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Radicalism at the Crossroads

With the exception of a few iconic moments such as Rosa Parks's 1955 refusal to move to the back of a Montgomery bus, we hear little about what black women activists did prior to 1960. Perhaps this gap is due to the severe repression that radicals of any color in America faced as early as the 1930s, and into the Red Scare of the 1950s. To be radical, and black and a woman was to be forced to the margins and consequently, these women's stories have been deeply buried and all but forgotten by the general public and historians alike. In this exciting work of historical recovery, Dayo F. Gore unearths and examines a dynamic, extended community of black radical women during the early Cold War, including established Communist Party activists such as Claudia Jones, artists and writers such as Beulah Richardson, and lesser-known organizers such as Vicki Garvin and Thelma Dale. These women were part of a black left that laid much of the groundwork for both the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and later strains of black radicalism. Radicalism at the Crossroads offers a sustained and in-depth analysis of the political thought and activism of black women radicals during the Cold War period and adds a new dimension to our understanding of this tumultuous and violent time in United States history.
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Offers a sustained and in-depth analysis of the political thought and activism of black women radicals during the Cold War period

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Abbreviations Introduction 1 Forging a Community of Radical Intellectuals and Activists 2 In Defense of Black Womanhood 3 Reframing Civil Rights Activism during the Cold War 4 Race and Gender at Work 5 From Freedom to Freedomways ConclusionCentering Black Women on the Left Notes Bibliography Index About the Author

About the Author

Dayo F. Gore is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego and has previously taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is the co-editor (with Jeanne Theoharis and Komozi Woodard) of Want to Start a Revolution? Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle (NYU Press, 2009).


"With this rich book, Dayo Gore rewrites the history of black radicalism, feminism, and the American left. She shows us how a network of African American women organized for black women's rights in the 1940s and 1950s and brought their perduring political vision of race, gender, and class to social justice movements of the Cold War era." Joanne Meyerowitz, Yale University "With meticulous research, shimmering prose, and laser-like analysis, Dayo F. Gore has added a wholly new and original chapter to the corpus of Black Studies, Women's Studies and the history of the U.S. Left." Gerald Horne, author of Race Women: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois "Dayo Gore is a relatively young historian but her brilliant scholarship has already changed how we define the American Left and how we view the face of American radical politics. Her newest book is a powerful addition to her paradigm-shifting body of work. It is a must-read for students and scholars of Black and progressive politics, and will provide a vital history lesson for contemporary activists." Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision "What really shines through--and what constitutes the major scholarly contribution--is Gore's excavation of crucial foundations of the more familiar civil rights stories." Theresa Kaminski, H-Net Reviews

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