Storefront Revolutionary: Martin Sostre's Afro-Asian Bookshop, Black Liberation Culture, and the New Left, 1964-1975

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It was as a “political prisoner”–the owner of a radical bookshop and forum for revolutionary debate in Buffalo, New York, who was framed by the police and thrown into jail—that Martin Sostre attained national recognition in the 1960s. At the time, his name appeared alongside the likes of Huey P. Newton but, in the years since, his reputation has somewhat declined. Yet, he has much to tell historians about this turbulent age: as a jailhouse lawyer for the Nation of Islam in his youth, during his first term in prison, as a Black Power activist in Buffalo, or, later, as a campaigner for prisoners’ rights, and as a community activist in the 1980s-90s, his career traversed a crucial period in American history. This article reconstructs Sostre’s career, illuminating the making of radical culture in the 1960s, the connections between older and newer phases of struggle and between prison and ghetto.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
JournalThe Sixties
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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