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by William L Van Deburg

With a gift for storytelling and an ear for street talk, William Van Deburg has written the most comprehensive account available of the rise and fall of the Black Power movement - and of its dramatic transformation of both African-American and the larger American culture. New Day in Babylon chronicles a decade of deep change, from the armed struggles of the Black Panther Party and the separatism of the Nation of Islam to the cultural nationalism of artists and writers creating a new black aesthetic. If its tactical gains were sometimes short-lived, the Black Power movement did succeed in making a revolution - one in culture and consciousness that has changed the context of race in America. Drawing on a remarkable range of cultural expressions, from the voice of Malcolm X to the music of James Brown, from urban folklore, the visual arts, and religion to the language of soul, Van Deburg extracts the enduring cultural and psychological themes that ran through the ideologies of Black Power politics. For Van Deburg, Black Power was, underneath it all, a revolt rooted in culture - both high and low - as artists, writers, performers, politicians, and ordinary people alike begin to assert a distinctive African-American worldview and way of being. His book is a finely textured rendering of the years when the rhetoric of the gun gave way to an explosion of cultural forms that, in celebrating the uniqueness of African-American life, carried forward the militant philosophy of resistance, pride, and self-esteem. Like activists in the sixties and seventies, African-Americans today mobilize a rich variety of cultural resources in the struggle for group identity and racial justice. Whether in the films of Spike Lee or other new black directors, in rap music, or in experiments in Afrocentric education, African-Americans continue to reshape the contours of American values, ideals, and attitudes. This is the real legacy of the Black Power movement. And it has never been demonstra

Paperback; 377 pages