Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the 21st Century

Barbara Ransby. Univ. of California, $18.95 trade paper (189p) ISBN 978-0-520-29271-0
Historian Ransby (Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement), delivers an accessible analysis of contemporary American racial-justice organizing, focusing on the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and Black Lives Matter (BLM). She gives a wide-ranging overview of grassroots organizations, beginning with the responses to Trayvon Martin’s murder and George Zimmerman’s acquittal, and the protests in Ferguson, Mo., after Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer. Ransby argues that M4BL and BLM, drawing on black feminist and radical politics that take intersectionality as a founding principle, “rejected representative politics as a stand-in for substantive change in the condition of Black people’s lives.” The grassroots political organizers described reject neoliberal solutions in order to seek justice for all African-Americans, especially those marginalized by economic inequality and the epidemic of mass incarceration, engaging in actions like shutting down police board meetings to demand indictments after the killing of unarmed civilians. She profiles a variety of contemporary activists, from well-known names like Baltimore’s DeRay Mckesson to lesser-known figures like Alisha Sonnier, a teen leading protests and teach-ins in Ferguson. This perceptive resource on radical black liberation movements in the 21st century can inform anyone wanting to better understand why these movements sprang up or how to make social change. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2018
Release date: 08/01/2018
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-520-29270-3
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