Behind the Covers: Radical Theatrics

Final cover design

Final cover design

As part of a series of guest posts, UW Press Designer Dustin Kilgore walks us through the various design concepts that eventually brought him to a book’s final cover:

Craig Peariso’s Radical Theatrics: Put-ons, Politics, and the Sixties analyzes the theatrical actions of the 1960s counterculture movement and finds that, contrary to popular belief, their over-the-top antics were more than attention-seeking displays. From Occupy Wall Street and Flood Wall Street to the creative Keystone XL pipeline protests, such theatrics are still considered effective by the diverse groups within American society expressing political dissent.

To mirror the book’s approach of using contemporary 1960s source materials in its analysis, I thought the book’s overall design should feel as much from that time period as possible without being nostalgic or resorting to tired stock protest imagery.

The image research included print ephemera  and documentary photography of protests as diverse as the October 21st March to “Levitate the Pentagon” to humble Quaker pray-ins in front of the White House.

Selected image research.

Selected image research.

 

 

July 7, 1969, Washington, DC, USA --- Members and supporters of the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) hold a "meeting of worship" sit-in outside the White House as a delegation continues a discussion of Vietnam policy with presidential advisor Henry Kissinger inside. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

July 7, 1969, Washington, DC, USA — Members and supporters of the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) hold a “meeting of worship” sit-in outside the White House as a delegation continues a discussion of Vietnam policy with presidential advisor Henry Kissinger inside. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

 

June 1971, Washington, DC, USA --- Peace activists surround themselves with broken plastic guns at a 1971 Vietnam War protest. --- Image by © Owen Franken/CORBIS

June 1971, Washington, DC, USA — Peace activists surround themselves with broken plastic guns at a 1971 Vietnam War protest. — Image by © Owen Franken/CORBIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov. 15, 1969, Washington, DC, USA --- An anti-Vietnam War demonstrator holds a sign that reads "Straight Middle-Class Types for Peace" during a rally in Washington DC. --- Image by © Leif Skoogfors/CORBIS

Nov. 15, 1969, Washington, DC, USA — An anti-Vietnam War demonstrator holds a sign that reads “Straight Middle-Class Types for Peace” during a rally in Washington DC. — Image by © Leif Skoogfors/CORBIS

 

Nov. 15, 1969, Washington, DC, USA --- Protestors perform a March of Death, carrying symbolic coffins to represent American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War, during Moratorium Day demonstrations along Constitution Avenue in Washington DC. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Nov. 15, 1969, Washington, DC, USA — Protestors perform a March of Death, carrying symbolic coffins to represent American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War, during Moratorium Day demonstrations along Constitution Avenue in Washington DC. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

 

 

April 17, 1965, Washington, DC, USA --- This is part of the estimated 5,000 students who picketed in front of the White House today to protest the U.S. policy in Southeast Asia and demand an end to the war in Vietnam. Hundreds of extra police were on duty to help keep order. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

April 17, 1965, Washington, DC, USA — This is part of the estimated 5,000 students who picketed in front of the White House today to protest the U.S. policy in Southeast Asia and demand an end to the war in Vietnam. Hundreds of extra police were on duty to help keep order. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An early (very rough) concept featured a double exposure of the Yippies’ Abbie Hoffman:

peariso-radical-theatrics-abbie-3

Even though  the Yippies  are discussed at length in the book, I abandoned this direction in order to avoid favoring any one particular group on the cover. Since the activist movements covered in the book are diverse in their issues and approaches, I was looking for the middle ground between irreverent over-the-top ’60s countercultural imagery and more conservatively presented civil rights marches as seen in this figure from the book’s interior:

Franklin Kameny, Philadelphia 1965. Photo by Kay Tobin Lahusen. Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Franklin Kameny, Philadelphia 1965. Photo by Kay Tobin Lahusen. Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.

The photo ultimately selected for the cover is from a 1967 anti-Vietnam war protest in Wichita, Kansas. It echoes the book’s contents because it’s a bit outside our 21st century stereotypes about the ’60s counterculture: no long hair, no peace signs, no bell bottoms etc. The activists’ performance clearly calls into question the legitimacy and morality of the Vietnam debacle and other imperialist excursions. I think it cleverly reframes the debate to ask, “Just who are the radicals?”

original-cover-image-3

 

I liked the idea of featuring marionettes because it quickly conveys “theatricality” and also recalls an incisive collage by former Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, Emory Douglass:

09-21-74-B-AK.tif

Inspired by their pithy signs and marionette props, I wanted the typography to have the same grassroots  ad hoc energy by making the type hand-drawn.

Since this is an academic book, I researched ’60s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) posters and other university protest flyers. As a Phil Ochs fan, I was especially drawn to one of his hand-bills, which is an interesting cross between a church event and a rock show. (Note the event’s sponsors.) The DIY mix of disparate typography definitely informed the final cover design and the interior design as well. The interior of the book looks like a Herbert Marcuse monograph from the time, with Century Schoolbook as the main text typeface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I experimented with a few different approaches for the hand-drawn cover type, using cheap brushes, poster paints, and a chisel tip marker.

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Housing the back cover blurbs in comic book speech bubbles adds a final touch of hand-drawn levity. I wanted to turn the barcode upside down or have it a bit askew, but that was rocking the boat a bit too much.

