An Unseen Light - Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis Tennessee
Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky
Scholars examine the activist efforts of Black Americans in Memphis in a series of essays ranging from the Reconstruction era to the twenty-first century.
In An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee, eminent and rising scholars present a multidisciplinary examination of African American activism in Memphis from the dawn of emancipation to the twenty-first century. Together, they investigate episodes such as the 1940 “Reign of Terror” when Black Memphians experienced a prolonged campaign of harassment, mass arrests, and violence at the hands of police. They also examine topics including the relationship between the labor and civil rights movements, the fight for economic advancement in Black communities, and the impact of music on the city’s culture. Covering subjects as diverse as politics, sports, music, activism, and religion, An Unseen Light illuminates Memphis’s place in the long history of the struggle for African American freedom and human dignity.
Praise for Unseen Light
“From the aftermath of the post-Civil War race massacre to continuous violence, murder, and bitter confrontations into the twenty-first century, contributors illuminate An Unseen Light on those Black Memphians forging lives nonetheless, through negotiation, protest, music, accommodation, prayer, faith and sometimes sheer stubbornness . . . . Scholars intellectually and personally invested in the city as a site of family and community, and career, bring an unequivocal depth of understanding and richness about place and belonging that textures the pages with life, from the church pews, the music studios, or the myriad of social or political organizations, to the land itself, adding more layers to underscore how black lives have mattered in the historical grassroots building of the nation. This is thoughtful and beautiful work.” —Françoise Hamlin, author of Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle After World War II
“This rich collection covers a broad range of topics pertaining to the African American freedom struggle in Memphis, Tennessee. One of its greatest strengths is the breadth of the essays, which span a long period from the end of the Civil War to the twenty-first century. An Unseen Light is a valuable addition to civil rights scholarship.” —Cynthia Griggs Fleming, author of Yes We Did?: From King's Dream to Obama's Promise
“The collection did an excellent job in explaining the inner workings of Memphis . . . . The works highlighted the past actions, organizing and insurgency which created the dynamics of racism, classism, social, and political power seen in modern Memphis. I recommend this collection to those interested in the shaping of a large southern city. I also recommend to new and lifelong Memphians to provide a blueprint of the historical legacy of Memphis and how this legacy continues to impact the lives of African Americans.” —Tennessee Libraries