“America’s gun culture is often thought to be lily white. In this groundbreaking book, Nicholas Johnson shows how African Americans, from the abolitionists to the Deacons for Defense and Justice, have taken up arms time and again to fight for their rights and their lives. You’ll never look at guns and the Second Amendment in the same way again.”
—Adam Winkler, professor of law, UCLA School of Law, author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America
“Race has always been part of the unspoken motive for gun control in the United States. Johnson provides the best, most thorough history of the topic, telling the story mainly from the perspective and voices of blacks themselves. Shattering the myth of black passivity in the face of violent racism, the book is full of inspiring stories of genuine American heroes—some of them famous and many who were not—who used their Second Amendment rights to defend the civil rights of their people. Never shying away from the hardest questions, Johnson addresses the moral and practical complexities of armed self-defense, past and present. A major contribution to cultural studies and to the history of race in America.”
—David B. Kopel, research director, Independence Institute, Denver, Colorado
About the Author
Nicholas Johnson (New York, NY) is professor of Law at Fordham Law School, where he has taught since 1993. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he is the lead author of Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights and Policy (Aspen 2012).
Quoting from the book itself as to why the author wrote it:
"In the several years that I have been working on this project, people have asked what motivated it. What did I hope to achieve?
"To the first question, this book, like much of my work, is motivated by a rural sensibility, a familiarity with and affection for people and places that are underacknowledged in both in popular culture and in policy making.
"To the second question, my goal here is to answer a longing that I have observed in a variety of contexts. It is evident when people, especially young people of color, probing the narrative of the civil-rights movement, wonder plaintively whether anyone ever fought back. There is a palpable yearning for something more than the images of Negroes in church clothes flattened by baton charges, attacked by dogs, and sometimes hanged from tree limbs. Many of these people were heroes. But they were also victims, and that leaves us unfulfilled, grateful for their sacrifice but still not fully proud.
"The question lingers, where is our Leonidas? Where is our classic champion who meets force with force even in the face of long odds? Some may find an answer within the black tradition of arms."
Moderators, I put this thread in this forum because it seemed appropriate to me. If it needs to be moved, that's fine.
In any case, I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to expand his or her knowledge of the history of firearms ownership, use, and attitudes in an often overlooked demographic. Call it "black studies" for 2nd Amendment supporters.