11peariso-radical-theatrics-back

 

 

Q&A with ‘Proving Grounds’ author Neil Oatsvall

Proving Grounds coverThe essays in Proving Grounds: Militarized Landscapes, Weapons Testing, and the Environmental Impact of U.S. Bases give us the most comprehensive examination to date of the environmental footprint of U.S. military bases both at home and abroad. Though critical of the military’s presence across the globe, the book does point to a few examples where the armed forces were actually ahead of the curve—at least compared to the private sector—in terms of self-regulation. Still, the majority of cases in Proving Grounds look at the damaging consequences—both intended and unintended—of building bases and testing weapons, from wiping out indigenous plant and wildlife to the contamination resulting from the disposal of Agent Orange after the Vietnam War.

In Chapter 2, historian Neil Oatsvall looks at how deeply policymakers engaged with environmental science at the dawn of the nuclear testing era. Contrary to popular belief, he finds, U.S. leaders actually did take scientific considerations seriously as they tried to take a lead in the burgeoning nuclear arms race. However, though their intentions may have been well-meant, given the limits of their environmental knowledge at the time, they were clearly in over their heads. We asked Neil to elaborate on this contradiction.

–Ranjit Arab, Senior Acquisitions Editor

Q: What led you to pursue your research? Who or what were some of your inspirations?

Neil Oatsvall: Two books made me want to be an environmental historian: Don Worster’s Dust Bowl and Ed Russell’s War and Nature. It’s a funny coincidence that I went to the University of Kansas to study with Don, and when he retired Ed replaced him. Russell’s work in particular sparked many questions in me. Nature and culture are frequently intertwined, as are technology and culture—but how has human culture mediated the interaction between the natural world and technology? And how has warfare served as an historical flashpoint where these relationships can be more easily examined?

These questions and others led me to research defoliation during the Vietnam War and then nuclear technologies and the environment.  You could say I’ve been drawn to the more charismatic technologies, if technology could ever be so described. And warfare to me was always one of those spectacles so horrifying that I couldn’t look away, like the Titanic sinking.

In addition, I grew up too late in the Cold War to be scared of nuclear weapons destroying the world and in Raleigh, North Carolina near the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant. This meant that nuclear technologies never seemed like the specter of death to me—they were just captivating pieces of technology. Thus this lifelong fascination with nuclear technologies combined with my coming of age as an historian right around the time Ed Russell and Richard Tucker started the historical subfield of war and environment. It was a logical topic in that way.

 

Historian and author Neil Oatsvall

Historian and author Neil Oatsvall

Q: What was one of the more surprising finds you came across along the way?

Neil Oatsvall: My most surprising find revolved around early plans to test nuclear weapons on Amchitka Island, further detailed in my chapter in Proving Grounds. I was shocked to find military planners talking seriously with administrators from the Department of the Interior about sea otters and how Amchitka being a successful breeding ground might derail testing plans. Ultimately it was geology, and not otters, that scuttled early testing plans on the island. But the mere fact that the 1950s U.S. military wrestled with how nuclear tests might affect vulnerable sea otter populations was truly unexpected.

Q: How did the military and the federal government conceive of environmental science, broadly, during the early Cold War?

Neil Oatsvall: Different historians might answer this in different ways, but I would say environmental science was just another tool in trying to improve the U.S. geopolitical position as much as possible. Understanding ocean currents and the ocean floor’s topography helped with submarine warfare. Knowledge of the atmosphere and air currents helped detect and interpret foreign nuclear tests. And Jake Hamblin has even shown in his recent book Arming Mother Nature how environmental science was factored into plans for potentially using catastrophic environmental disasters for military purposes. Learning about the environment was not necessarily a goal in and of itself, but it was a means to an end.

Q: Did you detect any sustained, strong pushback, even during the era of nuclear testing, against the idea that such testing was making America safer?

Neil Oatsvall: There certainly was resistance to the notion that testing was making the nation safer, and from a variety of sources. Linus Pauling was a particularly important scientist-activist, awarded the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-nuclear activism. But the archives are littered with both formal and informal pushback. For example, a 1958 anti-nuclear weapons letter, signed by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Christian ethicists Albert Schweitzer and Martin Niemöller (among others), implored President Eisenhower, “We want you to feel that your job is to help make this planet safe and fit for human habitation.” As an informal example, journalists made sure to question Eisenhower frequently about nuclear weapons tests, their safety, and what the nation gained from such tests. And privately there are numerous examples of decision makers questioning each other about nuclear weapons policy and whether testing actually accomplished the goals laid out for it.

Now, can all that be considered “sustained” or “strong”? I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder. I would say that it was, even such criticism was frequently diffused. But it’s hard to discount people like Pauling, and his Nobel Peace Prize shows that it’s not just historians playing a trick on the past—his contemporaries found him influential too.

Q: What are two or three of the most enduring legacies of the 1945-58 period, in terms of both later and current federal and military environmental policy?

Neil Oatsvall: Am I taking comps again? Is this real life? In all seriousness, this is a difficult but worthwhile question.

