We Ain't What We Ought To Be (2011)
In this exciting revisionist history, Stephen Tuck traces the black freedom struggle in all its diversity, from the first years of freedom during the Civil War to President Obama's inauguration. As it moves from popular culture to high politics, from the Deep South to New England, the West Coast, and abroad, Tuck weaves gripping stories of ordinary black people - as well as celebrated figures - into the sweep of racial protest and social change. The drama unfolds from an armed march of longshoremen in post-Civil War Baltimore to Booker T. Washington's founding of Tuskegee Institute; from the race riots following Jack Johnson's 'fight of the century' to Rosa Parks' refusal to move to the back of a Montgomery bus; and from the rise of hip hop to the journey of a black Louisiana grandmother to plead with the Tokyo directors of a multinational company to stop the dumping of toxic waste near her home. "We Ain't What We Ought To Be" rejects the traditional narrative that identifies the Southern non-violent civil rights movement as the focal point of the black freedom struggle. Instead, it explores the dynamic relationships between those seeking new freedoms and those looking to preserve racial hierarchies, and between grassroots activists and national leaders. As Tuck shows, strategies were ultimately contingent on the power of activists to protest amidst shifting economic and political circumstances in the U.S. and abroad. This book captures an extraordinary journey that speaks to all Americans - both past and future.
The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union: A Transatlantic Story of Antiracist Protest (2014)
Less than three months before he was assassinated, Malcolm X spoke at the Oxford Union the most prestigious student debating organization in the United Kingdom. The Oxford Union regularly welcomed heads of state and stars of screen and served as the training ground for the politically ambitious offspring of Britain's "better classes". Malcolm X, by contrast, was the global icon of race militancy. For many, he personified revolution and danger. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the debate, this book brings to life the dramatic events surrounding the visit, showing why Oxford invited Malcolm X, why he accepted, and the effect of the visit on Malcolm X and British students. Stephen Tuck tells the human story behind the debate and also uses it as a starting point to discuss larger issues of Black Power, the end of empire, British race relations, immigration, and student rights. Coinciding with a student-led campaign against segregated housing, the visit enabled Malcolm X to make connections with radical students from the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia, giving him a new perspective on the global struggle for racial equality, and in turn, radicalizing a new generation of British activists. Masterfully tracing the reverberations on both sides of the Atlantic, Tuck chronicles how the personal transformation of the dynamic American leader played out on the international stage.
The Other Special Relationship: Race, Rights, and Riots in Britain and the United States ( Palgrave Macmillan, June 2015).
The diplomatic "special relationship" between the US and UK has received much attention from historians, while their shared history of racial inequality and civil rights struggles have been relatively understudied. This collection explores this other "special relationship," expanding our historical understanding of the global civil rights movement.