The Texture—Gendered, Sexual, Violent—of James
Baldwin’s Southern Silences
Spurred on by Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The
Nickel Boys (2019), which is set in Tallahassee, FL, during the
1950s and 1960s, this essay presents a close-up look at James Baldwin’s
visit to Tallahassee in May 1960. Moving between Baldwin’s writings about
the South, especially “They Can’t Turn Back,” published by
Mademoiselle magazine in August 1960, and subsequent
writing about the movement in Tallahassee, and checking off against
Whitehead’s fictional treatment, we find a lattice of silences obscuring
the names and contributions of Black women. Most importantly, we find that the
historic case of the rape of Betty Jean Owens in May 1959, and the subsequent
trial that summer, appears neither in Baldwin’s nor Whitehead’s
writing about Tallahassee at the time. This essay establishes the missing names
of Black women in the places marked and unmarked by Baldwin in his work at the
time, and puts the case of Betty Jean Owens on the historical map where it
belongs. In so doing, we figure issues of race, gender, sex, and violence for
the ways they twist together, ways suppressed in historical (and even some
contemporary) writing, ways crucial to our deepening consideration of
Baldwin’s work and the history which he drew upon and to which he
contributed so profoundly.
This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen
science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth
age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within
environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists
have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging
in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics
has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of
science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living
with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary
contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American
hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental
controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,”
citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding
toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory
environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing,
witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for
seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of
engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of
critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will
also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the
book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues,
as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen
science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors
in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from
emerging scholars and community activists.
This is the first book-length study of one of the most significant of all British television writers, Jimmy McGovern. The book provides comprehensive coverage of all his work for television including early writing on Brookside, major documentary dramas such as Hillsborough and Sunday and more recent series such as The Street and Accused. Whilst the book is firmly focused on McGovern’s own work, the range of his output over the period in which he has been working also provides something of an overview of the radical changes in television drama commissioning that have taken place during this time. Without compromising his deeply-held convictions McGovern has managed to adapt to an ever changing environment, often using his position as a sought-after writer to defy industry trends. The book also challenges the notion of McGovern as an uncomplicated social realist in stylistic terms. Looking particularly at his later work, a case is made for McGovern employing a greater range of narrative approaches, albeit subtly and within boundaries that allow him to continue to write for large popular audiences. Finally it is worth pointing to the book’s examination of McGovern’s role in recent years as a mentor to new voices, frequently acting as a creative producer on series that he part-writes and part brings through different less-experienced names.
This book recounts the little-known history of the mixed-race children born to
black American servicemen and white British women during the Second World War.
Of the three million American soldiers stationed in Britain from 1942 to 1945,
about 8 per cent (240,000) were African-American; the latter’s relationships
with British women resulted in the birth of an estimated 2,000 babies. The
African-American press named these children ‘brown babies’; the British called
them ‘half-castes’. Black GIs, in this segregated army, were forbidden to marry
their white girlfriends. Up to half of the mothers of these babies, faced with
the stigma of illegitimacy and a mixed-race child, gave their children up for
adoption. The outcome for these children tended to be long-term residency in
children’s homes, sometimes followed by fostering and occasionally adoption, but
adoption societies frequently would not take on ‘coloured’ children, who were
thought to be ‘too hard to place’. There has been minimal study of these
children and the difficulties they faced, such as racism in a (then) very white
Britain, lack of family or a clear identity. Accessibly written and illustrated
with numerous photographs, this book presents the stories of over forty of these
children. While some of the accounts of early childhood are heart-breaking,
there are also many uplifting narratives of finding American fathers and gaining
a sense of self and of heritage.
In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.
Politico-economies of Slavery, Indentured Labour and Debt
history. The themes of the four sections are as follows: the nature and
centrality of slavery and forced labour to the UK industrial revolution
and the contrasting trajectories of UK-Caribbean and US-DeepSouth
slavery; the different transitions from slavery to indentured labour and
debt peonage and the political emancipation from slavery and indentured labour; the hybridity and heterogeneity of political economies of
labour; the epistemological suppression and containment of slavery, and
the abstracted capitalist market economy.
The nature and centrality of slavery to
celebrated as one of the
inspirations to the Black Power movement in America in the
1960s and, more recently, established as an icon of theorists of
cultural and postcolonial studies in the anglophone academy and
absorbed into their more textual preoccupations with identity
and sexual and racial politics.2 Macey also criticises the way in
which the American translation of Peau noire in 1967 dislocates
Fanon from a francophone context and, through mistranslation,
transforms him into the archetypal Negro from the American
deepsouth. Many readers of Peau noire in English
. The price of labour
was transformed beyond recognition in a developing, and distinctively
British, multi-modal political economy. Wages no longer just paid for
commodities in a closed-circuit system of exchange and reproduction
In parallel to the new forms of coerced wage labour developing in
metropolitan Britain during the nineteenth century, the industrial revolution not only benefited from, and developed with, modern capitalist
forms of slavery in its own colonies but drove the massive expansion of
slavery in the DeepSouth of the United States
Press, 2004), esp. pp. 99–102; see also C. L. R.
James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (New
York: Random House, 1968).
Although Professor Schama is correct that slave trade abolition did not attract much
serious notice – in part because of sectional divisions and the lack of state power
necessary for enforcement – the self-sustaining slave population of the Upper South
was the larger reason. By the time the trade was abolished in 1808, slaveholders in the
expanding DeepSouth were able to obtain the slaves they needed from
: History as Text and Discourse (Cambridge 1995).
Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, The Oral History Reader (London 2006).
Stephen Yeo, ‘Whose Story? An Argument from within Current Historical Practice
in Britain’, Journal of Contemporary History Vol. 21, April 1996.
Ronald Fraser, Blood of Spain (New York 1979), and Howell Raines, My Soul Is
Rested: Movement Days in the DeepSouth Remembered (Putnam 1977).
Taylor (1997), p. 30, Geraghty (2000), p. 12, English (2006), Mary Daly and Margaret O’Callaghan, 1916 in 1966: Commemorating the Easter Rising (Dublin 2007).