I could say something specific: for example, Karl Brooks has argued for the modern-day implications of the 1946 amendment of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, which required consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service when development on a body of water might cause damage to wildlife resources. Instead I want to briefly talk about two broad trends: the U.S. military’s increasing dependence on environmental science and the understanding that the Earth may not be unbreakable.

Earlier I talked about how the military came to see environmental science as a tool for better protecting the nation and improving its military capabilities—environmental science became more important to achieving national security goals. Some of my previous research has also shown how nuclear technologies, agriculture, and the Green Revolution melded to influence what the U.S. government perceived as its role in the world. In that sense, scientific knowledge of the environment combined with technology to influence U.S. geopolitical policy. In general, the early postwar years saw the U.S. military (and by extension the federal government as a whole) increasingly integrate environmental science and environmental understandings into policymaking. (This is largely the subject of my book manuscript, under advanced contract with the University of Alabama Press.) That’s had a lasting legacy on governmental and military policy.

In addition, the country started to learn that the planet is not some gutter into which we can dump whatever we want without consequence. There are many examples, but one that has stuck out to me occurred in 1957 when testing showed that wheat samples from Minnesota contained much higher concentrations of radioactive strontium 90 fallout than expected or permitted. That raised questions about what nuclear tests were doing to the natural world and, by extension, human bodies. It hit home because policymakers realized that nuclear tests “over there” in the Pacific could affect people and environments “over here” in the United States. I won’t go so far as to say that a true environmentalist consciousness existed, but I think during this time period we see the beginnings of the shift away from the idea that the planet is some unbreakable, indefatigable sewer toward the idea that the planet is much more delicate and something in need of protection. Without that idea the Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Environmental Protection Agency—the bedrock of any modern governmental environmentalism that might exist—likely never would have come into being.

Q: What’s next for you, and with your research?

Neil Oatsvall: I’ve just taken a job as a history instructor at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, a residential high school for gifted 11th and 12th graders. The school is part of the University of Arkansas system and stresses an innovative curriculum based on interdisciplinary team teaching and concurrent university credit. The heavy teaching load means that researching in the near future will be more difficult, but I remain optimistic!

When I’m able, the next project will be an Envirotech examination of U.S. beer brewing. The Envirotech subfield of environmental history contends that environment and technology cannot be understood separately, and I think beer brewing is a great example of that. While brewing depends on natural entities and processes like grains, hops, and yeast-driven fermentation, humans attempt to dominate those beings and processes. To me, this ambivalent relationship between humans, technology, and the natural world says a lot about what it means to be a modern industrial human. It may seem like there’s a vast chasm between studying nuclear technologies and beer, but to me the projects have most of the same intellectual underpinnings.

A brief history of National Bike Month

The author (credit: Sue Lee, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

The author (credit: Sue Lee, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

I love National Bike Month. It’s spring, and all is right in the world.  Matching the spirit of the season, the many local events of bike month are exercises in light-hearted and cheerful consciousness-raising. They encourage people to ride their bicycles in ideal conditions.

But is there more to it than just a good time? In my research for Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, I chose to re-examine what some consider a toy and a plaything to find the more complex stories of urban, environmental, and policy history hidden below.  Can we do the same with National Bike Month?

Like many of our national holidays, National Bike Month is an invented tradition, created and modified for changing publicity, marketing, and educational purposes.  It’s part of a pattern of similar events, like Bike to Work Week and Bike to School Day. Some have come and gone, like the 1976 Bikecenntennial tour; others are brand new, like the National Bike Challenge organized by industry-supported People for Bikes.

While there was no national advocacy event in the first bike boom of the 1890s, activists and advertisers still knew that spring was when people wanted to ride. Ads in 1897 declared May “the best bicycle month of the year.” Lest Crescent Bicycles lose year-round sales, the advertisers reminded readers: “Every Month a Crescent Month.”

Advertisement, Harper’s magazine, 1897.

Advertisement, Harper’s magazine, 1897.

In the twentieth century, the postwar history of National Bike Month begins with the theme of safety. Local and state organizers promoted spring “Bicycle Safety Weeks” in the decades after WWII. Many such events were organized in April by elementary schools, police departments, and local chapters of the Optimist Club, a civic fraternal organization. Their intended audience was almost exclusively children.

The Bicycle Institute of America, the lobbying and promotional arm of American manufacturers, got involved in 1956. They designated the entire month of May as “American Bicycle Month,” and raised the event’s profile considerably. But the dominant theme was still safety, and the audience was still largely children: a Wilmington, North Carolina newspaper story citing the BIA assured concerned parents that “bicycling has the best vehicle safety record in the United States.”

April 15, 1956 story from the Palm Beach 'Post.'

April 15, 1956 story from the Palm Beach ‘Post.’

With the celebrated cardiologist Dr. Paul Dudley White as spokesperson by the early 1960s, the BIA began to include themes of infrastructure and adult health: “This day marks the beginning of American Bicycle Month, dedicated to expanding bicycle riding facilities in our Nation . . . that is, bicycle paths, trails, tracks, and better places to ride,” White said in an address read into the Congressional record.  “Let me say . . . that six decades ago when I was a boy, we cycled for convenience, economy, and fun, but not necessarily for fitness.”

