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An Unseen LightBlack Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee$
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Aram Goudsouzian and Charles W. McKinney Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813175515

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813175515.001.0001

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(p.393) Coda
An Unseen Light

Charles W. McKinney Jr.

University Press of Kentucky

This essay reflects on the enduring nature of racial subordination and inequality that black Memphians confronted, but it also contends with the equally enduring reality of black insurgency, rooted in a deep and abiding determination to pursue equality. It argues that although racially charged flashpoints can focus intense energy and attention on specific issues, they often obscure the complex set of social, political, racial, and tactical dynamics that make up the tensions of domination, survival, and insurgency. When we reinterpret these moments in Memphis history, we are better able to make sense of their meanings and to understand the truly complicated calculus of social and political change in the Bluff City. While chronicling recent protests and racial flashpoints, such as the DeSoto Bridge protest and the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, the essay follows the analytical frame set forth in this volume. It insists that we can recognize the contemporary moment as a resurgence of the black freedom struggle.

Keywords:   Memphis, black freedom struggle, Black Lives Matter, social change, racial subordination

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