by Paul Von Blum, illustrated by Frank Reynoso
A large swath of literature on the civil rights movement exists in the United States. Much of that literature focuses on the dramatic events of the African American resistance to Jim Crow and oppression from the mid 1950s through the early 1970s. Frequently, this material is scholarly and, at best, only marginally accessible to the general public. Moreover, many of the books on the modern civil rights movement focus exclusively on a narrow historical time frame and often on widely recognized public figures like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Civil Rights For Beginners fills a major gap by placing the modern civil rights movement into a broader historical perspective. It also discusses the civil rights and liberation movements from the 60s to the present that the African American freedom struggles helped to catalyze including the Chicano Movement, the American Indian Movement, the Asian-American Movement, the Women's Movement, and the Gay Liberation Movement.
Unlike most civil rights books, Civil Rights For Beginners focuses less on major leaders and more on the ordinary African Americans who provided the backbone of the successful protests and demonstrations. Moreover, it deals with the expressive culture of the movement, surveying key developments in literature, music, visual art, and film, all of which served both as integral features of the movement as well as contributing to its enduring legacy.
About the Contributors:
Paul Von Blum is Senior Lecturer in African American Studies and Communication Studies at UCLA. He has taught at the University of California since 1968, serving 11 years at UC Berkeley before arriving at UCLA in 1980. He is the author of six books and numerous articles on art, culture, education, and politics. His most recent book is A Life at the Margins: Keeping the Political Vision, his 2011 memoir that chronicles almost 50 years of political activism, starting with his civil rights work in the South and elsewhere in the early 1960s. Paul lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Frank Reynoso is a Brooklyn-based writer, cartoonist, and illustrator. His comics have appeared in BRKLYNR, Mint, World War 3 Illustrated, and Occupy Comics, and he's done illustrations for For Beginners Books, The Physics of the Impossible on the Science channel, and Mayfair Games.