By the 1970s and early ‘80s, the event was now National Bike Month, and the rhetoric had shifted to environmental and transportation goals.  For example, North Carolina’s Governor James Hunt “emphasized the bicycle’s role as a ‘valuable tool in saving energy resources and money’” in a 1981 declaration.[4]  The prime mover also changed from the industry-funded BIA to the newly resurgent (but still somewhat disorganized) membership organization the League of American Wheelmen.  Today, the renamed League of American Bicyclists promotes “the many reasons we ride,” and the language is explicitly inclusive: “Whether you bike to work or school; ride to save money or time . . . preserve your health or the environment; or simply to explore your community.”

2015 poster from the League of American Bicyclists.

2015 poster from the League of American Bicyclists.

Even this brief history shows significant change. In the 1950s, safety week events taught traffic rules to children, making it seem that adult cycling for recreation or transportation might be an aberration. New concerns about adult health and environmentalism were added in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but the BIA still continued the focus on children, the major market for American manufacturers. Today the League tries to build advocacy consensus by appealing to all riders: recreational or practical, child or adult.

These events changed according to the politics of the promoters and the concerns of their era. Really only one thing stayed the same: the season.  As the New York Times pointed out in 1957: “These are the days the bicyclist waits for, the warm days but not yet hot days, when clear skies and the burgeoning greenery welcomes people of all ages into the outdoors again.” Which reminds me, I have to go for a ride.

James Longhurst is associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and author of Citizen Environmentalists. His newest book, Bike Battles, is receiving national attention.

You can see Dr. Longhurst in our area next month:

When: Thursday, June 18, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Where: Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, WA

When: Sat, June 20, 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Where: Seattle Public Library-Central Library, Seattle, WA

People of the Press: Lorri Hagman

Lorri Hagman, executive editor, acquisitions

Long before books become books at the Press, they have to be found.

That’s where Lorri Hagman comes in.

Much of her job involves patiently hunting for authors and their research, reading their manuscripts, going to conferences and generally keeping the academic pulse of fields as wide-ranging as history, art, anthropology, and literature.

As an acquiring editor, careful cultivation of relationships with both up-and-coming and established scholars pays off in the development of innovative, boundary-pushing book projects that are sometimes “way out in the future,” she says. She also works with authors who are in the midst of preparing manuscripts for submission to the Press, guiding them through the rigorous academic-review process, and helping them implement preliminary edits and other changes.

But with her future-focused mission, she faces an old tension found at all academic presses: finding books that will sell while also developing the best academic books on any given topic.

Hagman is no stranger to this challenge.

As a graduate student in the Institute for Comparative and Foreign Area Studies program, which would evolve into the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, and the Asian Languages and Literature Department, Hagman was studying traditional Chinese fiction when she got her first start in the field of academic publishing.

It was 1977, and she was also a student assistant at the Press. Soon, she was offered a position as a promotion assistant. Through the 1980s and early 1990s, Hagman worked for the marketing team part-time as the Press’ publicity manager. In 1994, she moved to the editorial side of the house.

“I had always been more interested in the editorial side, and while I was working half-time . . . had started doing freelance editing for other presses,” she says. These included Princeton University Press, the Princeton Art Museum, The Feminist Press, Oklahoma University Press, and the University of Idaho Press. She specialized in books on China. These required familiarity with Chinese, still a rare skill among U.S. book publishers and their editors.

When her children were young, working at the Press part-time and freelance editing helped her master copy editing and make some supplementary income, honing her skills in the process.

“This was in the days of green-pencil-on-paper copyediting,” she says. “I also did a few indexes on file cards in shoe boxes—Word hadn’t been invented yet—to see how it was done.”

In the 1980s, the Press didn’t have much turnover in its editorial staff—editors tended to stay on for long careers. But the Press’ director at the time, Don Ellegood, and Pat Soden, the marketing manager, thought Hagman would be a great fit for the editorial department. Hagman “was happy to migrate,” she says, and eventually increased to a full-time position.

Along the way, she’s seen the Press go through several major changes in location and personnel, as well as an increasingly trade-driven, profit-based model. With new pressures and competition, however, the role of an acquiring editor for an academic press remains pivotal, she says.

In “Monographs Adrift,” a 2010 essay reflecting on the changing academic-book marketplace, Hagman articulated some of the challenges involved in that delicate balancing act:

If monograph publication is to survive, academic tenure and promotion practices must be realigned with real-world business models, recognizing that publication isn’t free, or an end in itself. The academy—meaning academic authors themselves, along with department chairs, deans, and administrators who set policy—must either align publication practices with the marketplace or devise methods of routinely subsidizing publication in the way that other educational processes are supported. Publication should be reserved for content and formats that require distribution beyond a small circle of experts.

Ultimately, she says, “the long-range idea is that good books will bring in more good books.” Among these “good books” that she’s been most proud of recently are:

Claudia Brown’s Great Qing: Painting in China, 1644-1911, which is, she says, “the first comprehensive treatment of painting in China’s last dynasty.”

Michael Nylan and Griet Vankeerberghen’s Chang’an 26 BCE: An Augustan Age in China. Nylan and Vankeerberghen are the editors of the “first book-length study in a Western language of the ancient city of Chang’an, the capital of the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE-9 CE), which equaled Rome and Alexandria in achievements and influence.”

