Free Joan Little
The Politics of Race, Sexual Violence, and Imprisonment
By Christina Greene
362 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 22 halftones, 1 map, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7131-4
Published: November 2022
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7130-7
Published: November 2022
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-7132-1
Published: October 2022
Justice, Power, and Politics
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Awards & distinctions
Finalist, 2023 Association for the Study of African American Life and History Book Prize
Through the prism of Little's rape-murder trial and the Free Joan Little campaign, Christina Greene explores the intersecting histories of African American women, mass incarceration, sexual violence, and social movements of the 1970s and 1980s. Greene argues that Little's circumstances prior to her arrest, assault, and trial were shaped by unprecedented increases in federal financing of local law enforcement and a decades-long criminalization of Blackness. She also reveals tensions among Little's defenders and recovers Black women's intersectional politics of the period, which linked women's prison protest and antirape activism with broader struggles for economic and political justice.
About the Author
Christina Greene is professor of African American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of Our Separate Ways: Women and the Black Freedom Movement in Durham, North Carolina.
For more information about Christina Greene, visit the Author Page.
"This is a hugely important book by a veteran historian of civil rights and women's activism. It is never easy to highlight and seriously engage with the voices and ideas of the most marginalized among us—and certainly incarcerated women of color fit that rubric. Greene does it here with insight, grace, and love. And it is extremely moving to read."—Annelise Orleck, author of Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900–1965
“Joan Little’s self-defense case unfolded at the epicenter of the histories of women’s rights, the criminal legal system, and Black liberation struggles. Christina Greene’s painstaking research reveals how Joan Little and Black women like her have triumphed against unspeakable violence, punitive laws, and incarceration in order to create a more just world. This book is a triumph.”—Ashley D. Farmer, author of Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era