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The story of some of the 1960s’ most important activists–JOIN, the Young Patriots, Rising Up Angry, White Lightning, and the October 4th Organization–in a deeply sourced narrative history
The historians of the late 1960s have emphasized the work of a small group of white college activists as well as the Black Panthers, activists who courageously took to the streets to protest the war in Vietnam and continuing racial inequality. Poor and working-class whites have tended to be painted as spectators, reactionaries, and, even, racists. Most Americans, the story goes, just watched the political movements of the sixties go by.
James Tracy and Amy Sonnie, who have been interviewing activists from the 1960s for nearly ten years, reject this old narrative. In five tightly conceived chapters, they show that poor and working class whites, inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party, started to organize significant political movements against racism and inequality during the 1960s.
It’s an untold history of the New Left: challenging the Right for the allegiance of white workers, a diverse network of new political groups helped to redefine community organizing at a pivotal moment in the history of the United States, collaborating with their better known colleagues in SDS and the Black Panthers. These organizations kept the vision of an interracial movement of the poor alive by working arm in arm with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Puerto Rican Young Lords and, in so doing, gave rise to a generation of community organizers. In the best tradition of people’s history, Tracy and Sonnie bring these diverse and groundbreaking movements alive.
“Given the invisibility of this history, this book couldn’t be more timely and more necessary.”–Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Blood on the Border