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by Penny M. Von Eschen

Download Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–1957 (Collectifs) ePub
  • ISBN 0801482925
  • ISBN13 978-0801482922
  • Language English
  • Author Penny M. Von Eschen
  • Publisher Cornell University Press; New edition edition (March 27, 1997)
  • Pages 280
  • Formats lrf docx lrf txt
  • Category History
  • Subcategory Americas
  • Size ePub 1540 kb
  • Size Fb2 1659 kb
  • Rating: 4.8
  • Votes: 431


American Libraries Canadian Libraries Universal Library Community Texts Project Gutenberg Biodiversity Heritage Library Children's Library.

American Libraries Canadian Libraries Universal Library Community Texts Project Gutenberg Biodiversity Heritage Library Children's Library. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books.

In the best tradition of W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James, and Cedric Robinson, she reminds us, as Malcolm X had three decades ago, that black liberation is 'not just an American problem, but a world problem. "―Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class.

Race against Empire tells the poignant story of a popular movement and its precipitate decline with the onset of the Cold War. Von Eschen documents the efforts of African-American political leaders, intellectuals, and journalists who forcefully promoted anti-colonial politics and critiqued . The eclipse of anti-colonial politics-which Von Eschen traces through African-American responses to the early Cold War, .

Race Against Empire is important finally for the immediacy of its subject matter.

In Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–1957, historian Penny M. Von Eschen contributes toward understanding the intersections among pan-Africanism, Afro-American politics, and the . Cold War front during this period. In its scope, Von Eschen's book complements works like Gerald Horne's Black and Red: . DuBois and the Afro-American Response to the Cold War, 1944-1963, and Bernard Makhosezwe Magubane's The Ties That Bind: African-American Consciousness of Africa. Race Against Empire is important finally for the immediacy of its subject matter.

She also wrote Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–1957 (1997) References. "Faculty: V". Department of History, University of Virginia. Retrieved 2019-11-01. a b "Bio: Penny M. Von Eschen". Faculty history project. University of Michigan.

Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–1957. by Penny M. Von Eschen. government prosecution of black American anti-colonial activists, and State Department initiatives in Africa-marked a change in the very meaning of race and racism in America from historical and international issues to psychological and domestic ones.

by Penny M. von Von Eschen · data of the paperback book Race against Empire: Black. von Von Eschen. ISBN: 978-0-8014-8292-2.

Journal of American Studies.

By Author: Penny M. Sorry! We have not found any description on this book!

By Author: Penny M. Sorry! We have not found any description on this book! Download this book Get similar books. Guess you may like these ebooks. Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957 (Collectifs). Sorry! We have not found any description on this book! Rand Ebooks. The Classic Tales of Brer Rabbit: From the Collected Stories of Joel Chandler Harris.

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Penny Von Eschen’s Race Against Empire explores links between African-American civil rights movements and African liberation movements during the second World War and at the start of the Cold War. Race Against Empire blends social history, race, and internationalism by relying on newspapers and letters written by Black American academic elites, therefore telling the story of American Pan-Africanism from the point of view of educated, affluent, left-wing Black Americans. The crux of the argument that Von Eschen presents is that an African diaspora identity developed within America and abroad during World War II. This identity was influenced by the anticolonial philosophy that capitalism, imperialism, and racism are linked, which sought to create an egalitarian “worldwide New Deal.” Von Eschen continues by claiming that, as the Cold War emerged, American civil rights leaders were forced to end their criticism of American foreign policy and embrace a pro-America stance that severed international ties. Their new stance was that discrimination at home must be resolved in order for US to be a legitimate leader of the free world.

Von Eschen’s methodology borrows heavily from Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities. Anderson argues that “the convergence of capitalism and print technology… created the possibility of a new form of imagined community” (Anderson 46). Like Anderson, Von Eschen places emphasis on print journalism, arguing that it served to facilitate the imagined community of the African diaspora across the globe. Additionally, the efforts of Black nationalists like Marcus Garvey established a new working-class diaspora consciousness that “transformed Americans from a national minority into a global majority” (Von Eschen 10). The central tenant of this new transnational identity was anticolonialism.

According to Von Eschen, many saw the struggle of African-Americans in America during World War II as part of a larger anticolonial movement. J.A. Hobson’s Imperialism (1902) and Vladimir Lenin’s 1916 pamphlet, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, both argue that the profit-motive of capitalism is tied to imperialism, linking anticolonialism with anti-capitalism (As cited by Brewer). Edward Said pushed the argument further by claiming that anticolonial movements “as a mobilized political force instigated and then advanced the struggle against Western domination” (Said 218). These struggles against empire, Von Eschen asserts, were viewed by Black Americans as a parallel to domestic racial discrimination. As a result, organizations like the Council on African Affairs (CAA) were established to educate the American public about Africa and to express anticolonial goals of liberation and nation-building. When new international forums developed at the end of the second World War, many African Americans hoped that the international stage would herald in a new era of civil rights.

World War II accelerated anticolonial movements within the United States as “activists understood race to be a product of the global processes that shaped the modern world” (Von Eschen 22). When India refused to aid Britain in World War II “without an immediate guarantee of independence,” Black American anticolonists responded with resounding support, illustrating that the global reach of their vision pushed past issues of race and fascism to include the “political and economic exploitation of imperialism” (Von Eschen 28, 31-32). Key to facilitating the connections between Black Americans and the wider world was the Black press, and journalists regularly connected the fate of Jim Crow to that of imperialism. Thomas Borstelmann demonstrates that feelings between Africa and America were not limited to Black activists as governments grew stronger and friendlier as the war came to a close. The world was becoming a smaller place.