These are major contributions to China studies, she says.

But long before they went through the other parts of the Press, they were cultivated by her and the other acquisition editors. She reads them in hard copy or on her iPad, on the bus or plane, the latter on the way to conferences as part of her search for new authors. Hagman and her colleagues in the acquisitions department are, in many ways, the eyes and ears of the Press, thinking about what and who it’ll publish next.

Ultimately, she says, “my favorite parts of the job are reading the manuscripts and working with authors.”

Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement

Stars for FreedomEmilie Raymond’s Stars for Freedom turns our understanding of the civil rights movement on its head. Though popular narratives emphasize the movement’s grassroots origins, it’s equally important not to overlook the role that a handful of African American celebrities played in not only helping to fund the movement, but also in serving as ambassadors, liaisons, cheerleaders, and even foot soldiers for the  cause.

I’ve chosen to highlight this particular section from Emilie’s book because it covers a period exactly fifty years ago from this summer—a time that still resonates loudly with current events. Fifty years ago, the Voting Rights Act was passed; recently, however, the Supreme Court invalidated key parts of it. Similarly, exactly a half century ago this summer, rioting broke out in the Watts district of Los Angeles over police treatment of a black man; today, we see similar incidents in Ferguson and Baltimore as well as widespread outrage through the #BlackLivesMatter social movement.

Along with these similarities, what also stands out to me about the excerpt is Emilie’s ability to simultaneously view the movement from multiple levels:  we see comedian Dick Gregory on the streets of Watts risking life and limb with protesters; we see Harry Belafonte hustling behind the scenes writing letters and organizing last-minute benefits; and we see the grassroots Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) grappling with whether it had sold out by collaborating with glamorous celebrities. 

The result is an excerpt that, I think, demonstrates how deftly Emilie blends civil rights and entertainment histories—and it provides just a small glimpse of the exciting book she has written. I hope you enjoy reading this piece as much as I enjoyed working with Emilie on this amazing book!

Ranjit Arab, senior acquisitions editor, UW Press

On August 6, 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, and Dick Gregory commemorated the event at the Sumter County Courthouse lawn in Americus, Georgia, with a group of avid African American registrants. Surrounded by a cordon of white state troopers in white helmets who were dispatched to protect them, Gregory observed, “When everybody gets to voting, we are going to get us some black faces under those white helmets. And it ain’t going to be from no suntan neither.” He foretold of the dramatic effect voting rights would have on the daily lives of African Americans.

Only one week later, the comedian rushed to the Watts district in Los Angeles, where a race riot was threatening to destroy the city. Sparked by the arrest of a young black man for drunk driving, the altercation had grown into a widespread armed confrontation with the Los Angeles police and the National Guard. Wanting “to help in any way I could,” Gregory drove into the riot area near a housing project and was shocked by the “stark and horrible expression of raw violence.” He started to walk between law enforcement and the rioters when “the bullets started to fly.” When he was shot in the leg, Gregory rushed into the street, yelling “Alright goddamn, it. You shot me, now go home!” With a burning wound, Gregory was in disbelief that “after all the times I’d been arrested by red neck deputies in the past four years, here I was shot by a black man in California.” He charged forth, believing “somebody had to stop it.” On that street corner at least, the rioters retreated. Across town, Belafonte, already booked at the Greek Theater, continued to perform nightly when most other public venues were closed. Admittedly “apprehensive” about potential problems in an audience of five thousand, he also saw it “as a challenge” to show a capacity for unity in such dreadful circumstances. Belafonte even brought in youngsters from Watts to give them safe haven. The riot lasted six days and resulted in thirty-four deaths and $40 million in property damage. August 1965 foretold of the movement’s impending “crisis of victory” and of the stars’ varying roles in its progression.

Harry Belafonte, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sammy Davis, Jr. at the “Broadway Answers Selma” benefit show at the Majestic Theatre.

Harry Belafonte, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sammy Davis, Jr. at the “Broadway Answers Selma” benefit show at the Majestic Theatre.

For the time being, however, the leading civil rights organizations optimistically planned their futures, and celebrities were instrumental in their efforts. In March 1965, the New York [FOS Friends of SNCC] office held a workshop emphasizing their new fund-raiser of choice: the house party. Although such events were admittedly “small, exclusive receptions,” the group still called their efforts “a grassroots public relations program.” They instructed workshop attendees to ask themselves “Is the money there?” before planning a party. “Regardless of their goodwill, a constituency must be people of means or the funds realized will be commensurately small,” the literature explained. The program emphasized cultivating “prominent” and “wealthy” individuals, as well as members of the media, and highlighted obtaining artists for the parties. Another development from the conference included the creation of a contact information sheet (with addresses and phone numbers) for the artists willing to sponsor SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] events. This long-awaited list could be distributed among the FOS groups and made for more streamlined planning. It also reflected the importance of Selma to bringing more celebrities into the movement on a more permanent basis. The list included the regulars from the 1964 house parties, as well as those individuals, such as Tony Bennett and Shelley Winters, who had marched in Selma, and those, such as Alan Arkin and Eli Wallach, who had participated in Davis’s Broadway benefit. FOS groups went on to hold an unprecedented number of star-studded house parties in the coming months.

