Saying It Loud: 1966—The Year Black Power Challenged the Civil Rights Movement

S. & S. Feb. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9781982114121. $28.99. HIST
Journalist Whitaker’s (Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance) work examines the birth of the Black Power movement in the United States. The book charts its rise in 1966 and why it laid the groundwork for today’s movements. The book focuses heavily on the work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) chairman, Stokely Carmichael, who redirected its focus from peaceful voter registration drives to a sense of Black consciousness, which Whitaker refers to as “both a state of mind and a badge of identity.” Whitaker traces the work of Carmichael, Julian Bond, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, and many other well-known civil rights figures. The author also introduces the reader to a number of women who played major roles in the movement, such as Ruby Doris Smith Robinson, the only woman to have a seat on SNCC’s executive board; she was also an organizer for many demonstrations at lunch counters and supermarkets, where Blacks were refused service and work. This book also notes the movement’s undoing and examines the impact of both the FBI’s surveillance and the media’s coverage of Black leaders.
VERDICT An important, accessible book for general readers and scholars.
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