As the war ended, veterans returned home in droves. Patrick Renshaw demonstrates that the labor market re-segregated itself as soldiers of all races reintegrated into society. Not only that, but Herbert Shapiro has shown that a sharp rise in violence against Black veterans occurred at the conclusion of the war. In short, racial discrimination in America intensified. After the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were implemented, the Truman Administration began to look upon racial prejudice as the Achilles heel in a propaganda battle with the USSR. They sought to shape international perceptions of American “race relations” by repressing anticolonial activists who sought to publicize the oppression of Black Americans (Borstelmann). Von Eschen provides an example of this repression through the revocation of Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Du Bois’ passports. These activists claimed that the policies of the Truman administration “would bolster the economies of colonial powers without consideration of economic and political democracy for colonized peoples" (Von Eschen 108). Despite this objection, many anticolonialists, such as the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Walter White, shifted their criticism away from American foreign policy and accepted the Truman Doctrine’s claim that America was the leader of the free world. Gunnar Myrdal outlines this fundamental conflict between racist and egalitarian beliefs within America in his work An American Dilemma (Myrdal). America, the land of the free, was not exactly free for all.

In order to conform with Cold War politics, Black leaders altered their strategy for equality by claiming that racial intolerance undermined the legitimacy of America’s role as leader of the free world. Moreover, as the Cold War intensified, Black American leaders began emphasizing their American nationality, weakening the diaspora consciousness in the process. Borstelmann seems to think that this tactic backfired, claiming that once the Truman administration became preoccupied with the Korean War, it overlooked civil rights programs. In contrast, Mary Dudziak claims that civil rights issues remained in the foreground due to international attention on issues such as the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, and were neglected only once the Vietnam war began. Either way, because the new focus of Black American activists was on the anti-communist narrative that racism was at odds with a free America, new Black journalism began trivializing and exoticizing a homogenized map of Africa, leading to the image of Africa as “the great dark continent” (Von Eschen 146). In brief, the African diaspora was dismantled and the fight against racial injustice was limited to the borders of the United States.

Von Eschen’s study could improve by including more voices. Race Against Empire is a top-down history from the point of view of Black American elites. The book lacks any real sense of how average Black Americans—or non-Black Americans, for that matter—felt or spoke about international anticolonial movements. For example, Van Eschen claims that “despite its left-wing radicalism, the CAA stood at the center, not at the margins, of black American opinion on colonialism,” but fails to detail or even cite the “wide range of African American leaders, churches, and fraternal, business, and community organizations” that she asserts stood further to the left of the CAA (Von Eschen 69-70). Women are also almost entirely missing from the book. Buried on page 79, the only mention of gender is that, although the African diaspora politics used inclusive rhetoric based on the idea of universal rights, “activists’ concern about calling prevailing gender relations into question was limited” (Von Eschen 79). This lack of a focus on gender is likely due to Von Eschen’s concentration on newspapers as her sources. Reviewer Karen Ferguson writes that “one wonders, for example, how far diaspora politics permeated the consciousness of the African-American community writ large” (Ferguson 266). Another group that is strangely missing is an international history is accounts of non-Americans and immigrants. Some oral histories, letters, and other cultural artifacts may have helped fill the rather large void left by this book.

Overall, Race Against Empire is a wonderfully crafted book that reveals the links between Black American activists and the wider world during World War II and the early Cold War years. Von Eschen deftly illustrates how anticolonialist rhetoric lay at the heart of 1940s American civil rights. Von Eschen also shows that, with the advent of the Cold War, Black activists were forced to either shift towards a stance that embraced America’s role as the leader of the free world or become silence. The inclusion of more voices in her research would have only proved to add to the scope of Von Eschen’s project.

Other Works Cited

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso, 2006.

Borstelmann, Thomas. Apartheid’s Reluctant Uncle: The United States and Southern Africa in the Early Cold War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Brewer, Anthony. Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A Critical Survey. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Ferguson, Karen. “Review of Review of Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anti-Colonialism, 1937-1957, by Penny M. Von Eschen.” Labour / Le Travail 42 (1998): 264–66.

Lauren, Paul Gordon. Power And Prejudice: The Politics And Diplomacy Of Racial Discrimination, Second Edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 1996.

Myrdal, Gunnar. An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, Volume 1. New Brunswick, NJ: Routledge, 1995.

Renshaw, Patrick. American Labor and Consensus Capitalism, 1935-1990. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1992.

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage, 1993.

Shapiro, Herbert. White Violence and Black Response: From Reconstruction to Montgomery. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988.
This book is dense. Penny von Eschen packs more information into single paragraphs than some others do entire books. It's a hard read, but worth it, as it examines an important American movement that not only presages the modern civil rights movement and complicates our understanding of it. Definitely worth reading, but I recommend studying up on your labor history first and taking copious notes.
Brilliant book
Useful because the subject is so little covered, this survey of the role of Afro-Americans in US foreign policy from the '30s through '50s, is limited by its narrow research focus on individuals and by its shallow analysis. The discussion, according to the title, ends in the late '50s, although the author dips into subsequent years. This truncation of the subject removes the most interesting period in whuch U.S. Blacks have affected U.S. foreign policy from the book's scope. Upshot: only historians and specialists are likely to enjoy it. Among key figures missing: cartoonist Ollie Harrington (mentioned only in passing) and Charles Howard, the first and most influential Afro-American journalist to cover the United Nations.