About the series

The Justice, Power, and Politics series publishes and pursues new works of history that explore questions of social justice, political power, and struggles for justice in the twentieth century—thereby bringing these books into conversation with each other.

In doing so, JPP helps readers to better understand the evolution of the United States in the last century, as well as integrate and broaden the way we think about these issues.

For more information about the series >>

Header photo far right: E.H. Butler Library, Buffalo Courier Express Collection

Now available from JPP

Knocking on Labor’s Door
Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide
by Lane Windham

Highlighting the integral, often-overlooked contributions of women, people of color, young workers, and southerners, this dramatic history reveals how 1970s workers combined old working-class tools–like unions and labor law–with legislative gains from the civil and women’s rights movements to help shore up their prospects. Recounting how employees attempted to unionize against overwhelming odds, Knocking on Labor’s Door dramatically refashions the narrative of working-class struggle during a crucial decade and shakes up current debates about labor’s future. Windham’s story inspires both hope and indignation, and will become a must-read in labor, civil rights, and women’s history.

“Anyone who cares about work and workers in today’s America should read this book. Overturning myths that are widely believed, Windham arouses both hope and outrage as she makes fresh sense of the staggering rise of inequality since the 1970s.”–Nancy MacLean, author of Freedom Is Not Enough


A Different Shade of Justice
Asian American Civil Rights in the South
by Stephanie Hinnershitz

From the formation of Chinese and Japanese communities in the early twentieth century through Indian hotel owners’ battles against business discrimination in the 1980s and ’90s, Stephanie Hinnershitz shows how Asian Americans organized carefully constructed legal battles that often traveled to the state and federal supreme courts. Narrating how Asian American political actors and civil rights activists challenged existing definitions of rights and justice, A Different Shade of Justice restores Asian Americans to the fraught legacy of civil rights in the South.

A Different Shade of Justice is a marvelous accomplishment of shaping a mountain of archival work into a set of narratives that help depict Asian American struggles for civil rights in the South, stories that have, until now, been largely invisible in civil rights history.”—Daryl Joji Maeda, author of Chains of Babylon



The Rise of the Arab American Left
Activists, Allies, and Their Fight against Imperialism and Racism, 1960s–1980s
by Pamela E. Pennock

In this first history of Arab American activism in the 1960s, Pamela Pennock brings to the forefront one of the most overlooked minority groups in the history of American social movements. Examining the emerging alliances between Arab American and other anti-imperialist and antiracist movements, Pennock sheds new light on the role of Arab Americans in the social change of the era.

“With keen insight and voluminous research, Pennock recaptures a political and social universe that has been, till now, dimly remembered at best. She transforms our understanding of the American Left by showing how Middle East–oriented political activism, spearheaded by individuals with kinship ties to the Arab world, modestly but unmistakably recast progressive American discourse on the politics of the Middle East. For years to come, this book will be the definitive history of Arab American political activism in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.”–Salim Yaqub, author of Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.–Middle East Relations in the 1970s

City of Inmates
Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965
by Kelly Lytle Hernández

Marshaling more than two centuries of evidence, historian Kelly Lytle Hernández unmasks how histories of native elimination, immigrant exclusion, and black disappearance drove the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles.

“Kelly Lytle Hernandez’s City of Inmates is a remarkable book. No historian has ever told California’s history with the breadth and depth of its enduring significance quite like this. Since the Spanish colonial period every kind of American–from Native Americans to Mexican and Chinese Americans, to landless whites and African Americans–has passed through California’s jailhouse doors with profound implications for the shape of our nation today. No telling or teaching of the past is complete without reckoning with these supremely urgent stories of our carceral history.”–Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness


In Love and Struggle
The Revolutionary Lives of James and Grace Lee Boggs
by Stephen M. Ward

A biography of James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs that highlights the vital contributions these two figures made to black activist thinking. At once a dual biography of two crucial figures and a vivid portrait of Detroit as a center of activism, Ward’s book restores the Boggses, and the intellectual strain of black radicalism they shaped, to their rightful place in postwar American history.

“Stephen Ward’s highly anticipated biography of James and Grace Lee Boggs lives up to its promise, and then some. Set largely in Detroit, the center of black working-class insurgency, In Love and Struggle tells the compelling story of what happens when two of America’s most original thinkers dedicate their lives to acting in the world. Jimmy and Grace insisted on the urgency of philosophy, on constantly questioning, and on staying grounded in community. With absolute clarity and care, Ward traces the couple’s evolution toward revolution, engages the prodigious body of work they left behind, constructs a new history of U.S. radical movements, and opens a window onto an unfinished future.”–Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination


Blue Texas
The Making of a Multiracial Democratic Coalition in the Civil Rights Era
by Max Krochmal

A history of the decades-long struggle for democracy in Texas, when African American, Mexican American, and white labor and community activists gradually came together to empower the state’s marginalized minorities. At the ballot box and in the streets, these diverse activists demanded not only integration but economic justice, labor rights, and real political power for all.

“A historical blueprint for Texas activists. . . . [This] history of multiracial civil rights movements in Texas offers lessons for progressives in the age of Trump, one of which is that demography is not necessarily destiny.”–Texas Observer

Blue Texas is one of the most interesting books I have read in a long time. A model of clarity, its narrative seamlessly weaves together social movement history, grassroots and high politics, and compelling vignettes of characters who seem almost drawn from a film. The result is a fine contribution to the literature on social movements, politics, and modern U.S. history.”–Thomas J. Sugrue, New York University


Latino City
Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945–2000
by Llana Barber

Telling the story of the transformation of Lawrence, Massachusetts, into New England’s first Latino-majority city, Latino City interweaves the histories of urban crisis in U.S. cities and imperial migration from Latin America.

