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From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,851 ratings  ·  249 reviews
The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people and punctured the illusion of a postracial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists.

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Paperback, 270 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Haymarket Books
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Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, recs
an incisive history of the struggle for Black liberation in America from the time of the Civil Rights Movement up to the Ferguson Uprising, homing in on the ways the state's incarcerated, policed, and terrorized Black people t/o the neoliberal era. in the last third Taylor turns to the Obama presidency and considers at length why #BlackLivesMatter erupted during the second term of the country's first Black president, and teases out the differences between the new millennial-led movement and the ...more
Sarah Jaffe
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read it. You'll learn things. And you'll like it. ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am highly recommending this book!

I read it on a long flight in December 2017 without having any expectations. The book is sharing historical contexts trying to answer one question: what does it mean to be black in the U.S.? “The black experience unravels what we are supposed to know to be true about America itself—the land of milk and honey, the land where hard work makes dreams come true. This mythology is not benign: it serves as the United States’ self-declared invitation to intervene milit
Destiney Linker
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just finished, and the only thing I can articulate right now is that this is required reading for humanity.
Zachary F.
"I've come upon something that disturbs me deeply. We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know we will win, but I have come to believe that we are integrating into a burning house."
-MLK, in conversation with Harry Belafonte shortly before his death

EDIT (Feb. 2021): Since mine is one of the top reviews for this book, I want to note that my politics have developed quite a bit since I wrote the first draft of this in early 2018, from a sort of center-left l
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't think I've ever been so excited to get to a book only to be so disappointed at its conclusion.

The bulk of the book is very informative & analyzes what current movements such as #BlackLivesMatter movement currently represent & how they can illuminate where black people & black consciousness are in regards to black liberation. Even going so far as to ask what exactly does black liberation mean?

The first 3 chapters are about black people's history & experiences from slavery to the civil w
Kevin Gosztola
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While there has been much attention paid to issues of police violence and the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, most coverage does not address the disinvestment in black communities, which plays a role in what happens day in and day out. Taylor provides an exceptional overview of the history of government and its response to black rebellions. At each juncture, the government then failed to enact the right policies necessary to meaningfully deal with poverty and segregation.

The book is also valuable fo
Laura Peña
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a history book, this was awesome. There was a broad overview of Black political struggle in the US, discussing grassroots movements and the attempts to incorporate Black people into mainstream politics. I've always known Obama is a war criminal and deporter-in-chief-wall-street-bailer-outer, but holy crap there was a lot of information in here that I was unaware of. I've been really frustrated with the Obama nostalgia happening lately, because it feels like everyone has amnesia because Cheeto ...more
J.J. Amaworo
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If it’s not too big a contradiction, this superb book is one long, erudite, closely argued holler. It takes an unflinching look at race in the United States, covering the history of racism, the Civil Rights Movement, Black leadership, police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, the disappointments of Obama’s term of office, and the Black Lives Matter movement. In the process, it debunks the myth that Black deprivation is rooted in Black culture; instead, it highlights systemic abuses and in ...more
Eric Bottorff
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must read for anyone interested in or participating in the current movement for racial justice and black liberation. Does a great job filling out historical context, examining the importance of different organizational forms, and ends with a much-needed discussion of race, class, radical politics, and solidarity.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Was worried it would be a rehashing of stuff I've already read; it wasn't. ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An essential work to build empathy and solidarity. An essential work to wake up and see the country for what it really is and what steps to take.
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
My desire to read this grew out of a disconcerting feeling that I didn’t truly know what was going on. For a man of color I was, and remain, albeit a little less after reading this book, woefully unaware of the conditions that gave rise to the systematic disenfranchisement of Black people and minorities. You see, I knew we had been disenfranchised. I understood that to be the truth; I just didn’t know how it came about, and I, therefore, was inclined to ignore, willfully at times, the current st ...more
This book taught me so so much. Still need to process it and go back to some central themes Taylor explores. This book gives a concise history of the Black movement and the various way the US government and people in power have slowed the progress the Black movement aimed to make. The ways the movement has been co-opted and coerced by various funding sources; the way issues have been explained away by capitalist, individualistic thinking. Taylor is an incredible writer and thinker; the way her i ...more
essential reading. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor brilliantly contextualizes the historical and present day conditions of anti-blackness that has lead us to the current resistance movements against state violence we're seeing across the globe. ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm almost upset at how long it took me to read this but I've come to realise that reading non-fiction is an entirely different experience to reading fiction. Personally I find that I can only read non-fiction in small chunks. That being said, this is a brilliant book. Incredibly up to date and relevant, and a MUST read for anyone interested in the condition of African Americans as well as the relationship between capitalism and racism. Taylor compares the civil rights era with todays #blacklive ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
this was a very well structured historical and contemporary sketch of black struggle in the us.
the author talked about institutional racism and flaws and drew a line from there across intersectionality to economics.
with many quotes, the book has been interesting, understandable, shocking, aggrevating and eye-opening.
it's definitely been worth a read even if it has loads of depressing contents and doesn't exactly end on a good note.

