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Black Power and Palestine: The 1960s-70s Black Freedom Struggle and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

April 4, 2019 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
William J. Perry Conference Room, Encina Hall Central, 2nd Floor

The 1967 Arab–Israeli War rocketed the question of Israel and Palestine onto the front pages of American newspapers. Black Power activists saw the Palestinians as a kindred people of color, waging the same struggle for freedom and justice as themselves. Soon concerns over the Arab-Israeli conflict spread across mainstream black politics and into the heart of the civil rights movement itself. In this talk, Professor Michael Fishbach discusses how his latest book, Black Power and Palestine, which uncovers why so many African Americans — notably Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali, among others — came to support the Palestinians or felt the need to respond to those who did.

Michael R. Fischbach uncovers this hidden history of the Arab–Israeli conflict's role in African American activism and the ways that distant struggle shaped the domestic fight for racial equality. Black Power's transnational connections between African Americans and Palestinians deeply affected U.S. black politics, animating black visions of identity well into the late 1970s. Black Power and Palestine allows those black voices to be heard again today.

This is the first book to explore how conflict in the Middle East shaped the American civil rights movement. In chronicling this story, Fischbach reveals much about how American peoples of color create political strategies, a sense of self, and a place within U.S. and global communities. The shadow cast by events of the 1960s and 1970s continues to affect the United States in deep, structural ways.

Michael R. Fischbach is professor of history at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, where he has taught since 1992 after receiving his doctorate in modern Middle Eastern history from Georgetown University. He researches issues relating to land and property ownership in the modern Middle East, particularly in connection with Israel/Palestine, Jordan, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Fischbach is author of Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries (Columbia University Press, 2008); The Peace Process and Palestinian Refugee Claims: Addressing Claims for Property Compensation and Restitution (United States Institute of Peace Press, 2006); Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2003); State, Society, and Land in Jordan (Brill, 2000); was editor-in-chief of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa (Gale Cengage, 2007); and co-editor of Encyclopedia of the Palestinians (New York: Facts On File/InfoBaseLearning, e-book, 2017). His two books on Palestinian refugee property have been translated into Arabic.

Copies of Black Power and Palestine will be on sale at this event.

Event Sponsor: 
Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
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