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Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America
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Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  539 ratings  ·  57 reviews
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 a
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Feb 14, 2008 rated it liked it
This book does what none other has done to date. Puts the Black Power movement into the larger context of civil rights in the United States. By looking at its starting point the 40s (sorry to tell you but the 60s was not when it all started)this narrative paints the most accurate picture of the development of Black Power and its impact on public policy and social movements. This author takes black power beyone the macho mythos and offers solid evidence of its real impact.

Great read and solid ove
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-favorites
Waiting "Til the Midnight Hour is a wonderful book that I read in the Winter of 2017. You see the different philosophies, and different forms of execution for said philosophies, that existed within the Black Power Movement of the late 60s & early 70s.

One of those books that writes necessary individuals and groups into their rightful place in history.
Craig Werner
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very good synthetic history of "Black Power" from its intellectual and political origins in the 1950s (with appropriate glances back at the deeper history) to its slow and tragic unraveling in the mid-70s. When I read the book the first time, my immediate response was that there wasn't much in it I wasn't already familiar with. To some extent that's still true--I've followed the story from the time it was in the newspaper through the more recent academic reconsiderations, including Joseph's bi ...more
Alan Mills
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
The mythology of the civil rights movement taught in school goes something like this. We had slaves, that was bad. We fought the civil war and Lincoln freed the slaves, but some bad people in the south still treated black people badly. One day Rosa Parks was tired after work, and refused to give up her seat. Martin Luther King gave a speech, and the problem was solved. But then blacks got greedy, and wanted lots of special privileges. The slightly more nuanced version adds that after Rosa Parks ...more
Phil Overeem
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
As one of the blurbs says, an excellent synthesis of black resistance movements since the mid-'50s as they relate to the idea of Black Power. It would be a handy read for anybody concerned with souring racial relations in this country. ...more
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poc-authors, 2015
so, uh, any women in this movement? just saying that some elements of these groups were sexist doesn't mean that your book, which talks about very few women in more than a passing manner, isn't. ...more
Stephen Harrison
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics
This is an intriguing look at the Black Power Movement from the 1950s to the 1970s. It covers a lot of ground, but its main focuses are Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panthers. For Malcolm X, it looks at his ascendency in the Nation of Islam. It talks less about the specifics of its ideology than about his reactions to specific events, especially in terms of the Civil Rights Movement and his eventual rift with Elijah Muhammad. He stood as a charismatic and principled man who felt th ...more
Kathie Quinn Yang
Apr 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’m still processing what I read, and I’m sure I’ll revisit this book in the future. What I can appreciate is that it truly showed the various facets of Black Power and the varying ideologies of its biggest names. As someone who often has trouble reading and understanding historical readings, I found this fairly comprehensible.
Vannessa Anderson
Waiting ‘til The Midnight Hour A Narrative History of Black Power in America reminds us of the importance of the Black Power Movement and why it’s still relevant. If asked, only a handful of Black America can tell you of the movement that is part of their History.

Waiting ‘til The Midnight Hour A Narrative History of Black Power in America reminds readers of the relevancy of the Black Panther movement who inspired poetry and race consciousness of the Black Arts movement.

Harold Cruse…charged while
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Although after World War II black Americans would enjoy new rights, yet more freedoms remained to be claimed; it was the space between new rights and unclaimed freedoms that would fuel Black Power activists." (5-6)

"'I don't play dozens with white folks. To set the record straight, the reason we are in this bag isn't because of my mamma, it's because of what they did to my mamma.'" (quoting Stokely Carmichael on the Moynahan report, 152)