The successful house parties led to benefit concerts devoted to SNCC alone. With the help of Julie Belafonte and Diahann Carroll, the New York FOS organized an elegant black-tie dinner and dance at the New York Hilton Grand Ballroom on April 25, 1965, to benefit freedom schools and voter registration drives in the South. The program featured Harry Belafonte, Brando, Carroll, Sammy Davis, Jr., Streisand, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGhee. Tickets cost $100 per person, and a number of celebrities and wealthy New Yorkers sponsored entire tables at $1,000 each. SNCC netted an estimated $80,000 from the event, and held a similar dinner, again hosted by Julie Belafonte and Carroll, the following year.

The organization also succeeded at having more parties in Los Angeles. Brando headlined one party at a Hollywood home in June 1965. Poitier cohosted a SNCC fund-raiser with Belafonte, Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory and Richard Burton, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, and Mike Nichols at a posh Beverly Hills discotheque in August. The event resembled a movie premiere. Such guests as the actors James Garner, Lauren Bacall, and Lee Marvin, and the filmmakers Stanley Kramer, Arthur Penn, and Robert Blumofe arrived wearing tuxedoes, long gowns, and lavish jewelry. The event was held only a few days after the Watts riot, and Poitier used it to plead for funds, arguing the disturbances were “only a symptom of the underlying social diseases eating away at the fabric of society.” The stars shouted their pledges, challenging one another until they reached $50,000. The party was written up in the New York Times for the “surprising number of Hollywood luminaries” willing to publicly support the “most radical and controversial of all the major civil rights organizations.”

Since the parties targeted only a select few, “for the balance of the community,” SNCC used “broadside direct mail appeals for money,” but it employed celebrities for this task as well. Belafonte penned a series of letters in the spring and summer of 1966, alerting recipients of the continued impoverished and terrorized conditions of the rural South and pleading for funds. Ultimately, the organization raised $637,736 in 1965, its highest income to date, and double what it had raised in 1963 before house parties and close collaboration with celebrities became routine.

Despite this impressive fund-raising record, SNCC did not always manage its celebrity supporters effectively. This largely stemmed from a lack of organization outside of the New York office. FOS groups failed to coordinate with the New York staff members, and wealthy supporters complained of being inundated with requests for parties and benefits. Betty Garman, a fund-raiser in the New York office, admitted, “I don’t know they are sending letters off and thus can’t explain that this is not the way to obtain talent for concerts, etc.” She expressed confidence only in the Bay Area (San Francisco), Boston, and New York groups as being “competent” to handle major events; Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington was “where smaller events could be planned.” A Philadelphia FOS volunteer, however, complained, “We cannot understand how it is that New York can easily have a dozen top stars where not one can be available for Philadelphia.” She reported that they had started plans for parties, “but on one condition. We must have top name stars like Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis, Jr., [opera star] Leontyne Rice, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston” or “big fund raising in Philly is a dead issue.” Meanwhile, a report on fund-raising at the Baltimore FOS office expressed disappointment that despite its proximity to Washington and its potential to obtain “big-name people,” the full-time staffer there “somehow . . . does not follow up.”

Moreover, SNCC bungled some lucrative opportunities. A celebrity billiard tournament to be chaired by James Garner, cochaired by Steve Allen, Milton Berle, and Sammy Davis, Jr., and held in Los Angeles in May 1966 had to be aborted within a week of the event due to disorganization and friction among the Los Angeles FOS activists. One embarrassed SNCC organizer admitted, “I feel very badly about this because I have had contact with all these stars in the past and as you can understand, it can leave a feeling of ill-will.” The event would have brought in a number Hollywood’s white stars, such as James Coburn and Dennis Hopper, and rising black entertainers such as Bill Cosby and Ivan Dixon, who were rather new to the movement, as well as many others who had done little civil rights work since the Prop 14 campaign. Fifty-seven celebrity participants had to be notified of the cancellation. SNCC likewise failed to follow through on a benefit concert with Frank Sinatra and benefit screenings of the short film Ivanhoe Donaldson (1964) about one of its own activists. The film’s distributor offered to screen previews in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, but after seeing little follow-through, complained about “the lack of any action at SNCC.” These lapses resulted largely from SNCC’s unusual makeup as an organization without a membership or a traditional hierarchical structure.

They also perhaps reflected a growing discomfort within SNCC about its connection to wealthy liberals. In a Northern staff meeting in 1965, several activists raised concerns that SNCC was becoming “elitist” due in part to its income stream. Indeed, after the fund-raiser in Beverly Hills, Belafonte acknowledged, “The irony of partying at a discotheque was not lost on anyone.” Stokely Carmichael became SNCC chair that same year. He was openly critical of nonviolence, and Belafonte felt Carmichael and his cohorts had begun to view him as “part of the establishment,” which in the 1960s was tantamount to treason. James Forman denied that guilt-ridden liberals constituted SNCC’s support. “I think they are sophisticated people who understand the importance of what we are doing,” he asserted. “These are people who have been red-baited, who pulled out of politics in the late ’40s, and have been waiting for a new generation of political activists.” He cited Belafonte as an example, saying, “Harry Belafonte, who is wealthy, is more radical than anyone in SNCC. He really understands the social forces involved.” Longtime activist Bob Zellner said, “Most SNCC folks were grateful for all political and financial help from whatever the source.” Betty Garman, another SNCC activist engaged in fund-raising, concurred, saying that the fund-raisers were “helping us to tap resources we could never reach ourselves because of who we are and how we work. On the other hand,” she continued, “there is some concern that the people who give wouldn’t give to us if they knew more about who we are and how we work.”

