We Are Exactly What We Seem: Notes on Locating a Black Property Rights Movement

Lecture Description

N. D. B. Connolly’s lecture considers how conventional ways of analyzing black political resistance have left observers blind to the existence of an African-American “Property Rights Movement.” As with more storied histories of civil rights and voting rights, the history black property rights, Connolly suggests, reflects a twentieth-century chock full of halfway victories and Faustian bargains. It provides a window into a Jim Crow Age – perhaps not too different from our own – where millionaire landlords worked as agents of black uplift and working-class activists advocated for suburban class segregation and massive displacements of the black poor. The history of black property rights, he maintains, offers a history of men and women who pursued personal freedom through developing and encouraging in other an owner’s relationship to the land, one that promised to emancipate “the Negro” from the coercive power of wage labor and the state.

CATEGORIES

African American Race

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