An Unseen Light

An Unseen Light

Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee

Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century

Edited by Aram Goudsouzian and Charles W. McKinney Jr.

Contributions by Elizabeth Gritter, Brian D. Page, Darius Young, Elton H. Weaver III, David Welky, Beverly Greene Bond, Jason Jordan, Laurie B. Green, Steven A. Knowlton, Charles L. Hughes, Anthony C. Siracusa, James Conway, Shirletta Kinchen, Zandria F. Robinson and Michael K. Honey

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky

422 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in, 15 b/w photos

  • Hardcover
  • 9780813175515
  • Published: April 2018


  • Paperback
  • 9780813153179
  • Published: January 2022



In An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee, eminent and rising scholars present a multidisciplinary examination of African American activism in Memphis from the dawn of emancipation to the twenty-first century. Together, they investigate episodes such as the 1940 "Reign of Terror" when black Memphians experienced a prolonged campaign of harassment, mass arrests, and violence at the hands of police. They also examine topics including the relationship between the labor and civil rights movements, the fight for economic advancement in black communities, and the impact of music on the city's culture. Covering subjects as diverse as politics, sports, music, activism, and religion, An Unseen Light illuminates Memphis's place in the long history of the struggle for African American freedom and human dignity.