"'The revolution is not about dying. It's about living.'" (
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: america, racism
In an exceptionally readable narrative, the author synthesizes the black political movements that occurred from 1967-1972 in a the US South, North, and West Coast, paying special attention to a handful of important figures from Malcolm X and MLK to Huey P. Newton and Stokely Carmichael and beyond, all while keeping a close conversation with national and global politics. It is intersectional and insightful, page-turning, and fair. I came to this book having very little knowledge of the who-what-w ...more
Jun 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-us
This book certainly does fulfill its promise to provide a "narrative history of black power in America" but, unfortunately, it lacks analytic & structural glue to hold it all together. Like another reviewer, I ended up with two pages worth of notes, people, events to follow up on (Nkrumah, Bayard Rustin, Elaine Brown...) but never really got a sense of direction or cohesion. Chapters jumped around and people were introduced or re-introduced with little to no context. ...more
Douglass Davidoff
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in 1950s-1970s history of civil rights and black power emergence
Recommended to Douglass by: Author
Copiously researched and elegantly written, “Waiting ’Til the Midnight Hour” would have benefited from more dialog or direct quotation from documents or multi-media. An excellent review of the radical Black Power movement counterweight to Dr. King and the SCLC. Contains a “where are they now?” section at the end. In person, Peniel Joseph is an exciting speaker. He teaches down the street at Tufts University. I look forward to reading other books he’s written and hearing him speak again.
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a really tough book to get through. At times it felt very scattered, for example the chapter on the Meredith March should have been titled the Carmichael Chapter and the chapter on the Newton Trial should have been titled A Whole Lot of Other Stuff Building Up to the Trial. Overall it is a good book. It was well researched and provides the reader with an extensive background on the Black Power Movement. That being said, this is not a summer read! :)
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Book 2 of 2018.

I always hesitate to give a 3 star review because it feels like a rating of "meh" but goodreads' "liked it" description is the best fit for sure. This book provided a good into-level summary of the movement, which is what I was hoping for. The last quarter of was a little tedious but then it picked back up. I learned a ton and now have a better sense of who I want to read more about, and primary sources to look into. So overall I got what I needed.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
A whirlwind overview spanning roughly eighty years and several dozen forms of Black Radicalism, structured around the most pivotal movements, leaders, and events. This well researched work heralds the efforts and accomplishments of many activists mainstream history has left largely forgotten, such as Jimmy and Grace Boggs, Angela Davis, and Stokely Carmichael.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great history of the black power movement, but I think it might be better to read Malcolm X's biography, Black Against Empire, and Stokely as this is just a mix of the story of those movements. It's a much needed correction to the false narrative of the black power movement that I've read elsewhere. ...more
Christine B.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: race, politics, history
This book was very well done, but I wanted it to progress more into the last 20 years. But I learned a lot about the Black Power movement, especially in the 60s and 70s. Enough to know that now I really want to read a histories of SNCC and the Black Panthers. And maybe something more detailed on Nation of Islam as well.
Sean Chick
Good introduction to the ideas and the times, but the book is scatter shot and Joseph is far too laudatory. Everything Malcolm X and Carmichael says is portrayed as brilliant. Best part is the Black Panthers, because there is nuisance.
Doris Raines
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doris-shelf
This. Is. A. Powerful. House. Book. When. You. Have. Taken. The. Time. To. Read. This. Book. My. Brothers. And. Sisters. You. Know. You. Have. Read. A. Good. One. Power. To. The. Peoples. Thanks.
Aug 06, 2007 rated it did not like it
Nice complement to Singh's Black is a Country. ...more
Jan 03, 2008 added it
Attempts to make a connection between the civil rights movement and the black power movement. The books is a compilation of stories of black leaders.
Ben Badio
Quite informative for anyone who doesn't know much about the Black Power movement. Unfortunately the language has a "college thesis" tone to it and isn't very engaging. ...more
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it
lots of names and organizations but a lot of information not spread in other texts
Scott Welfel
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Absolutely critical read to gain insight into one of the most important movements of the 20th century.
Andee Nero
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I liked this book because it brought together a few different strains of black power narrative that I'd picked up in other civil rights protest books. ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent chronological narrative. With all the major players and significant events in the struggle that continues still.
Brynn Cook
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well researched and written with a simple language that makes the material digestible. A very good introduction to the history of the black power movement.
Joe Hall
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Joseph's works should be shared as well as read in our community because the awaken the truth necessary for progress. ...more
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Fast, easy read about various civil rights and Black power movements in the US. I knew already about many of these individuals and movements separately, but this book contextualizes them in relation to one another and events occurring across the nation and the world.

I could not help but feel, however, that the author... maybe looked somewhat unfavorably on Huey P. Newton? I found his depiction of his post-prison years as... odd and incomplete.
Eldridge Cleaver on the other hand, seemed to be give
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