From #BlackLivesMatter To Black Liberation [Book Summary – Review]


In 1968 Martin Luther King; Jr.’s final article “A Testament of Hope”, he pointed at “a more aggressive political involvement”, thinking that it could lead to black freedom. A huge development has been achieved since the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, according to the explanation in this summary, there yet remains a far route to take before we can say that we have a real equal community.

Starting from black need’s roots in slavery to cops brutality against blacks, you’ll wander in a trip through the politics and racial discrimination that has driven the US to the current situation: in a community that some consider as “color-blind”, however, it’s where daily racism can be seen in several spots, starting from financial cuts to black criminalization – and where a different black freedom act is now forming.

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Chapter 1 – Issues in black societies are usually misknown as a cultural problem instead of a systematic one. 


Perhaps you’re familiar with the idea that slavery was ended in the southern part of America in the Civil War. Notwithstanding this turning point episode, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his speech almost one century after the War, stated that “freedom is not enough” and that we yet demand “equality as a result”.

In Johnson’s time, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, and it condemned all kinds of discrimination of race or color. However, it achieved less to mitigate the troubles, like corruption, crime, and financial hardship, which stayed present everywhere in the whole African-American societies.

One of the causes such issues constantly spread is due to their being criticized for their cultural frailties.

When Republican Representative Paul Ryan talks of increased unemployment numbers in poor African-Americans areas, he nailed it as a “culture problem”. Ryan says that inhabitants in such societies are unaware of the worth of the job.

When President Obama talked of the brutality in Chicago districts, he said it was the outcome of bad decisions taken by African-American young people, suggesting, “We have to provide stronger role models than the gangbanger on the corner”.



This idea develops the issue to African-Americans and their shortage of control instead of confronting the actual reasons for poverty and inequality throughout the states. It even eternizes the misconception of African-Americans as careless gangsters who are against the law and pedagogy.

Yet, the fact is that African-American poverty has been found in the US community since the ages of slavery, and this is the true issue we’re encountering.

Most of the economy and democracy upon which the US was found counted on slavery to strengthen the country’s cotton, sugar, rice, and tobacco shareholders. Then, after the destruction of slavery and the struggle for civil rights, African-Americans distress didn’t stop.

In the years of economic hardship, African-Americans have been without jobs and underemployed, poorly housed, and improperly educated. In the Nixon and Reagan presidential, social welfare projects had their support severed, the impacts of which are yet destructing African-American societies now.

In the coming sections will demonstrate racism as yet there even beyond the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And it’s feeding a different black freedom act.


Chapter 2 – Politicians have persisted the wrong word of a “color-blind” community to promote a dangerous plan.


It would be a huge slip to believe that any policy approved by Congress would clear the slate clean and switch American to a “post-racial” community. 

However, such an idea is precisely the picture few people have attempted to rise. During the 1970s, legislators started to name the US a “color-blind” country, in the time when racism progressed to split the nation.

Naming the US “color-blind” is beyond mere rejection of the racism that obviously there. Such an expression even meant for the big picture – it adjusts the scene for harmful political plans prepared to sustain poor African-American societies.

To think that racism is not a problem in the US anymore is to state that racism can’t be the main reason for the US’s poor societies. This is why poverty, crime, and unemployment need to be the outcome of the African-American society and not an issue that can be done by governmental financial programs in social welfare projects.

Such a concept was especially the heart of the Nixon presidential, which set a chain of discriminatory economic systems in its years of service in the White House office from 1969 to 1975.

Nixon named the US “a free and open society” as a method to put the responsibility for any kind of poverty or crime that might happen to the people and their wrong options. He aimed to set a clear message that such problems are more than the financial support and social laws, thus, ameliorative standards don’t yet deserve the try.

Thus, rather than rising funding on financial aid, Nixon built up the country’s police centers, in a purpose to ensure that African-American societies stayed supervised and any opponents to stay in prison. So, they started an abiding heritage of public imprisonment that has seriously damaged African-American people.



At the time when the authorities in the 1970s were focusing on all left-wing institutions with their more police centers, the “unruly” black societies were the most difficult.

In the coming section, we’ll check how the beginning of a new black elite in the 1980s didn’t succeed to nail the end of progressive imprisonment of the African-American people.


Chapter 3 – Despite the developments of the African-American politicians, crucial reform has not succeeded to occur.


If you care about civil rights, you may remember April 19, 2015: the memory of 25-year-old Freddy Gray passed away after his wounds he endured of getting captured and brutally hitten by Baltimore cops. 

There was no justification for this dramatic loss; Gray was not carrying a weapon nor an aggressive criminal. It was an all-too-familiar event of a young person whose way was interrupted by the cops only for he was black-skin and in need.

