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The Making Of the Black Revolutionaries - Essay Example

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The 1972 book The Making of Black Revolutionaries is a chronological autobiography of author James Forman's early life and his experience at changing the oppressive politics of the civil rights era. Through the author's telling of his personal experience, and his political evolution, the book, published by Macmillan and Company in New York, seeks to tell the story of the thousands of activists that were transformed from protesters to revolutionaries during this turbulent period.
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The Making Of the Black Revolutionaries

Download file to see previous pages... These small steps come from the struggles faced in everyday life, at school, in church, and the local restaurant. By remaining true to his personal convictions throughout his life, the revolutionary inside was allowed to grow. The book traces this evolution in Forman, and the people that he worked with in the civil rights movement, from being political activists to becoming powerful forces behind revolution.
The book is divided into two parts and highlights the evolutionary change from political thought to action for social change. Book One, "A Constant Struggle", details the experiences of the author's early life and his experiences with the state of race relations in America from the 1930s through the 1950s. It is in these years that Forman forms his political views and forges his hunger to pursue social justice. The author is faced with the everyday hatred and discrimination that confronted blacks during this period, yet he does not preach about their evils. The author is a master at describing the situation and letting the reader draw their own conclusions. He tells the story of a black sharecropper that was evicted from her land and home because she registered to vote in Fayette County Tennessee in 1960. The author tells the story in Georgia Mae Turner's own words and simply reminds us, "The price is high for all acts of rebellion and Georgia Mae had paid dearly for hers" (124). It is this constant struggle that is addressed in Book One and contends that revolution is the continuous addressing of these injustices.
One of the major threads that run throughout the book is that being a political revolutionary is a day to day struggle that deals with real people and real events. Forman sets the stage for the book in the opening chapters by describing his life in Mississippi and Chicago. Faced with discrimination and segregation, he was able to complete school, serve in the Air Force, and graduated from college. It's in these early years that the author forms his political ideas and their radical overtones. He writes, "This was economic in origin, but not just a matter of money. The issue was sheer survival, the survival of the black working-class in a hostile world" (54). Forman viewed the hostility in the world from the philosophy of W.E.B. DuBois and would be determined to use his talents to correct even the smallest injustice.
The book is more than just the author's personal accounts of the struggle for civil rights. Book Two "A Band of Sisters and Brothers, in a Circle of Trust" is an accurate historical record of some of the most important organizations of the period. He details his work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The author is able to take the reader behind the scenes and meet the players who were influencing their policies and doing the difficult work. The stories are a reminder that the job of revolutionary is often confronted with compromise. When the SNCC, SCLC, and CORE leaders met to discuss their stand on Vietnam in 1966, there was wide disagreement on how to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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