When #BlackLivesMatter emerged in 2013, it animated the most consequential Black-led mobilization since the civil rights and Black power era. Today, the hashtag turned rallying cry is but one expression of a radical reorientation toward Black politics, protest, and political thought. To Build a Black Future examines the spirit and significance of this insurgency, offering a revelatory account of a new political culture--responsive to pain, suffused with joy, and premised on care--emerging from the centuries-long arc of Black rebellion, a tradition that traces back to the Black slave.
Drawing on his own experiences as an activist and organizer, Christopher Paul Harris takes readers inside the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) to chart the propulsive trajectory of Black politics and thought from the Middle Passage to the present historical moment. Carefully attending to the social forces that produce Black struggle and the contradictions that arise within it, Harris illustrates how M4BL gives voice to an abolitionist praxis that bridges the past, present, and future, outlining a political project at once directed inward to the Black community while issuing an outward challenge to the world.
Essential reading for the age of #BlackLivesMatter, this visionary and provocative book reveals how the radical politics of joy, pain, and care, in sharp contrast to liberal political thought, can build a Black future that transcends ideology and pushes the boundaries of our political imagination.
Christopher Paul Harris is assistant professor of global and international studies at the University of California, Irvine. His work aims to understand the political lives, thought, and cultures of the Black diaspora and the underlying forces that shape them. Harris earned his Ph.D. in politics and historical studies from The New School for Social Research. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University. To Build a Black Future is his first book.
Harris will be in conversation with Marcus Board Jr., an Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University. Dr. Board’s research engages race, gender, and social movements through the study of ideology and public opinion. His first book is Invisible Weapons: Infiltrating Resistance and Defeating Movements, which discusses the Movement for Black Lives - a towering presence complicated by anti-radical grassroots politics. Board uses his invisible weapons framework and mixed methods analyses to explain how marginalized groups are silenced, disempowered, and politically co-opted - and how we might redirect resistance in our fights to overcome.