SNCC attempted to deal with these contradictions and critiques. Under pressure from New York FOS volunteers to hire a salaried professional fund-raiser, Forman repeatedly refused, saying “that would destroy the philosophy of the organization.” When those at the winter 1965 fund-raising conference continued to insist on such a position, Forman took on the responsibilities, but not a pay increase, himself. Meanwhile, Betty Garman encouraged FOS offices to reach out to “all sections of a community” in broader programs. She challenged the advice pushed at the fund-raising conference in terms of pursuing elite donors. Acknowledging that “house parties work,” she also insisted “they work on all levels of a community. Some people think of a house party as a way to raise BIG money—which means a fancy house and a star and expensive food and free drinks and NAME people. But there is no reason to feel,” she continued, “that a house party cannot be successful if it raises $50 or $100 or $200,” as long as SNCC held many such parties. Thus, SNCC could “involve people,” meaning a broad cross-section of average folks. Others in the organization expressed concern that if students wanted to begin direct action in the urban North, they could well find themselves in conflict with the very liberals that supported the Southern projects. This anxiety led SNCC activists to brainstorm how to reach more blacks in Northern ghettoes and in the South, and, ironically given SNCC’s suspicion of the NAACP, the black middle class. This debate would come to naught later in the decade due to radical policy changes within SNCC, but it foreshadowed a growing critique of liberal celebrity activism and its paradoxes.

New Books in Asian American Studies and Literature

graphic for AAS and lit post 4-22-15In honor of this week’s meeting of the Association of Asian American Studies, we present a roundup of some of the wonderful new Asian American studies and literature titles we’ve published in the past year.

If you’re headed to the conference, stop by our booth to check out these new books; meet UW Press Editor in Chief Larin McLaughlin and Senior Acquisitions Editor Ranjit Arab; and learn about new UW Press series such as Decolonizing Feminisms: Antiracist and Transnational Praxis.

Also, attention first-time authors! On Friday, April 24 from 4:45 to 6:16 p.m., Senior Editor Ranjit Arab will participate in the session titled, “Roundtable on the Nuts and Bolts of Publishing.” Join him and editors from other presses as they explain the steps of publishing your book with a university press and address frequent questions and concerns they hear from authors.

The Rising Tide of Color: Race, State Violence, and Radical Movements across the Pacific
Edited by Moon-Ho Jung

From labor and anticolonial activists around World War I and multiracial campaigns by anarchists and communists in the 1930s to the policing of race and sexuality after World War II and transpacific movements against the Vietnam War, The Rising Tide of Color brings to light histories of race, state violence, and radical movements that continue to shape our world in the twenty-first century.

“This brilliant volume is incisive, intellectually generative, and analytically rigorous. The Rising Tide of Color reframes our understanding of race and social movements by centering on the Pacific Coast.” –Diane Fujino, author of Samurai among Panthers: Richard Aoki on Race, Resistance, and a Paradoxical Life.

Cities of Others: Reimagining Urban Spaces in Asian American Literature
By Xiaojing Zhou

Drawing on critical theories on space from urban geography, ecocriticism, and postcolonial studies, Zhou shows how spatial organization shapes identity in the works of Sui Sin Far, Bienvenido Santos, Meena Alexander, Frank Chin, Chang-rae Lee, Karen Tei Yamashita, and others. She also shows how the everyday practices of Asian American communities challenge racial segregation, reshape urban spaces, and redefine the identity of the American city.

“Opens up a new area for discussion in Asian American writing and moves criticism on Asian American literature into a dialogue with the issues germane to contemporary American fiction in general.” –Rocio G. Davis, author of Relative Histories: Mediating History in Asian American Family Memoirs

New in our Classics of Asian American Literature Series:

No-No Boy
By John Okada
Foreword by Ruth Ozeki

The first edition of No-No Boy since 1979 presents this important work to new generations of readers. “No-No Boy has the honor of being the very first Japanese American novel,” writes novelist Ruth Ozeki in her new foreword to John Okada’s classic of Asian American literature. First published in 1956, No-No Boy was virtually ignored by a public eager to put World War II and the Japanese internment behind them. It was not until the mid-1970s that a new generation of Japanese American writers and scholars recognized the novel’s importance and popularized it as one of literature’s most powerful testaments to the Asian American experience.

Yokohama, California
By Toshio Mori
Introduction to the 2015 edition by Xiaojing Zhou
Introductions by William Saroyan and Lawson Fusao Inada

Yokohama, California, originally released in 1949, is the first published collection of short stories by a Japanese American. Set in a fictional community on the West Coast, these linked stories are alive with the people, gossip, humor, and legends of Japanese America in the 1930s and 1940s.

