Black Power Beyond Borders

E. James West

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In a 2001 special issue of The Black Scholar, Peniel Joseph called upon historians to recognise the emergence of "Black Power Studies" as a discrete field of research. Works such as Timothy Tyson's Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (1999), Komozi Woodard's A Nation Within A Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) & Black Power Politics (1999) and Yohuru Williams' Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights, Black Power and the Black Panthers in New Haven (2000) were all part of a revisionist trend in Black Power scholarship which rejected its depiction as the "evil twin" of the mainstream civil rights movement. Over the past fifteen years, a diverse range of scholars have taken up Joseph's call to help recover and redefine a movement that continues to be both misunderstood and publicly maligned. Moving away from dated depictions of Black Power as a reactionary, simplistic and self-destructive concept, researchers have instead stressed that Black Power was a "direct outgrowth of the creative, ideological, and political tensions" which characterised the first phase of the post-war civil rights struggle, and reconceptualised the movement as a "complex mosaic that combined cultural politics, grassroots organization, electoral power, and foreign affairs."
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-693
Number of pages10
JournalReviews in American History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


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