This article explores the political uses of the anti-genocide norm by black freedom activists in the United States between 1951, when the Civil Rights Congress petitioned the United Nations with evidence of genocide against black Americans, and 1967, when the topic of genocide returned to mainstream public debate with the beginning of William Proxmire’s campaign for US ratification of the Convention. Using public speeches and pamphlets of the US black freedom movement, and private documentation by movement activists, this paper demonstrates how black activists used the nascent anti-genocide norm to (1) critique the relationship between the US government’s role in the postwar international order amid ongoing mass violence against black Americans, and (2) express solidarity with global social movements against colonialism and Cold War-era imperialism. I conclude by arguing that the black freedom movement’s mobilization around the anti-genocide norm has important historical, historiographical, and methodological implications for genocide research.
I thank Gerald Horne and the archival staffs of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for their research guidance.
Solomon, Daniel E.
"The Black Freedom Movement and the Politics of the Anti-Genocide Norm in the United States, 1951 - 1967,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol13/iss1/13
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