“Mori’s superbly structured short stories are . . . tender, evocative episodes of growing up as a Japanese American prior to World War II.” –San Francisco Chronicle

Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese American Family
By Yoshiko Uchida
Introduction by Traise Yamamoto

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, everything changed for Yoshiko Uchida. Desert Exile is her autobiographical account of life before and during World War II. The book does more than relate the day-to-day experience of living in stalls at the Tanforan Racetrack, the assembly center just south of San Francisco, and in the Topaz, Utah, internment camp. It tells the story of the courage and strength displayed by those who were interned.

“In Desert Exile the happy life of a Japanese American family before [being removed to a] concentration camp makes their surrealist nightmare experience after December 7, 1941, all the more inexplicable and horrifying.” –San Francisco Review of Books

Awards round-up: UW Press books honored

We’re excited to announce that several UW Books have recently garnered awards, have been longlisted, or named as finalists. Two in particular have received recognition for their contributions to both scholarly and general-reader understandings of Pacific Northwest architecture and Western environmental history:

Shaping Seattle Architecture

Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects, Second Edition
Edited by Jeffrey Karl Ochsner

Shaping Seattle Architecture has been honored as this year’s Architectural Heritage Publication by Historic Seattle, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the city’s urban heritage. The 7th Annual Preservation Awards will be held on May 12 and tickets are available online.

Now in its second edition, Shaping Seattle Architecture showcases the work of those who were instrumental in creating our region’s built environment, situating developments in Seattle building design within local and global contexts. Four individuals newly included in the second edition include Edwin J. Ivey, a leading residential designer; Fred Bassetti, an important contributor to Northwest regional modernism; L. Jane Hastings, one of the region’s foremost women in architecture; and Richard Haag, founder of the landscape architecture program at the University of Washington and designer of Gas Works Park and the Bloedel Reserve.

VacationlandVacationland: Tourism and Environment in the Colorado High Country
By William Philpott

Vacationland won the International Ski History Association’s Skade Award, which honors an outstanding work on regional ski history or an outstanding book focused in part on ski history. Vacationland was also the winner of the Western Writers of America 2014 Spur Award for best contemporary Western nonfiction.

Philpott shows how the Colorado high country was dramatically transformed into a national vacation destination in the decades following World War Two. This brought a new kind of environmental politics as tourists demanded protection for the aesthetic and recreational qualities that promoters had billed. Those demands energized the American environmental movement–but also created blind spots that still plague Colorado today.

Two other UW Press books have been longlisted for the prestigious International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) award:

TeaPuer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic
By Jinghong Zhang

Longlisted in the social sciences category, Puer Tea tells the story of how the ancient leaf’s noble lineage and unique process of aging and fermentation was rediscovered in the 1990s, helping it achieve cult status both in China and internationally. The tea became a favorite among urban connoisseurs who analyzed it in language comparable to that used in wine appreciation and paid skyrocketing prices.

In 2007, however, local events and the international economic crisis caused the Puer market to collapse. Anthropologist Jinghong Zhang traces the rise, climax, and crash of this phenomenon. With ethnographic attention to the spaces in which Puer tea is harvested, processed, traded, and consumed, she constructs a vivid account of the transformation of a cottage handicraft into a major industry–with predictable risks and unexpected consequences.

Bodies in the BalanceBodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine
Edited by Theresia Hofer

Longlisted in the humanities category, Bodies in Balance is the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the triangular relationship among the Tibetan art and science of healing (Sowa Rigpa), Buddhism, and arts and crafts. This book is dedicated to the history, theory, and practice of Tibetan medicine, a unique and complex system of understanding body and mind, treating illness, and fostering health and well-being.

Developed within the context of Buddhism, Tibetan medicine was adapted over centuries to different health needs and climates across the region encompassing the Tibetan Plateau, the Himalayas, and Mongolia. Generously illustrated with more than 200 images, Bodies in Balance includes essays on contemporary practice, pharmacology and compounding medicines, astrology and divination, history and foundational treatises. The volume brings to life the theory and practice of this ancient healing art.

Finally, we’re excited to also announce that two additional books have been named as finalists for awards:

BurbsWilderburbs: Communities on Nature’s Edge
By Lincoln Bramwell

A finalist for the Western Writers of America 2015 Spur Award in contemporary Nonfiction, Wilderburbs explores how roads, houses, and water development transformed the Western rural landscape. Bramwell introduces readers to developers, homeowners, and government regulators, all of whom have faced unexpected environmental problems in designing and building wilderburb communities, including unpredictable water supplies, threats from wildfires, and encounters with wildlife.

By looking at wilderburbs in the West, especially in Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, Bramwell uncovers the profound environmental consequences of Americans’ desire to live in the wilderness.

MCAGREGreat Bear Wild: Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest
By Ian McAllister

A finalist for the BC Book Prize/Roderick Haig-Brown Regional PrizeGreat Bear Wild is a journey from the headwaters of the Great Bear Rainforest’s unexplored river valleys to where the ocean meets the rainforest and, finally, to the hidden depths of the offshore world.

Rich with full-color photographs of the wolves, whales, and other creatures who make the rainforest their home, Great Bear Wild is a stunning celebration of this legendary place. Ian McAllister is a cofounder of the wildlife conservation organization Pacific Wild and the award-winning photographer and author of  The Last Wild Wolves. Time magazine named him one of the “Leaders of the 21st Century.”