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Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour

A Narrative History of Black Power in America

Peniel E. Joseph

Henry Holt and Co.

A gripping narrative that brings to life a legendary moment in American history: the birth, life, and death of the Black Power movement

With the rallying cry of “Black Power!” in 1966, a group of black activists, including Stokely Carmichael and Huey P. Newton, turned their backs on Martin Luther King’s pacifism and, building on Malcolm X’s legacy, pioneered a radical new approach to the fight for equality. Waiting ’Til the Midnight Hour is a history of the Black Power movement, that storied group of men and women who would become American icons of the struggle for racial equality.

Peniel E. Joseph traces the history of the men and women of the movement—many of them famous or infamous, others forgotten. Waiting ’Til the Midnight Hour begins in Harlem in the 1950s, where, despite the Cold War’s hostile climate, black writers, artists, and activists built a new urban militancy that was the movement’s earliest incarnation. In a series of character-driven chapters, we witness the rise of Black Power groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panthers, and with them, on both coasts of the country, a fundamental change in the way Americans understood the unfinished business of racial equality and integration.

Drawing on original archival research and more than sixty original oral histories, this narrative history vividly invokes the way in which Black Power redefined black identity and culture and in the process redrew the landscape of American race relations.


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Introduction
To Shape a New World
 
Malcolm X arrived in Harlem in the early 1950s on the heels of the contentious departure of another of its adopted, if little-known, sons. As Malcolm was bounding into Harlem's local political arena, Harold Cruse was settling downtown, still clinging to wistful dreams that he had, temporarily at least, put on hold. As a young boy, Harold Cruse dreamed of becoming a writer. For a southern-born black boy coming of age in the Great Depression, this was an ambitious goal, with long odds. Born in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1916, Cruse moved as a young
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Praise for Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour

Peniel Joseph represents the best of a new generation of scholars whose work will substantially revise our understanding of the Black Freedom Movement. Provocative and masterfully written, Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour not only reveals the radical roots of Black Power but places the key activists and struggles within a global framework. It is one of those critically important books that will be read and debated for many years to come.

--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Peniel E. Joseph

  • Peniel E. Joseph is an assistant professor of Africana studies at SUNY–Stony Brook. The recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Ford Foundation, his work has appeared in Souls, New Formations, and The Black Scholar, and he is editor of a forthcoming anthology on the Black Power movement. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
     
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Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour

A Narrative History of Black Power in America

Peniel E. Joseph

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Henry Holt and Co.

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