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Words of Protest, Words of Freedom : Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement and Era

ISBN: 9780822351030 | 082235103X
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Duke Univ Pr
Pub. Date: 2/29/2012

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With its concise and metaphorical language, poetry is an ideal artistic medium for expressing the fear, sorrow, and triumph of revolutionary times. Words of Protest, Words of Freedomis the first comprehensive collection of poems written during and in response to the American Civil Rights era of 1955–1975. Featuring some of the most celebrated writers of the twentieth century-such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, Derek Walcott, Robert Lowell, and Allen Ginsberg-alongside lesser-known poets, activists, and ordinary citizens, this anthology presents a varied and vibrant set of voices, highlighting the tremendous symbolic reach of the Civil Rights movement within the United States and beyond. Some of the poems focus on notable events such as the integration of Little Rock schools, the murders of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers, the emergence of the Black Panther party, and the race riots of the late 1960s; others are in sections devoted to key figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and John and Bobby Kennedy. A final group of poems speaks more broadly to the social and political climate of the times. Together with editor Jeffrey Lamar Coleman’s headnotes, the poems remind us of the heartbreaking and jubilant moments of this tumultuous era, and they showcase the breadth of the genre of Civil Rights poetry.

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