry Flipper and Charles Young, two soldiers who saw their roles and responsibilities as Black military officers very differently. Duty beyond the Battlefield demonstrates that from the 1870s to the 1920s military race men laid the foundation for the “New Negro” movement and the rise of Black Nationalism that influenced the future leaders of the twentieth-century civil rights movement.
Le’Trice D. Donaldson, an assistant professor of African American and U.S. history at the Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, is the author of A Voyage through the African American Experience.
Paper: 978-0-8093-3759-0 E-book: 978-0-8093-3760-6 $29.50, 216 pages, 21 illus.
Read more at www.siupress.com/dutybeyond
Organizing Freedom Black Emancipation Activism in the Civil War Midwest Jennifer R. Harbour
“Jennifer R. Harbour deftly teases out everyday acts of bravery in the Black communities of Illinois and Indiana in their pursuit of emancipation as a conscious, concerted, collective, and ongoing action. With vivid examples she reveals men, women, and children not only surviving in a threatening environment but also defining the terms of freedom as something greater than the absence of slavery. This is an important contribution to Underground Railroad, abolitionist, and Civil War studies.”—Leigh Fought, author of Women in the World of Frederick Douglass
Freedom made tangible in Illinois and Indiana
Paper: 978-0-8093-3769-9 E-book: 978-0-8093-3770-5 $27, 208 pages, 5 illus.
Read more at www.siupress.com/organizingfreedom
Organizing Freedom is a riveting and significant social history of Black emancipation activism in Indiana and Illinois during the Civil War era. By enlarging the definition of emancipation to include Black activism, author Jennifer R. Harbour details the aggressive, tenacious defiance through which Midwestern African Americans—particularly Black women—made freedom tangible for themselves. Despite banning slavery, Illinois and Indiana share an antebellum history of severely restricting rights for free Black people while protecting the rights of slaveholders. Nevertheless, as Harbour shows, Black Americans settled there, and in a liminal space between legal slavery and true freedom, they focused on their main goals: creating institutions like churches, schools, and police watches; establishing citizenship rights; arguing against oppressive laws in public and in print; and, later, supporting their communities throughout the Civil War. Harbour’s sophisticated gendered analysis features Black women as being central to the seeking of emancipated freedom. Her distinct focus on what military service meant for the families of Black Civil War soldiers elucidates how Black women navigated life at home without a male breadwinner at the same time they began a new, public practice of emancipation activism. During the tumult of war, Midwestern Black women negotiated relationships with local, state, and federal entities through the practices of philanthropy, mutual aid, religiosity, and refugee and soldier relief. This story of free Black people shows how the ideal of equality often competed against reality in an imperfect nation. As they worked through the sluggish, incremental process to achieve abolition and emancipation, Midwestern Black activists created a unique regional identity.
Jennifer R. Harbour is an associate professor of Black Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
The Ordeal of the Jungle Race and the Chicago Federation of Labor, 1903–1922 David Bates
“The Ordeal of the Jungle is a timely contribution to the ongoing conversation between the past and the present not only in the fields of labor and African American history but also in movements for the advancement of working people and people of color.”—Peter Rachleff, author of Black Labor in Richmond, 1865–1890
A radical retelling of labor movement collapse Between 1910 and 1920, the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) inaugurated a massive organizing drive in the city’s meatpacking and steel industries. Although the CFL sought legitimately progressive goals, worked earnestly to organize an interracial union, and made major inroads among both Black and White workers, their efforts resulted in a bitter defeat. David Bates provides a clear picture of how even the most forward-looking of actions can grind to a halt. By organizing workers into neighborhood locals, which connected workplace struggles to ethnic and religious identities, the CFL facilitated a surge in the organization’s membership, particularly among African American workers, and afforded the federation the opportunity to aggressively confront employers. The CFL’s innovative structure, however, was ultimately its demise. Linking union locals to neighborhoods proved to be a form of de facto segregation. Over time union structures, rank-and-file conflicts, and employer resistance combined to turn the union’s hopeful calls for solidarity into animosity and estrangement. Tensions were exacerbated by violent shop floor confrontations and exploded in the bloody 1919 Chicago Race Riot. By the early 1920s, the CFL had collapsed. The Ordeal of the Jungle explores the choices of a variety of people while showing a complex, overarching interplay of Black and White workers and their employers. In addition to analyzing union structures and on-the-ground relations between workers, Bates synthesizes and challenges previous scholarship on interracial organizing to explain the failure of progressive unionism in Chicago.
David Bates is an assistant professor of history at Concordia University Chicago. He is a regular contributor to the Illinois Reading Council Journal and has also contributed to the Journal of Interdisciplinary History and The Encyclopedia of American Reform Movements.
