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In Search of Power
African Americans in the Era of Decolonization, 1956–1974

$31.99 (G)

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  • Date Published: November 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107654716

$ 31.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • In Search of Power is a history of the era of civil rights, decolonization, and Black Power. In the critical period from 1956 to 1974, the emergence of newly independent states worldwide and the struggles of the civil rights movement in the United States exposed the limits of racial integration and political freedom. Dissidents, leaders, and elites alike were linked in a struggle for power in a world where the rules of the game had changed. Brenda Gayle Plummer traces the detailed connections between African Americans' involvement in international affairs and how they shaped American foreign policy, integrating African American history, the history of the African Diaspora, and the history of United States foreign relations. These topics, usually treated separately, not only offer a unified view of the period but also reassess controversies and events that punctuated this colorful era of upheaval and change.

    • Unites African American history with the history of US foreign affairs
    • Presents African American history as transnational
    • Examines the ways in which both dissidents and elites were involved in the pursuit of power
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    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

    Reviews & endorsements

    "In Search of Power is a masterpiece. Plummer has seamlessly woven together a thought-provoking tapestry from often disparate threads in African-American, African, Caribbean, international, and American history. In doing so she deepens the complexity of these struggles. It was not just the Left that fought; it was not always the liberals who compromised and capitulated; and it was not always racially binary. [This book] is simply the result of a historian at the top of her craft."
    Carol Anderson, Emory University, Atlanta, and author of Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944–1955

    "With theoretical sophistication and historical nuance, Brenda Gayle Plummer has written a wonderfully provocative book. In Search of Power boldly illustrates the productive work of ‘hybrid histories’ as it charts the complex convergence of the hopes, dreams, and failures of black freedom struggles at home and abroad. I suspect we will be grappling with this book for a long time to come."
    Eddie S. Glaude, Jr, Princeton University, New Jersey

    "This is an outstanding analysis of the global civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Highly recommended."

    "Judicious in its assessments, passionately written and with some memorable turns of phrase, Plummer has brought together a lot of information from disparate sources to provide a well-etched portrait of a particularly turbulent era in African American history."
    Philip Chrimes, International Affairs

    "… [an] important new book …"
    Jim H. Meriwether, H-Diplo (

    "In her stunning study of African Americans during the era of decolonization, Brenda Gayle Plummer makes a major contribution that will be widely read. Thoroughly researched and elegantly written, In Search of Power adds to understanding of the incredibly diverse people of color who struggled for power during the long and tumultuous 1960s."
    Andy DeRoche, Journal of American History

    "In Search of Power is a needed reminder to scholars and students focusing on this period and the aftermath that while we rightly examine the parallel struggles of blacks in America and those in Africa and the colonized Americas, the struggles were not identical and the failed expectations for African American rights in the United States can be better understood by looking at the relationship of these two struggles."
    Elizabeth West, Amerikastudien/American Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107654716
    • length: 382 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 155 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A great restlessness
    2. Peace or a sword?
    3. 'Freedom's struggle crosses oceans and mountains'
    4. Meeting Odinga
    5. When race doesn't matter
    6. Embracing the globe
    7. Race, space, and displacement
    8. Africa and liberation
    9. Agenda setting on two continents

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • America and the world in the 20th century
    • The Black Seventies
  • Author

    Brenda Gayle Plummer, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Brenda Gayle Plummer is Merze Tate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and currently chairs the department of Afro-American Studies. She is the author of Rising Wind: Black Americans and US Foreign Affairs, 1935–1960 (1996), Haiti and the United States (1992) and Haiti and the Great Powers, 1902–1915 (1988). She is the editor of Window on Freedom: Race, Civil Rights, and Foreign Affairs, 1945–1988 (2003).


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2013

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