The loss of Freddy Gray triggered a surge of rallies opposing Baltimore’s city authorities, several of whom are African-Americans. Actually, both the governor and the city’s chief of cops are African-Americans.

Sadly, such an event demonstrates to us that also black US citizens have earned an existence in the elitist ranks of the American cops, the states have yet declined to develop the standards of its people in their most need.



African-Americans have been achieving prominent invasions in law since 1967 when Carl Stokes was chosen to be the governor of Cleveland, Ohio, and became the first African-American governor in an American city. At the end of the eighties, places such as Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, and New York would all be governed by African-American leaders, somehow.

So, for sure, Barack Obama entered the administration as the US first African-American President in 2009. In 2005, there was a complete number of 46 African-American staff members in the House Representatives and two African-American senators. 

Such a thing could be viewed as a significant development, however, many have seen that the system is yet jammed in front of them when it relates to assisting African-American societies.

During the eighties, Reagan’s government severed the resources for social projects, making each state’s mayor with no federal support and little luck to fight poverty and unemployment in dark-skin districts.

To initiate campaign support from domestic stakeholders, each governor, regardless of his race, has been made to empose taxes, contributing to the social services obstacle to flourish.

The government body has dramatically blocked the African-American officials, thus, there’s been no progress in demolishing poverty and unemployment or advancements in housing and well-being aspects. Consequently, dark-skin US people are merely had enough with the dark-skin officials as the laters supports the white-skin ones.


Chapter 4 – The law and justice mechanism have maintained black citizens as criminals. 


The Thirteenth Amendment to the American Constitution prohibited slavery all around the states since 1865, yet, Southern states proceeded forward to seek alternatives for holding their black subjects as bondage.

Several districts implemented Black Codes, like the Black Code in Louisiana’s St. Landry Parish that says; “every negro is required to be in the regular service of a white person”, otherwise they will be held, prisoners.

In the time when Black Codes were forbidden in 1866, the concept of containing the liberty of the African-Americans would continue. Most of the wish to maintain African-Americans in jail came from the economic urgency to get cheap – or, in this condition, without charge – workers. And criminal wage turned into a legitimate way to achieve this.

The criminal wage was a shape of a prison work that permitted agricultural holders and other fields to “lease” condemned African Americans for 24 hours work. As the Southern economy had been dependent on this methodology prior to the wartime, they stayed dependent on criminal wages.

In 1898, coal mines were producing more than 70 percent of Alabama’s whole income and they depended on criminal waging to sustain the progress of this sector.

At the beginning of the 2000s, the grand bulk of Southern jails were African-American. And issues weren’t that good in the rest of America, as well.

African-American societies stayed inappropriately in the security check and they went on to confront a duel standard from the law and court bodies in America.

In the early 2000s, Detriot was an official police process to arrest African-American people into confinement and capture them for many days while they seal their fate to charge them with a violation or not.



In this time, the security authority would not succeed on a daily basis to provide any kind of preservation to the African-Americans, precisely when they were getting assaulted by white-Americans.

That was the case in Chicago, in 1919, when an African-American juvenile, Eugene Williams, was killed by a white-skin racist citizen at the moment Williams didn’t make it to cope with the discrimination rules at the coast area. Despite the murderer’s name was revealed to the cops, they never take any arrangement against him.

In 2015, USA Today reviewed 70 police centers all over America and saw that African-Americans are still ten times above normal to be held in custody than other skin.


Chapter 5 – The progressive claims of police aggression, and the decline of African-American power, emerged a new time of activism.


Several individuals had faith in the models of “hope” and “change” that came with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and final gain of the 2008 office. It was a first in US history, that more than 60 percent of qualified black voters cast their ballots – an unusual output.

However, the interest of those who vote would end into disappointment, as Obama’s service in office found to be unable to shift the constant aggression and racial discrimination in America.

In 2009, right after the Great Depression that came upon the African-American labor societies in precise harsh, the beginnings of depressed voters started to appear. The unemployment scale of African0American laborers rose to more than 13 percent. Nonetheless, Obama agreed on the financial aid by banks that were behind it. 

The boundaries of Obama’s authority were yet more obvious after the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Martin, an African-American juvenile, was going back home on foot from a luxury shop while using his mobile. George Zimmerman, a district supervisor coordinator, saw Martin coming, and just like that, he tracked Martin’s way. Afterwise, facing Martin, Zimmerman fired his gun aiming for the chest, murdering Martin. When the cops came to the place, Zimmerman said that Martin was the one who attacked him.

Rallies occurred all over the states, and within a month and half of accumulating pressures, Zimmerman was eventually captured, just to be released with no charges for killing Trayvon Martin. By default, several people were radically frustrated with the result, and Obama attempted to put the public on the ease by calling the Americans to think of their country as the “nation of laws”. Yet, what are African-Americans thinking of ding at the time the legislation and court systems are obviously not on their side?