Paper: 978-0-8093-3744-6 E-book: 978-0-8093-3745-3 $29.50, 268 pages, 9 illus.
Fight Like a Tiger
Conway Barbour and the Challenges of the Black Middle Class in Nineteenth-Century America Victoria L. Harrison
“Victoria L. Harrison brings to light the singular Conway Barbour, a mid-nineteenthcentury man on the move. Her meticulous research and lucid prose lead readers into Barbour’s previously hidden life; in the process she challenges how we think about class, race, and place.”—Dana Elizabeth Weiner, author of Race and Rights: Fighting Slavery and Prejudice in the Old Northwest, 1830–1870
Paper: 978-0-8093-3677-7 E-book: 978-0-8093-3678-4 $27.50, 184 pages, 20 illus.
Focusing on the life of ambitious former slave Conway Barbour, Victoria L. Harrison argues that the idea of a Black middle class traced its origins to the free Black population of the mid-nineteenth century and developed alongside the idea of a White middle class. Harrison’s argument about Black class formation reframes the customary narrative of downtrodden free African Americans in the mid-nineteenth century and engages current discussions of Black inclusion, the concept of “otherness,” and the breaking down of societal barriers. Demonstrating that careful research can reveal the stories of people who have been invisible to history, Fight Like a Tiger complicates our understanding of the intersection of race and class in the Civil War era.
Victoria L. Harrison is an instructor in the Department of Historical Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She has published essays in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society and Ohio Valley History.
From Slave to State Legislator John W. E. Thomas, Illinois’ First African American Lawmaker David A. Joens
“From Slave to State Legislator goes beyond filling a basic hole in the historiography of Northern Black politics and would benefit any student of ethnographic political history.”—Donovan Weight, Journal of the Illinois Historical Society
Cloth: 978-0-8093-3058-4 E-book: 978-0-8093-3060-7 $34.95, 288 pages, 22 illus.
Paperback coming Fall 2022!
As the first African American elected to the Illinois general assembly, John W. E. Thomas was the recognized leader of the state’s African American community for nearly twenty years and laid the groundwork for the success of future Black leaders in Chicago politics. Despite his key role in the passage of Illinois’ first civil rights act and his commitment to improving his community against steep personal and political barriers, Thomas’s life and career have been long forgotten by historians and the public alike. This fascinating fulllength biography—the first to address the full influence of Thomas or any Black politician from Illinois during the Reconstruction Era—is also a pioneering effort to explain the dynamics of African American politics and divisions within the black community in post–Civil War Chicago.
David A. Joens is the director of the Illinois State Archives and the author of numerous articles on Illinois political history.
Black Writing from Chicago In the World, Not of It?
Edited by Richard R. Guzman “A heady mix of old-school agitprop and literary wonderment, a testimony not only to the multitude of great Black writers who were born or passed through here, but to the myriad forms literature may take.”—Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago Black Writing from Chicago: In the World, Not of It? takes readers on a cultural trip through Chicago’s literary history. Editor Richard R. Guzman compiles the first comprehensive collection of the works of Chicago’s Black writers from 1861 to the present day. The anthology, which includes works from newspaper writing, poetry, fiction, drama, essays, and historical and social commentary, seeks not only to represent a broad range of writings but also to focus tightly on such themes as hope and despair, racism and equality, spirituality and religion. More than sixty writers, from the anonymous “J. W. M. (Colored)” to Ken Green, unfold a story that reflects the literary periods in Black American history. Each author’s selection is preceded by a biographical and a bibliographical introduction. Readers interested in Chicago, race relations, and literature, as well as scholars of history, sociology, urban studies, and cultural studies, will find the collection invaluable.
Paper: 978-0-8093-2704-1 $22.95, 360 pages
Richard R. Guzman is a professor of English and the coordinator of the master of arts in liberal studies and the master of leadership studies programs at North Central College. He is a coeditor of Smokestacks and Skyscrapers: An Anthology of Chicago Writing.
Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers
Interracial Marriage Bans and the Case of Richard and Mildred Loving Phyl Newbeck
“A clearly written, accessible, well-organized, and remarkably researched history of the path-breaking Loving case.”—Michael Meltsner, Harvard Law School and Northeastern Law School This landmark volume chronicles the history of laws banning interracial marriage in the United States with particular emphasis on the case of Richard and Mildred Loving, a White man and a Black woman who were convicted by the state of Virginia of the crime of marrying across racial lines in the late 1950s. The Lovings were not activists, but their battle to live together as husband and wife in their home state instigated the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that antimiscegenation laws were unconstitutional, which ultimately resulted in the overturning of laws against interracial marriage that were still in effect in sixteen states by the late 1960s.
