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Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, And The Black Working Class
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Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, And The Black Working Class

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Many black strategies of daily resistance have been obscured--until now. Race rebels, argues Kelley, have created strategies of resistance, movements, and entire subcultures. Here, for the first time, everyday race rebels are given the historiographical attention they deserve, from the Jim Crow era to the present.
ebook, 384 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Free Press (first published 1994)
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A great book, desperately needed in academia and left circles to articulate the obvious -- not all culture, resistance and politicisation comes out of work or worker's movements. It also emerges from the home, the community, daily life and its myriads of experiences. I also loved not so much the idea of infrapolitics, drawn from James C. Scott that oppressed groups develop a political culture and daily routine or small individual acts of resistance that pushes back to some extent against those i ...more
Reginald Simms
Coming off sometimes as apologetic Kelley does go into the depths of informal resistance in everyday life of African-Americans. From daily resistance at work to Malcolm X and zoot suits to communism and the Spanish Civil War and to Gangsta Rap Kelley describes the many informal ways African-Americans have had a somewhat organized form of political action without the official organization label. He notes how everyday resistance has been scrutinized and denigrated to become perceived as negative c ...more
James Tracy
Without a bunch of bells and whistles, Robin DG Kelley makes a really important contribution to political debate: establishing cultural politics and individual acts of defiance as something that is part of larger societal change.

A lot of other books tend to polarize this discussion around poles of "serious-Marxist-who-sees only-grand-collective-action as important" versus "post modernist who fetishizes every little act of personal rebellion and assertion of identity". In a very gentle way, Kell
In "Race Rebels," Robin D.G. Kelley explores the social history of cultural and community "spaces" that allowed for identity and resistance in the black community to evolve in the postwar United States. Forms of resistance took place, in Kelley's view, in places which were not traditionally seen as organized -- not the workplace, not politics, not fraternal organizations. Claiming urban spaces, these actions created a contested terrain -- whites flee buses for automobiles; whites accuse black "z ...more
When Kelley started by describing everyday acts of rebellion while working in a McDonald's in Pasadena, California, I knew this was a book for me. RACE REBELS draws attention to "ordinary" people and their acts of personal and everyday protest and resistance. This is history that you don't find much of in your history books.
I love anything by Robin Kelley. He has a really original and inspiring approach to crucial topics. This book looks at how working class Black folks rebelled in informal ways. It was amazing he was able to research the topic and insightful about the ways which we can all rebel to whatever predicament we find ourselves.
Tanji Gilliam
Jun 19, 2007 Tanji Gilliam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: culture historians
I loved "Riddle of the Zoot" and the gangsta rap essay is an important one for the field as well.
Dan Sharber
very enjoyable book! i especially like the final section on rap.
Jason Williams
Probably one of the best books on U.S. history you'll ever read.
Subaltern resistance!!! (is what I learned from this book.)
So far, wonderful. I adore Kelley. He's my hero!
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Robin D.G. Kelley (b. 1962) is a professor of history and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. From 2003-2006, he was the William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies at Columbia University. From 1994-2003, he was a professor of history and Africana Studies at New York University as well the chairman of NYU's history department from 2002-2003 ...more
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