‘#Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation’: a poignant and incendiary read


Kam-Williams15“The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people, and punctured the illusion of a post-racial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists.

In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation.”

— Excerpted from the Book jacket


(Courtesy of Haymarket Books)
(Courtesy of Haymarket Books)

How did the Black Lives Matter movement manage to emerge at a time when so many people considered America to be post-racial? After all, the nation had not only elected its first African American president in 2008, but had witnessed an emergence of Black political elites both in Washington, D.C. and in so many cities across the land.

Recall how the Congressional Black Caucus, led by John Lewis, endorsed Hillary Clinton while questioning Bernie Sanders’ civil rights credentials. That support has effectively delivered over 90 percent of the African American vote to Clinton in state after state, arguably making the difference between her winning and losing the Democratic nomination.

But according to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, there is a “growing polarization between Black officials and ordinary Blacks living in urban communities.” She further asserts that African Americans in positions of power “are just as eager as White officials to invoke racial stereotypes to cover their own incompetence, from claims about cultural inferiority to broken families to Black criminality.”

In From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation, Professor Taylor explores why opposition to police brutality suddenly became an explosive rallying cry a couple years ago, despite its having been around as an issue for many generations. The author, who teaches African American Studies at Princeton University, also devotes considerable ink to a historical discussion of icons like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lyndon Baines Johnson, as well as to such hot button topics as colorblindness, American exceptionalism, the criminal justice system and the roots and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Overall, this incendiary tome amounts to a scathing indictment of “racism, capitalism and class rule” as oppressors of the Black masses, President Obama’s occupying the White House notwithstanding.


Kam Williams welcomes reader comments to kam_williams@hotmail.com.

To order a copy of From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation go to www.haymarketbooks.org.

One Comment on “‘#Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation’: a poignant and incendiary read”

  1. The 2016 #Blacklivesmatter National Convention will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 14, 15 and 16. The theme is “PUTTING A NATIONAL TEAM, TOOLS, STRATEGY, MESSAGE TOGETHER.” As the days have passed what’s becoming clear is #Blacklivesmatter mantra lacking concept, approach, methodology and clarity. Glaringly, there appears no capacity to lift the movement to the next level. #Blacklivesmatter lacks depth in its articulation. We must better explain the theoretical perspective espoused. By attending #Blacklivesmatter activists will enhance the group’s “ability and competency” to better engender desired results. Interestingly, the Blacklifematterpgh.org group has “put in writing MORE THAN FOUR YEARS AGO” the same plan that the Urban League just announced and the national media appears to agree with. How many “BLACK LIVES” would have mattered if they would have listened to us more than four years ago? Nonetheless, we need “URGENT” philanthropy support in Pittsburgh for the 2016 National Convention. Your donation can be made online to PayPal account. http://www.blacklifematterpgh.org/july-2016-convention-for–blacklivesmatter-activists.html

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