A graduate of Barnard College and New York Law School, Phyl Newbeck is a licensed attorney and the director of the Vermont Teacher Diversity Scholarship Program.
Paper: 978-0-8093-2857-4 E-book: 978-0-8093-8734-2 $19.95, 332 pages, 18 illus.
From Du Bois to Obama African American Intellectuals in the Public Forum Charles Pete Banner-Haley
“This is a substantial, wide-ranging, imaginative, and significant contribution to the literature on African American intellectuals. Rooted firmly in historical analysis, From Du Bois to Obama deepens our understanding of the African American intellectual experience.”—Louis Ferleger, Boston University
Paper: 978-0-8093-3348-6 E-book: 978-0-8093-8562-1 $20, 182 pages
In his groundbreaking book Charles Pete Banner-Haley explores the history of African American intellectualism and reveals the efforts of Black intellectuals in the ongoing struggle against racism, showing how they have responded to Jim Crow segregation, violence against Black Americans, and the more subtle racism of the postintegration age. BannerHaley asserts that African American intellectuals—including academicians, social critics, activists, and writers—serve to generate debate, policy, and change, acting as a moral force to persuade Americans to acknowledge their history of slavery and racism, become more inclusive and accepting of humanity, and take responsibility for social justice.
Charles Pete Banner-Haley is an associate professor of history and the former director of the Africana–Latin American Studies Program at Colgate University. He is the author of To Do Good and to Do Well: Middle Class Blacks and the Depression, Philadelphia, 1929–1941 and The Fruits of Integration: Black Middle Class Ideology and Culture, 1960–1990.
It’s Good to be Black Ruby Berkley Goodwin
“Episodes in the childhood of Ruby Berkley speak of the proud, just and generous family of Negroes living in Southern Illinois before the First World War. Since Dad was a coal miner, there is plenty of drama and pathos. But the great thing here is the family’s tolerance of their polyglot neighbors who are also their friends.”—Library Journal “Is it good to be Black? To Ruby Berkley Goodwin it was....The Black she writes about has nothing to do with skin color, but it does have a great deal to do with self images, values, spiritual strength, and most of all love. Unlike the contradicting definitions of Blackness we see reflected in today’s crime statistics, movies, television, newspapers, political speeches, advertisements, and sociological reports, Ruby Berkley Goodwin’s definition of Blackness is simple and to the point: Black is good. It’s Good to be Black is more than the story (history) of a Black family living in Du Quoin, Illinois, during the early 1900s; it is a reaffirmation for all of us who know in our hearts that there is still good in the world and that some of that good is Black.”—Carmen Kenya Wadley, in the Preface Paper: 978-0-8093-3122-2 E-book: 978-0-8093-3123-9 $19.95, 280 pages
Ruby Berkley Goodwin was born and raised in DuQuoin, IL. She moved with her family to California where she became a poet, a publicist, journalist, and a screenwriter. A confidant of actress Hattie McDaniel, Goodwin acted in several TV series, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Knock at the Door of Opportunity Black Migration to Chicago, 1900-1919 Christopher Robert Reed
“Reed challenges depressive stereotypes of Black urban life by closely examining the variegated dimensions of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Black Chicago. He paints a vivid picture of entrepreneurial enterprises and institution building of a people who were unwilling to accept victimization and racial oppression. This work is a powerful revelation of Black American agency, resiliency, and courage.”—Dr. Clovis E. Semmes, author of The Regal Theater and Black Culture Disputing the so-called ghetto studies that depicted the early part of the twentieth century as the nadir of African American society, this thoughtful volume investigates Black life in turn-ofthe-century Chicago, revealing a vibrant community that grew and developed on Chicago’s South Side in the early 1900s. Reed also explores the impact of the fifty thousand Black southerners who streamed into the city during the Great Migration of 1916–1918, effectively doubling Chicago’s African American population. Those already residing in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods had a lot in common with those who migrated, Reed demonstrates, and the two groups became unified, building a broad community base able to face discrimination and prejudice while contributing to Chicago’s growth and development.
Cloth: 978-0-8093-3333-2 E-book: 978-0-8093-3334-9 $29, 408 pages, 34 illus.
Christopher Robert Reed is a professor emeritus of history and a former director of the St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is the author of five books, including The Depression Comes to Chicago’s South Side: Protest and Politics, 1930–1933.
Black Legislators in Louisiana during Reconstruction Charles Vincent
“[A] classic in the field of African American history—one of the ground-breaking works that helped pave the way for the scholarship that would follow.”—John C. Rodrigue, author of Reconstruction in the Cane Fields: From Slavery to Free Labor in Louisiana’s Sugar Parishes, 1862-1880 When originally published, Charles Vincent’s scholarship shed new light on the achievements of Black legislators in the state legislatures in post-Civil War Louisiana—a state where Black people were a majority in the state population but a minority in the legislature. Now updated with a new preface, this volume endures as an important work that illustrates the strength of minorities in state government during Reconstruction. It focuses on the achievements of the Black representatives and senators in the Louisiana legislature who, through tireless fighting, were able to push forward many progressive reforms, such as universal public education, and social programs for the less fortunate.
