Despite the growing scholarly interest in the civil rights movement, to date there has been no comprehensive examination of the Black Power movement. Black Power in the Belly of the Beast fills this gap by providing the first in-depth look at the Black Power movement from the 1963 founding of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) to the Black Power movement’s demise in the mid-1970s.
The volume’s twelve contributors include well-known scholars such as James A. Geschwender and Douglas Glasgow as well as prominent community activists Akbar Muhammad Ahmad, Floyd W. Hayes III, and Komozi Woodard. Each of their chapters explores a single Black Power organization including Us, the Black Panther Party, and the Deacons for Defense and Justice. Important but lesser-known Black Power organizations such as the Republic of New Afrika and Sons of Watts are paid equal attention, as contributors address issues including self-defense, black identity, and the politics of class and gender. Throughout, authors emphasize the primary role that black institutions and charismatic leaders played in the rise, development, and eventual decline of the overall movement.