“Beautifully written and brimming with insights, Latino City captures the remarkable story of New England’s ‘Latinization’ in the late twentieth century. Chronicling how Dominicans and Puerto Ricans reanimated Lawrence, Massachusetts, after World War II, Barber foregrounds the ways in which U.S. imperialism in the Caribbean drove new demographic changes in that city and elsewhere. A terrific exploration of Latino struggles against deindustrialization, racial violence, and welfare reform as well as the creative ways in which residents of Lawrence remade urban spaces and fashioned new local and transnational politics, Latino City deserves wide attention by scholars and the general public.”–Stephen Pitti, Yale University




No Mercy Here
Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity
by Sarah Haley

A landmark history of black women’s imprisonment in the South, this book recovers stories of the captivity and punishment of black women to demonstrate how the system of incarceration was crucial to organizing the logics of gender and race, and constructing Jim Crow modernity.

No Mercy Here is the most important contribution to U.S. labor history to appear in the last fifteen years. With theoretical sophistication, breathtaking archival depth, and historical imagination, Sarah Haley tells a compelling story of how the criminal punishment system, through which the state policed and exploited black working-class women, laid the foundation of Jim Crow modernity. But this is also a story of resistance—to captivity, to capital, to the carceral state. Poets, bards, philosophers, saboteurs, these women acted on dreams of revenge, retaliation, and flight; laughed and loved in the face of terror; and built an architecture of opposition that confounded the state.” –Robin D. G. Kelley


Unjust Deeds: The Restrictive Covenant Cases and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement, by Jeffrey D. Gonda
Unjust Deeds
The Restrictive Covenant Cases and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement
by Jeffrey D. Gonda

A groundbreaking study that explores the origins and complex legacies of the dramatic campaign against racially restrictive covenants, culminating in a landmark Supreme Court victory in Shelley v. Kraemer (1948).

“The time is more than ripe for a new look at restrictive covenant litigation, and Unjust Deeds is invaluable in this regard. With top-rate scholarship and original treatment, this is an important new work. It’s definitely among the top books on legal civil rights history from the past decade.”
–Susan Carle, American University Washington College of Law




Chained in Silence
Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South
by Talitha L. LeFlouria

A vivid history of the African American women ensnared in Georgia’s convict leasing system, redefining the social context of black women’s lives and labor in the New South and allowing their stories to be told for the first time. Winner of the 2015 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize, Association of Black Women Historians; Ida B. Wells Tribute Award, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; 2016 Darlene Clark Hine Award, Organization of American Historians; 2016 Philip Taft Labor History Award, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations / Labor and Working-Class History Association; 2016 Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell Award, Georgia Historical Society; 2015 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ Book Prize.

“Every page of Chained in Silence is a revelation. The author connects the hideous conditions that black female convicts endured with the emergence of white business supremacy and the modernization of the South. LeFlouria skillfully illuminates the ties between gender, racism, and labor exploitation in the making of the New South. This book is destined to play an integral role in contemporary debates on mass incarceration and prison reform.”–Paul Ortiz, University of Florida


berger_captive_195_300Captive Nation
Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era
by Dan Berger

A pathbreaking book that offers a bold reconsideration of twentieth century black activism, the prison system, and the origins of mass incarceration. Winner of the 2015 James A. Rawley Prize (OAH).

“Numerous scholars have distilled the grotesque features of the prison experience or described the sheer scale of mass incarceration. Others have chronicled the carceral turn where black freedom struggles of the mid-twentieth century gave way to the War on Drugs of today. But few have given voice to black prisoners as freedom activists and radical organizers in their own right until now. Dan Berger’s Captive Nation shows, by their example, that America’s most enduring paradox is its capacity to generate freedom with violence, to expand democracy and imprison its citizens. No histories of post–Civil Rights America can ignore this indispensable book.”–Khalil Gibran Muhammad

mantler_power_3D_2Power to the Poor
Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974
by Gordon Mantler

A major reinterpretation of civil rights and Chicano movement history, demonstrating how Martin Luther King Jr’s unfinished crusade became the era’s most high-profile attempt at multiracial collaboration, shedding light on the interdependent relationship between racial identity and political coalition among African Americans and Mexican Americans.

“Mantler offers an impressive examination of an understudied topic: antipoverty movements. He successfully weaves multiple histories, based on a sometimes staggering array of sources, into a highly readable analysis of social movement organizing.”–Journal of American History



Forthcoming books


Courage Under Fire: African Americans and the FDNY, by David Goldberg (publication expected 2017)


What You’ve Got is a Revolution: Black Women’s Movements for Black Power, by Ashley Farmer (publication expected 2017)

Irresistible Revolution: Cuba and American Radicalism, 1968-1992, by Teishan Latner (publication expected 2017)

Return of the Asylum: Deinstitutionalization and the Rise of Prisons, by Anne Parsons (publication expected 2018)

What Difference does Difference Make?: A History of Gay and Lesbian Identity Politics Since Stonewall, by David Palmer (publication expected 2018)

Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s, by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (publication expected 2018)

Democracy’s Capital: Local Protest, National Politics, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., by Lauren Pearlman (publication expected 2018)

A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Post-Civil Rights Chicago, by Elizabeth Todd-Breland (publication expected 2018)

To Make the Wounded Whole: African American Responses to HIV/AIDS, by Dan Royles (publication expected 2019)

For more information about these and other JPP books, check out the forthcoming books page.