(white person's perspective here)
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great read/listen in general and especially in the current moment. Taylor cogently explains the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, connecting it to past Black and civil rights movements as well as comparing it more contemporary movements like Occupy Wall Street. She also explains how this movement can be part of Black liberation. This isn't an intro to Black issues or antiracism book by any means and is probably best read by those with some familiarity with the issues and context di ...more
Finn Mannerings
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely critical reading. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor presents a compelling and nuanced picture of race in America. She simultaneously illuminates on many instances of police brutality I had never heard of and asks probing questions of society. Why do white working classes feel the need to shout about being oppressed too but not in solidarity? If people argue that more white people are killed by police, why aren’t they angry about police brutality? There is a huge critique of capitalism and the A ...more
Nathan  Fisher
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Nothing objectionable here at all, though intended for a broad audience less familiar with Taylor's political leanings, it seems -- the outright Marxist appeal comes late and appended -- for those well-versed, mainly a recapitulation, but a strong one -- the chapter on policing particularly so. ...more
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a political strategy book on how to achieve Black liberation via intersectional working-class solidarity, I would say it's lukewarm, but that's fine with me- I did not pick this up anticipating a comprehensive, cohesive, cogent strategy for the future of the BLM movement.

As a historical and political analysis book that economically details the events and conditions that led to the genesis of the Black Lives Matter movement during the Obama presidency, this was a fantastic. I have either studi
Alicia Fox
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
This is easily one of the best books I've read in a long time. I wish I were able to buy a copy for every person I know--actually, for every person in the country. I was expecting a history of black liberation in the United States through the current Black Lives Matter movement, which it is--but what I really got was the most well-written modern argument for socialism I've come across. All I can say is, "Read it!" ...more
Tom Crehore
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A spectacular book by a spectacular author and speaker. The book looks at the fundamental aspects of how we not deal with race in America, and what can be done to further understand and act against discrimination and the oppression of others. If you are concerned about race and how it is currently affecting our society, please pick up this book. And, if you see she is coming to your town, please go and see her speak!
David Anderson
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Taylor not only provides an engaging historical account of the developments in the never ending struggle for Black Liberation that led to the present moment and the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, she provides a compelling analysis of the inseparable relationship between racism and American capitalism. A necessary addition to your racial justice reading list.
Ryan Mishap
A righteous take down of neoliberal politics, a compelling history of racial injustice, and a call for class-conscious organizing and solidarity between oppressed groups and allies--this was my morning reading before work. There's much here to contemplate, even if I did get a little annoyed at the Marxist strands in the last chapter. ...more
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
An extremely important intervention in the current debates around police brutality and racial justice in the US.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A crucial book to read for all those interested in social justice and the issue of bringing about equality in modern day America
Luke Hillier
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I genuinely cannot recommend this book more to anyone who's interested in building their capacity for analysis of the current struggle for Black liberation as well as their sense of the history of that fight throughout American history. Taylor reaches across time to demonstrate commonalities, some obvious and others less so, across the movements to abolish slavery, endure Jim Crow, and gain civil rights alongside the contemporary BLM movement today. She is a robust and rigorous historian who exp ...more
Lance Eaton
Taylor lays down a nuanced, powerful, and important critique to understanding African-American political and civil movements of the last hundred years. One of her first goals is to contextualize and explain the rise of the Black establishment, Black leaders from post-Civil-War to the present who have bought into the white power structure and while at times, advocate for equity and equality, are just as likely to throw people of color under the bus. Included in this critique is Barack Obama for h ...more
Mark Ballinger
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mark by: Politically Reactive Podcast
Shelves: history
This book is a brief but terrific history of our racist culture, leading to #blacklives matter.

Published in early 2016, it missed out on the horrible naked aggression of the current backlash. But, this is still a necessary read.

The author attacks colorblindness, that virtue we felt in 2008. "Colorblindness is a critical weapon in the arsenal of the politically powerful and economic elite to divide those who have an interest in uniting to make demands on the state and capital to provide the mean
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BUA Socialism: BLM - Chapter 7 1 1 Jul 25, 2020 06:26PM  
BUA Socialism: BLM - Ch. 4-6 1 2 Jul 20, 2020 05:41AM  
BUA Socialism: BLM - Chapter 3 1 2 Jul 14, 2020 06:09PM  
BUA Socialism: BLM - Chapter 2 1 2 Jul 03, 2020 07:00PM  
BUA Socialism: BLM - Chapter 1 1 3 Jun 23, 2020 09:26PM  
BUA Socialism: BLM - Introduction 1 6 Jun 20, 2020 11:23AM  

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Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. Her articles have been published in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, Jacobin, New Politics, the Guardian, In These Times, Black Agenda Report, Ms., International Socialist Review, Al Jazeera America, and other publications. Taylor is assistant professor i ...more

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