Charles Vincent is a professor of history at Southern University and A&M College. He is the author of A Centennial History of Southern University and A&M College, 1880-1980, and the editor of three volumes of The African American Experience in Louisiana.
Paper: 978-0-8093-2969-4 E-book: 978-0-8093-8581-2 $30, 296 pages, 10 illus.
A New Deal for Bronzeville: Housing, Employment, and Civil Rights in Black Chicago, 1935-1955 Lionel Kimble Jr. Paper: 978-0-8093-3426-1 $26.50, 216 pages, 10 illus.
When Race Becomes Real: Black and White Writers Confront Their Personal Histories Edited by Bernestine Singley Paper: 978-0-8093-2885-7 $22, 352 pages, 30 illus.
A Decisive Decade: An Insider’s View of the Chicago Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s Robert B. McKersie Cloth: 978-0-8093-3244-1 $29.95, 288 pages 34 illus.
The Will of a People: A Critical Anthology of Great African American Speeches Edited with Introductions by Richard W. Leeman and Bernard K. Duffy Paper: 978-0-8093-3057-7 $34.95, 474 pages
Lincoln and Emancipation Edna Greene Medford Paper: 978-0-8093-3796-5 $16.95, 162 pages, 4 illus. Concise Lincoln Library
Black Troops, White Commanders and Freedmen during the Civil War Howard C. Westwood Paper: 978-0-8093-2881-9 $22.50, 208 pages
Red Clay Suite Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Paper: 978-0-8093-2760-7 $18.95, 88 pages Crab Orchard Series in Poetry
Pembroke: A Rural, Black Community on the Illinois Dunes Dave Baron Paper: 978-0-8093-3502-2 $26.50, 248 pages, 18 illus.
Tell Us a Story: An African American Family in the Heartland Shirley Motley Portwood Paper: 978-0-8093-2314-2 $19.95, 272 pages, 24 illus.
Lincoln and the U.S. Colored Troops John David Smith Cloth: 978-0-8093-3290-8 $24.95, 168 pages Concise Lincoln Library
We Are Coming: The Persuasive Discourse of NineteenthCentury Black Women Shirley Wilson Logan Paper: 978-0-8093-2193-3 $30, 288 pages, 8 illus.
A Murmuration of Starlings Jake Adam York Paper: 978-0-8093-2837-6 $15.95, 96 pages Crab Orchard Series in Poetry
Persons Unknown Jake Adam York Paper: 978-0-8093-2998-4 $15.95, 112 pages Crab Orchard Series in Poetry
Broken Brotherhood: The Rise and Fall of the National Afro-American Council Benjamin R. Justesen Paper: 978-0-8093-2843-7 $35, 276 pages, 13 illus.
Black Identity: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Nineteenth-Century Black Nationalism Dexter B. Gordon Paper: 978-0-8093-2735-5 $30, 280 pages
Literacy and Racial Justice: The Politics of Learning after Brown v. Board of Education Catherine Prendergast Paper: 978-0-8093-2525-2 $35, 224 pages, 2 illus.
Escape Betwixt Two Suns: A True Tale of the Underground Railroad in Illinois Carol Pirtle Paper: 978-0-8093-2301-2 $19.95, 184 pages, 14 illus.
Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks Michael R. Gardner Paper: 978-0-8093-2550-4 $22, 320 pages, 28 illus.
Black Struggle for Public Schooling in Nineteenth-Century Illinois Robert L. McCaul Paper: 978-0-8093-2905-2 $20, 208 pages
African American Rhetoric(s): Interdisciplinary Perspectives Edited By Elaine B. Richardson and Ronald L. Jackson II Paper: 978-0-8093-2745-4 $35, 328 pages
God Knows His Name: The True Story of John Doe No. 24 David Bakke Paper: 978-0-8093-2327-2 $19.95, 180 pages, 16 illus.
Freedom’s Champion: Elijah Lovejoy Elijah Lovejoy. Revised by Paul Simon. Paper: 978-0-8093-1941-1 $22.50, 240 pages, 9 illus.
Political Plays of Langston Hughes Introductions and Analyses by Susan Duffy Paper: 978-0-8093-2296-1 $22.50, 240 pages, 1 illus.
Composition and Cornel West: Notes toward a Deep Democracy Keith Gilyard Paper: 978-0-8093-2854-3 $38, 176 pages