The making of Black lives matter : a brief history of an idea / Christopher J. Lebron.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: Started in the wake of George Zimmerman's 2013 acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become a powerful and uncompromising campaign demanding redress for the brutal and unjustified treatment of black bodies by law enforcement in the United States. The movement is only a few years old, but as Christopher J. Lebron argues in this book, the sentiment behind it is not; the plea and demand that "Black Lives Matter" comes out of a much older and richer tradition arguing for the equal dignity--and not just equal rights--of black people. The Making of Black Lives Matter presents a condensed and accessible intellectual history that traces the genesis of the ideas that have built into the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Drawing on the work of revolutionary black public intellectuals, including Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, and Martin Luther King, Jr., Lebron clarifies what it means to assert that "Black Lives Matter" when faced with contemporary instances of anti-black law enforcement. He also illuminates the crucial difference between the problem signaled by the social media hashtag and how we think that we ought to address the problem. As Lebron states, police body cameras, or even the exhortation for civil rights mean nothing in the absence of equality and dignity. To upset dominant practices of abuse, oppression and disregard, we must reach instead for radical sensibility. Radical sensibility requires that we become cognizant of the history of black thought and activism in order to make sense of the emotions, demands, and argument of present-day activists and public thinkers. Only in this way can we truly embrace and pursue the idea of racial progress in America. -- Inside jacket flap.
    • Content Notes:
      Introduction: naming the dead in the name of the living -- American shame and real freedom -- Cultural control against social control: the radical possibilities of the Harlem Renaissance -- For our sons, daughters, and all concerned souls -- Where is the love? the hope for America's redemption -- The radical lessons we have not yet learned -- Afterword: nobody's protest essay.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references and index.
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LJ Reviews 2017 May #1

Black Lives Matter is more than the movement Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometti initiated on social media in 2013 in the wake of Trayvon Martin's death, insists Lebron (African American studies, Yale Univ.; The Color of Our Shame). The author explains that, dating back to America's beginnings, a long line of black forefathers sought to challenge the damning and ongoing violence against black people. Throughout five brief essays, an introduction, and an afterword, black scholars consider the persistent failure of the U.S. justice system to redress or remedy the white terrorism responsible for harming black lives. Rejecting their contemporary status quo, these thinkers advocate for acknowledgement and acceptance of black people as equals in society. VERDICT Injecting historical and philosophical perspective into the country's contemporary racial quagmire, Lebron offers readers a glimpse of the intellectual roots of African American's continual fight for respect and equality. His call to join a historically momentous generational force demanding change also offers readers direction on how to become part of a solution.—Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.