Cover image for We are not what we seem : Black nationalism and class struggle in the American century
We are not what we seem : Black nationalism and class struggle in the American century
Bush, Roderick D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 315 pages ; 24 cm
The contemporary crisis -- Nothing but a Black thing? The Black freedom struggle in context -- The Washington-Du Bois conflict: African American social movements in the "Age of imperialism, " 1890-World War I -- World War I and the deepening and blackening of American radicalism -- From the Great Depression to World War II: the recomposition of White-Black alliance -- The American century: labor peace, hegemony, and civil rights -- The crisis of U.S. hegemony and the transformation from civil rights to Black liberation -- The future of black liberation and social change in the United States.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.61 .B98 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E185.61 .B98 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

On Order



An "Indispensable" Book of The Black World Today website

Much has been written about the Black Power movement in the United States. Most of this work, however, tends to focus on the personalities of the movement. In We Are Not What We Seem , Roderick D. Bush takes a fresh look at Black Power and other African American social movements with a specific emphasis on the role of the urban poor in the struggle for Black rights.

Bush traces the trajectory of African American social movements from the time Booker T. Washington to the present, providing an integrated discussion of class. He addresses questions crucial to any understanding of Black politics: Is the Black Power movement simply another version of the traditional American ethnic politics, or does it have wider social import? What role has the federal government played in implicitly grooming social conservatives like Louis Farrakhan to assume leadership positions as opposed to leftist, grassroots, class-oriented leaders? Bush avoids the traditional liberal and social democratic approaches in favor of a more universalistic perspective that offers new insights into the history of Black movements in the U.S.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Bush's history of black nationalism is a sustained attempt, by a former activist turned sociologist, to ferret out from the history of organizing in the black community throughout the 20th century those elements that seem to hold the most promise in fusing the nationalistic struggle to Marxism. At a moment when Marxist class analysis has lost favor in the academy, the CPUSA is a relic, and recent accounts of the Black Panther Party offer less than flattering portraits, the author remains an ardent defender of all three. His purpose is to identify those progressive (as opposed to conservative) nationalist organizations that seek to link nationalism to class struggle. In broad strokes Bush takes readers from the early challenges to the accommodationism of Booker T. Washington through the tumultuous years of the 1960s. The most interesting foci in this survey are those organizations with which the reader is least likely to be familiar, such as the African American Brotherhood and DRUM. From his particular vanguardist perspective, the author overestimates the significance of the far Left in the black community, while simultaneously underestimating the significance of the moderate Left. General readers. P. Kivisto Augustana College (IL)