Martha Biondi is a professor ofHistory and African American Studies at Northwestern University. She’s knownfor writing To Stand and Fight, whichwas published in 2003 and is more recently known for also publishing the book, The Black Revolution on Campus, whichpublished in 2012. Martha Biondi is currently researching on neoliberalism inChicago, around the1980’s. Martha Biondi’s overall focus is on 20thcentury African American History with a focus on politics, gender and otheractivist movements. Some of the awards that Biondi was presented with includethe 2012 Nation Book Award, 2013 Wesley-Logan Prize and other awards such asthe Myers Outstanding Book Award and Thomas J. Wilson Price back in the early2000’s.The Black Revolution on Campus talksabout a time that is not too often discussed when one looks back at the 1960sand 1970s.
Biondi goes in depth on explaining how Black students were able toorganize a number of marches and protests, which ended up as a result, givingblack students the ability to negotiate and actually create change within theeducation system. Biondi focuses on education further by mentioning howstudents voiced their opinions against colleges and their lack of involvementwith the Black community. More importantly, she finishes off by explaining how Blackstudents end up creating intellectual impact that eventually lasted allthroughout the 20th and 21st century.The Black Revolution on Campus looks at Black struggles and the Civil Rights Movement fromthe point of view of students who wanted to forever change the way educationwas looked at.
Biondi in her book does not isolate the education system andalso makes sure to connect the development of the Black Power movement, Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. to the students. She captures the emotions of studentsas prominent leaders were killed off and explains the relationship between thetwo as more aggressive tactics, by the students, came into play.Martha Biondi uses numerous amountsof primary and secondary sources, such as interviews, archived research andother factual information in order to prove her arguments. She makes sure tolist every protest and doesn’t forget to elaborate on the violence thatfollowed each event. Many of the protests, although sometimes non-violent, endedwith police brutality and injustice towards Black and white students.Biondi starts off by talking aboutSan Francisco State College but then goes on to mention Northwestern University, South Carolina StateUniversity, Southern University, and North Carolina A State University.
Some of her arguments and questions she tried to answer throughout the bookincluded, “At stake was the very mission of Higher education. Who should bepermitted entry into the universities and colleges? What constituted merit? Whoshould be the future leaders of the nation in this post segregation era, andhow should this group be determined? What should be taught and who should teachit? Perhaps most controversially, should students have a hand in facultyselection or governance?” (Biondi, 1).The Black Revolution on Campus contains eightchapters, with a “Conclusion”, that as previously touched upon, discusses therise of the Black Power movement on different college campuses following theassassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After the conclusion, Biondi offersa “Selected Bibliography” and “Notes” part that helps the reader understand thetypes of sources presented in every chapter. In the “Acknowledgement” section,she summarizes her experience while conducting her research, meeting activistsand writing this book, in particular.In her first chapter, “Moving Toward Blackness: TheRise of Black Power on Campus,” Biondi talks about the start of some of themovements in the 60s and how different Black students felt, going intotraditionally white schools.
Additionally, she also talks about the deathMalcolm X and MLK, the aggressiveness of Black students, the creation of theBlack Student Union, and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Thesenewly created groups fought to bring Black curriculum, studies, and programsinto white colleges and opposed the assimilation of white culture.In the second chapter, “A Revolution is Beginning:The Strike at San Francisco State,” Biondi talks about the Black Student Unionat San Francisco State as the Black students there push for a Black studiesprogram to be applied. She talks about the struggle and opposing factorsagainst the request for a Black curriculum by the government of California.In chapter three, “A Turbulent Era of Transition: Blackstudent and a New Chicago,” Biondi takes a broader approach and describesmultiple educational institutions in the Chicago area as they aim for the samegoal as previously mentioned colleges.Chapter four, “Brooklyn College Belongs to Us: TheTransformation of Higher Education in New York City,” the author talks abouthow Black students fought for the elimination of the GPA and SAT requirementsat the City College of New York.
In Chapter five, “Toward a Black University:Radicalism, Repression, and Reform at Historically Black Colleges,” Bionditalks about Black students and Black people in general, wanting a transitionfrom having white administration and staff running historically Black colleges,to the hiring of Black staff in order to create a stronger connection betweenthe students and staff. Chapter six, titled “The Counterrevolution onCampus: Why was Black Studies So Controversial?” Biondi basically explains therights of Black students and whether they should have any say in who should behired or not. She also talks about what majors students have a right to pursue.In Chapter seven, “The Black Revolution off Campus,”Biondi explains how Black scholars decided on the curriculum, the advertisementof Black studies to a broader audience and ways that Black educators wouldeducate the Black community.
In Chapter eight, her final chapter, “What Happen toBlack Studies” Biondi connects the past with the present as she describes Blackstudies in colleges today. She shows the relationship between the expandedblack studies, which includes Black women, African diaspora and other forms ofethnic studies.As you may have already guessed, in her conclusiontitled, “Conclusion: Reflections on the Movement and Its Legacy,” Biondisummarizes and connects all chapters of her book to one another in order togive her readers a full synopsis of what she discovered with her research.
TheBlack Revolution on Campusis an amazing book that vocalizes the views and battles fought by Blackstudents during the 1960s and 1970s. Biondi is able to fully explain thestruggle of Black students and staff members as they fought for their right tostand out and incorporate Black curriculum into colleges throughout the UnitedStates. I believe that my interest was engaged throughout the book since Biondiwas able to remain honest and was able to mention some of the more violentoutcomes throughout this fight, such as the Orangeburg and South Carolinamassacres. She also had the ability to connect what happened in the classroomto what was happening outside throughout the Civil Rights movement. I felt asif I was getting the whole picture rather than only a hint of the truth.