The Civil Rights
Movement of the 1950s and'60s is now remembered as a long-lost,
sepia-toned era, whose achievements and idealism were soon eclipsed by
angry, confrontational Black Power activists. In Dark Days, Bright Nights
acclaimed scholar Peniel E. Joseph puts this pat assessment to the
test, showing that the '60s -- particularly the tumultuous period after
1965 -- were in fact the launching pad for a movement that culminated
in the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Joseph argues that the 1965 Voting Rights Act wrested open a dam
holding back radical democratic impulses. This political explosion
initally took the form of the Black Power Movement, which, though
conventionally adjudged a failure, in fact laid the groundwork for a
crucial new wave of black leadership. To elucidate Black Power's
unfairly forgotten achievements Joseph retells the movement through the
lives of activists, intellectuals, and artists including Malcolm X,
Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, and Barack Obama. In so doing, Dark Days, Bright Nights
re-assesses a half-century fraught with struggle to expose its
resounding triumphs and continuing influence on American democracy.
Peniel E. Joseph is Professor of History at Tufts University and the
author of Waiting 'til the Midnight
and the editor of The Black Power Movement
. The recipient of
fellowships from Harvard University's Charles Warren Center, the
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Ford
Foundation, his essays have appeared in The Journal of American
History, The Chronicle Review, The New York Times
. He lives
in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Days, Bright Nights
by Peniel E. Joseph
Basic Civitas Books
: January 2010
pages, 6.5" x 9.5"