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We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement
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We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  17 reviews
"Ranging from Reconstruction to the Black Power period, this thoroughly and creatively researched book effectively challenges long-held beliefs about the Black Freedom Struggle. It should make it abundantly clear that the violence/nonviolence dichotomy is too simple to capture the thinking of Black Southerners about the forms of effective resistance."—Charles M. Payne, Uni ...more
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published April 22nd 2013 by New York University Press
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Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fine book. The gist of it is this: the prevailing narrative about black Americans is that we were passive actors in our own liberation in the U.S. Even the Civil Rights Movement has been re-characterized as passive, glorifying non-violence as a state-of-being rather than the political act it is and was. Umoja tells the historical story of black people in the U.S. who not only took a very active role in their own social, political, and economic liberation but who did it in the most American way ...more
David Anderson
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful example of the relatively recent surge of historiography dedicated to dispelling the notion that the nonviolence and pacifism championed by mainstream civil rights movement leaders were the predominant strategy and philosophy of the African-American freedom struggle during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and revealing the vital role played by armed defense and armed resistance. (Others include Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power by Timothy B. Tyson, The Dea ...more
Stephanie McGarrah
I really enjoy reading about people laying down the bible and picking up the gun. Or in some cases hiding their guns in their bibles. Very interesting and important history for anybody interested in a more accurate picture of the civil rights movement than is taught and portrayed. Do kids learn about anybody but Martin Luther King Jr. and the nonviolence of pacifism these days? I sure didn't.

Anarchists, [if you're anything like me] you will burn with anger reading about the appeal to educated w
David Leonard
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading Akinyele Omowale Umoja’s brilliant We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement (NYU Press, 2013), in the midst of the national celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, was striking to say the least. Whereas the national narrative, from political speeches to ESPN commercials, imagines the civil right movement beginning and ending with King (and a sanitized and flattened history at that), while seemingly erasing the specter of white supremacist terrori ...more
Fascinating and little known history of armed self-defense in Mississippi. I wish there had been more about women activists, particularly those who served as enforcers. Vignettes, like the ones on male activists would have been helpful and informative. All and all a solid monograph.
Alicia Garza
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really important documentation of the legacy of armed resistance in Mississippi during the Black freedom movement. Well written. The role of women was briefly mentioned here and there but I think there could have been more attention paid to this; but overall, great read. Highly recommend it.
Roberta Kirkland
Eye Opening

I love reading detailed history that also allows you room to do further research. This book gives a very real and necessary view point on the barely taught era of Black history known as the Civil Rights Movement. The Movement is never taught in its totality, including the role women played, so this book is a treasure that needs to be more recognized.
David Lucander
Fanon meets the Freedom Summer. An extraordinarily well-written book on the Civil Rights/Freedom Movement in Mississippi. This book joins Lance Hill's book on the Deacons for Defense (Louisiana) and Timothy Tyson's book on Robert F. Williams (North Carolina) in a growing body of literature that fundamentally challenges the primacy of nonviolence in various civil rights struggles. SNCC, CORE, and other organizations had their ideologies and ideologues, but these grassroots activists interacted wi ...more
Chad Montabon
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
The stated purpose of the book is to redirect the narrative and it is successful in that. This is an element of the civil rights movement that is almost always underplayed and completely left out by left leaning scholars.

It is a near perfect defence of the Second Ammendment to the Constitution of the United States. Everyone who longs for the day when people are allowed only to walk about in pink angora with only a dirty look to defend themselves from the encroachments of government should have a
Alexis Taylor
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The novel was an excellent read. It gives a behind the scenes look at what the civil rights movement was really like it wasn't just a nonviolent movement it also was an armed defense movement. This novel doesn't promote violence or gun use but it shows how black leaders fought to gain respect for African Americans if you enjoy learning about black history and the civil rights movement than this is the novel you should read. ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting the story and the plot behind the story. It was the informative and interesting treatment of movement history. Primary sources are rare and unique providing novel and practical look at the civil rights movement in Mississippi. This book presents local people in a whole new light. Great book, I did enjoy this one.
Atif Taj
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The armed resistance had a gradual impact on the black freedom movement in the state of Mississippi. However when it became reality, it became successful in denying the nightriders attacks, economically boycotting the commerce of white business, and gaining the rights of equal employment, school integration and voter registration.
Paul Richards
A thoroughly researched book showing how armed self defense made a huge difference in keeping civil rights workers alive and creating the basis for the eventual victory against legal segregation. Great interviews of prime movers in the South in a very dangerous time.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Book

It's a great read. Its show black people counter violence that was being perpetrated on tbem/us. This book should be read if you want to see black people with self respect.
Brenda Y. Person
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative but seemed a bit repetitive .
Readers may likes female perspective : (IS It me, is it my hair. Is it my skin color, is it my eyes or is it you?)
Authors Brenda Y. Person PhD and Jane K Firldings BGS.
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Definitely heavy on data so a little academically leaning on parts but such an eye opening book on the armed resistance that took place in Ole miss through the early 80s.
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2020
Vital, accessible, highly educational.
Leftist Critic
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  Rachel Lynn Solomon is best known to her fans for writing heartfelt contemporary YA novels like 2020's Today Tonight Tomorrow and her 2018...
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“In addition to the economic reprisals, terrorist violence was directed at the Hazelwood household. Crosses were burned on the lawn of the Hazelwood residence. Nightriders drove by the Hazelwood domicile and fired into the home. Regular raids on the Hazelwood home had become so common that the family became accustomed to sleeping on the floor with their son under the bed to better avoid gunfire from nightriders. The Hazelwood family had become so accustomed to responding to gunfire that Luella Hazelwood joked that her eight-year-old son once said, “Didn’t President [John] Kennedy know you are supposed to duck when someone is shooting?” 0 likes
“McComb became popularly known as the “bombing capital of the world” in 1964.89 There were twelve bombings of homes, churches, and businesses in the Black community of McComb between June 22nd and August 12th.” 0 likes
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