“Lawrence Goodwyn helped reframe our understanding of American history. This wonderful book, People Power, enlarges our understanding of Goodwyn’s contribution to his students, to organizing, and to the making of history. It is a treasure.”—Heather Booth, activist and organizer
Featuring contributions from leading scholar-activists, People Power demonstrates how the lessons of history can inform the building of new social justice movements today. This volume is inspired by the pathbreaking life and work of writer, activist, and historian Lawrence “Larry” Goodwyn.
As a radical Texas journalist and a political organizer, Goodwyn participated in historic changes ushered in by grassroots activism in the 1950s and ’60s. Professor and cofounder of the Oral History Program at Duke University, Goodwyn wrote about movements built by Latino farm workers, Polish trade unionists, civil rights activists, and others who challenged the status quo. The essays in this volume examine Goodwyn’s influence in political and social movements, his approaches to teaching and writing, and his insights into the long history behind contemporary activism. People Power will generate deep discussions about the potential of democracy amid the multiple crises of our time. What motivates ordinary people to move from kitchen table conversations to civic engagement? What do the chronicles of past social movements tell us about how to confront the real blocks of racism and the idea that Americans are somehow “exceptional”? Contributors provide key experiential knowledge that will help today’s scholars and community organizers address these pressing questions. Wesley C. Hogan is director of the Center for Documentary Studies as well as research professor at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute and Department of History at Duke University. She is the author of On the Freedom Side: How Five Decades of Youth Activists Have Remixed American History. Paul Ortiz is director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and professor of history at the University of Florida. He is the author of the PEN Award–winning An African American and Latinx History of the United States.