It was clear that African-American political figures were unsuccessful in making any development possible. Yet, this indifference led to a new movement to emerge.

In 2013, the society coordinator, Alicia Garza, reacted to the unfairness revolving around Trayvon Martin with a post on Facebook says includes the hashtag: #BlackLivesMatter.

This hashtag turned into a strong weapon, providing a united rally in front of cops’ aggression and unfairness. Moreover, it generated a whole institution dedicated to standing against African-American discrimination.


Chapter 6 – Rallies and activist institutions increased after the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson.


Unfortunately, the killing of young African-American people by the cops didn’t stop on the 9th of August in 2014, at the time Mike Brown was murdered in the small city of Ferguson, Missouri.

Darren Wilson, a white cop, was reacting to a call of a robbery at the time he came face to face with Mike Brown, who’d shop for a box of small cigar from a luxury shop. Wilson fired his gun on Brown and murdered him, whose corp would be remained at the spot for more than four hours, laying there under the burning sun of that summer.

Over again, an all-too-familiar story of cruelty and abuse roled in as rallies and disturbance followed. Cops also destructed the flower bouquets which were the grievers presented in the murder spot. The frustrations and aggression just rose when cops shot tear gas and rubber bullets to suppress the rallies.

Yet, this response to the unfairness and chaotic cops’ aggression progressed to rise and expand over the country.

At the time a great jury didn’t succeed in sentencing Darren Wilson of murdering Mike Brown, country-wise rallies facing cops’ aggression exploded in big cities, like New York and Washington, CD. Tens of thousands of individuals moved in harmony to uncover the national scourge of cops’ barbarity exercised in the African-American communities.  

At the end od December 2014, the memorable phrase “Black Lives Matter” could be watched and listened to all over the nation. Only then, thousands of university campuses even turned to be open floors for rallies and heightened conscious. 



Everything was motivating other protesting institutions to shape and empowering the new black liberation act. Of the most popular movements are the Dream Defenders, BYP 100, Hands Up United, Ferguson Action, Millennials United, and on top of them, Black Lives Matter.

Several people are being driven by a fresh generation of politically involved African-American influencers, which put them separately from the conservative post-civil rights age institutions. And at the time when they’re all appreciating extras to the new black liberation act, several of them are requesting new political developments, thus they could profit from acting collaboratively to make it better managed.


Chapter 7 – We must recognize the connection between racism and capitalism and unify the middle-classes.


When we retrieve the rallies that occurred at the time of the Civil rights Movement in the sixties, we can reveal the struggle for fair rights as also being a struggle against the powers of capitalism that have sustained African-Americans below.

In the sixties, there was a plain concept of the way that capitalism caused difficult times for the African-American societies and the way that socialism showed a wishful another-solution to enhance community and race correlations. 

It’s not difficult to view the way in which involuted racism and capitalism have been all the time.

Deep in its heart, capitalism works through letting the exploitation of the majority by the richest minority. To achieve this disorder, a political mechanism has to be set in a way that provides an ideological reason behind the willingness to sustain specific individuals right below, which is the way we eventually have racist doctrines.

Karl Marx knew the system of capitalism more than everybody, and he was so familiar with the joints that connect racism to capitalism. He referred to the manners in which a racist conception can be utilized through the upper society to maintain the cunny status between the white-Americans and the American-American within the middle-class.



We can understand the way these paths were utilized after the overthrown of slavery when the African-American and the while middle-class proceeded in their fight instead of sticking together in the face of the exploitation. That’s precisely how the capitalist powers would have wished for.

After the end of slavery, the term “white supremacy” emerged as a straightforward reaction to the white concern of “Negro domination”, and the danger of the African-American community turning to be the upper class.

This “threat” was a political strategy to group the small farmers and the leading industry figures whose the one shared feature was belonging to the same white-skin. With purulent racial concerns, white community with its two classes; the poor and the rich, could cooperate to preserve the upper class.

This idea has put every black liberation movement connected to the bigger natter of human rights. This is the reason behind us wanting black and white individuals of the middle-class to cooperate and respond towards a true and good development that the authorities will have no choice but to accept.


From #BlackLivesMatter To Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Book Review


There have been several calls that America is a “post-racial” or “color-blind” nation, yet. Till the moment, racism has stayed rooted in the US. Such a reality turns to be sorely clear in the progressive killing of African-Americans by the cops and the American political order’s uncontrolled carelessness of African-American societies. A different black liberation act is now growing and if it can make it through in grouping black and white individuals of the middle-class, it has the possibility to eventually influence a true shift in the situation.



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Savaş Ateş

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