• Louise Thompson Patterson: A Life of Struggle for Justice

    Pages: 328
    Illustrations: 24 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • List of Abbreviations  ix
    Acknowledgments   xi
    Introduction 1
    1. Louise Alone, 1901–1916  7
    2. California Community, 1917–1925  26
    3. Shades of Control, 1925–1928  42
    4. Harlem Kaleidoscope, 1928–1932  61
    5. Madam Moscow, 1932   81
    6. The Struggle Has Nine Lives, 1932–1934  97
    7. Popular Fronts, 1935–1937  113
    8. Ba Ba Ba Bop, 1937–1940  129
    9. Bronzeville Brigades, 1941–1949  145
    10. Sojourns and Sojourners, 1949–1959  162
    11. A Fairer Public Hearing, 1960–1969  182
    12. Confirming Commitments, 1970–1984  195
    13. Still Reaching, 1984–1999  212
    Notes  231
    Bibliography  271
    Index  283
  • "An important book in helping to understand the persistent racism faced by African Americans in this country and what individuals can do to help fight against the injustice."


  • "An important book in helping to understand the persistent racism faced by African Americans in this country and what individuals can do to help fight against the injustice."

  • “Bravo! Another elegant, inspiring, and complex chapter in the history of black radical internationalism has been written. And not surprisingly, the brazen intellectual and organizer at the center of the story is a woman. In this case that woman is the passionate, persistent, and worldly Louise Thompson Patterson. Professor Gilyard has given us a great narrative gift in this thoroughly researched and powerfully written biography of such an important figure in black left history.” — Barbara Ransby, author of, Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson

    "The incredible story of Louise Thompson Patterson needed to be told, and Keith Gilyard delivered. A beautiful, dynamic account of one of the most dangerous, courageous, and brilliant women of the twentieth century, this work tracks Thompson Patterson into the very epicenter of U.S. and international radical art, culture, and insurgent movements. Wherever she went—Harlem or Chicago, Berkeley or Birmingham, Moscow or Madrid—eruptions inevitably followed." — Robin D. G. Kelley, author of, Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists during the Great Depression

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  • Description

    Born in 1901, Louise Thompson Patterson was a leading and transformative figure in radical African American politics. Throughout most of the twentieth century she embodied a dedicated resistance to racial, economic, and gender exploitation. In this, the first biography of Patterson, Keith Gilyard tells her compelling story, from her childhood on the West Coast, where she suffered isolation and persecution, to her participation in the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. In the 1930s and 1940s she became central, along with Paul Robeson, to the labor movement, and later, in the 1950s, she steered proto-black-feminist activities. Patterson was also crucial to the efforts in the 1970s to free political prisoners, most notably Angela Davis. In the 1980s and 1990s she continued to work as a progressive activist and public intellectual. To read her story is to witness the courage, sacrifice, vision, and discipline of someone who spent decades working to achieve justice and liberation for all.

    About The Author(s)

    Keith Gilyard is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University and the author and editor of numerous books, including True to the Language Game: African American Discourse, Cultural Politics, and Pedagogy and John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism.
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