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Publication Date: Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001
This book weaves an account of the past half-century based on the life histories of thirty-nine people who have placed antiracist activism at the center of their lives. Thompson shows the ways, both public and personal, in which whites have opposed racism during several social movements: the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, multiracial feminism, the Central American peace movement, the struggle for antiracist education, and activism against the prison industry. This book demonstrates the contributions and limitations of white antiracism in key social justice movements.
Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s by Henry Hampton; Steve Fayer; Harold Frazer
Publication Date: New York: Bantam, 1989. This book has been reprinted several times.
In this monumental volume, Henry Hampton, creator and executive producer of the acclaimed PBS series Eyes on the Prize, and Steve Fayer, series writer, draw upon nearly one thousand interviews with civil rights activists, politicians, reporters, Justice Department officials, and hundreds of ordinary people who took part in the struggle, weaving a fascinating narrative of the civil rights movement told by the people who lived it. Join brave and terrified youngsters walking through a jeering mob and up the steps of Central High School in Little Rock. Listen to the vivid voices of the ordinary people who manned the barricades, the laborers, the students, the housewives without whom there would have been no civil rights movements at all. This oral history brings to life the country's great struggle for civil rights as no conventional narrative can.
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963 by Taylor Branch
Call Number: Essential Read
Publication Date: New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988
In volume one of his America in the King Years, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a masterly account of the American civil rights movement. Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, Parting the Waters is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War. Taylor Branch provides an unsurpassed portrait of King's rise to greatness and illuminates the stunning courage and private conflict, the deals, maneuvers, betrayals, and rivalries that determined history behind closed doors, at boycotts and sit-ins, on bloody freedom rides, and through siege and murder.
Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65 by Taylor Branch
Publication Date: New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998
Volume two of a three volume history of the American civil rights movement, America in the King Years. Pillar of Fire takes the reader from the assassination of President Kennedy and describes Martin Luther King's struggle to hold his movement together in the face of factionalism and violence.
At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 by Taylor Branch
Publication Date: New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006
In the third volume of his comprehensive history, Taylor Branch's At Canaan's Edge chronicles dramatic campaigns in Mississippi and Alabama, Martin Luther King's tormented alliance with Lyndon Johnson, his painful break with Stokey Carmichael over black power, and persecution by Hoover's FBI. This book brings the decades of the Civil Rights struggle alive and preserves the integrity of those who marched and died.
Origins of the Civil Rights Movements: Black Communities Organizing for Change by Aldon D. Morris
Publication Date: New York: Free Press, 1984
On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Mrs. Rosa Parks, weary after a long day at work, refused to give up her bus seat to a white man...and ignited the explosion that was the civil rights movement in America. In this powerful saga, Morris tells the complete story behind the ten years that transformed America, tracing the essential role of the black community organizations that was the real power behind the civil rights movement. Drawing on interviews with more than fifty key leaders, original documents, and other moving firsthand material, he brings to life the people behind the scenes who led the fight to end segregation, providing a critical new understanding of the dynamics of social change.
At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance - a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle L. McGuire
Publication Date: New York: Knopf, 2010
In this groundbreaking and important book, Danielle McGuire writes about the rape in 1944 of a twenty-four-year-old mother and sharecropper, Recy Taylor, who strolled toward home after an evening of singing and praying at the Rock Hill Holiness Church in Abbeville, Alabama. Seven white men, armed with knives and shotguns, ordered the young woman into their green Chevrolet, raped her, and left her for dead. The president of the local NAACP branch office sent his best investigator and organizer to Abbeville. Her name was Rosa Parks. In taking on this case, Parks launched a movement that ultimately changed the world. The Montgomery bus boycott was the baptism, not the birth, of that struggle. At the Dark End of the Street describes the decades of degradation black women on the Montgomery city buses endured on their way to cook and clean for their white bosses. It reveals how Rosa Parks, by 1955, one of the most radical activists in Alabama, had had enough. "There had to be a stopping place" she said, "and this seemed to be the place for me to stop being pushed around." Parks refused to move from her seat on the bus, was arrested, and, with fierce activist Jo Ann Robinson, organized a one-day bus boycott. The protest, intended to last twenty-four hours, became a yearlong struggle for dignity and justice. It broke the back of the Montgomery city bus lines and bankrupted the company. We see how and why Rosa Parks, instead of becoming a leader of the movement she helped to start, was turned into a symbol of virtuous black womanhood, sainted and celebrated for her quiet dignity, prim demeanor, and middle-class propriety; her radicalism all but erased. And we see as well how thousands of black women whose courage and fortitude helped to transform America were reduced to the footnotes of history.
Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement by Lynne Olson
Publication Date: New York: Scribner, 2001
The first comprehensive history of the role of women in the civil rights movement, Freedom's Daughters fills a startling gap in both the literature of civil rights and of women's history. Lynne Olson offers a remarkable corrective to the standard history as she tells the long overlooked story of the extraordinary women, both black and white, who were among the most fearless, resourceful, and tenacious leaders of the civil rights movement. From the abolitionist and suffragist movements to women's liberation, Olson proves that the political activity of women has been the thread connecting the big reform movements from the 1830s to 1970. Into this context, then, she introduces portraits and cameos of more than sixty women -- many until now forgotten and some never before written about -- from the key figures (Pauli Murray, Ida Wells, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella Baker, and Septima Clark, among others) whose activism spanned several different movements and decades to some of the smaller players who represent the hundreds and hundreds of women who each came forth to do her own small part and who together ultimately formed the mass movements that made the difference.
Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement by Constance Curry; Sue Thrasher; Joan C. Browning; Dorothy Dawson Burlage; Emmie Schrader Adams; Elaine DeLott Baker; Sandra Cason; Theresa Del Pozzo; Penelope Patch
Publication Date: Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000
Deep in Our Hearts is an eloquent and powerful book that takes us into the lives of nine young women who came of age in the 1960s while committing themselves actively and passionately to the struggle for racial equality and justice. These compelling first-person accounts take us back to one of the most tumultuous periods in our nation's history--to the early days of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Albany Freedom Ride, voter registration drives and lunch counter sit-ins, Freedom Summer, the 1964 Democratic Convention, and the rise of Black Power and the women's movement. The book delves into the hearts of the women to ask searching questions. Why did they, of all the white women growing up in their hometowns, cross the color line in the days of segregation and join the Southern Freedom Movement? What did they see, do, think, and feel in those uncertain but hopeful days? And how did their experiences shape the rest of their lives?
Unlikely Dissenters: White Southern Women in the Fight for Racial Justice, 1920-1970 by Anne Stefani
Publication Date: Gainesville : University Press of Florida, 2015
Between 1920 and 1970, a small but significant number of white women confronted the segregationist system in the American South, ultimately contributing to its demise. For many of these reformers, the struggle for African American civil rights was akin to their own complex process of personal emancipation from gender norms. As part of the white community, they wrestled with guilt as members of the "oppressor" group. Yet as women in a patriarchal society, they were also "victims." This paradoxical double identity enabled them to develop a special brand of activism that combatted white supremacy while emancipating them from white patriarchy. Using the 1954 Brown decision as a pivot, Anne Stefani examines and compares two generations of white women who spoke out against Jim Crow while remaining deeply attached to their native South. She demonstrates how their unique grassroots community-oriented activism functioned within--and even used to its advantage--southern standards of respectability.
My Soul Is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South by Howell Raines
Publication Date: New York: Putnam, 1977
The almost unfathomable courage and the undying faith that propelled the Civil Rights Movement are brilliantly captured in these moving personal recollections. Here are the voices of leaders and followers, of ordinary people who became extraordinary in the face of turmoil and violence. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956 to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968, these are the people who fought the epic battle: Rosa Parks, Andrew Young, Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, Fannie Lou Hamer, and others, both black and white, who participated in sit-ins, Freedom Rides, voter drives, and campaigns for school and university integration. Here, too, are voices from the "Down-Home Resistance" that supported George Wallace, Bull Connor, and the "traditions" of the Old South--voices that conjure up the frightening terrain on which the battle was fought. My Soul is Rested is a powerful document of social and political history, as well as a magnificent tribute to those who made history happen.
I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle; with a new preface. by Charles M. Payne
Publication Date: Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. Originally published 1995.
This important work offers a groundbreaking history of the early civil rights movement in the South with new material that situates the book in the context of subsequent movement literature.
Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement by Hasan Kwame Jeffries (Editor)
Publication Date: Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2019
The civil rights movement transformed the United States in such fundamental ways that exploring it in the classroom can pose real challenges for instructors and students alike. Speaking to the critical pedagogical need to teach civil rights history accurately and effectively, this volume goes beyond the usual focus on iconic leaders of the 1950s and 1960s to examine the broadly configured origins, evolution, and outcomes of African Americans' struggle for freedom. Essays provide strategies for teaching famous and forgotten civil rights people and places, suggestions for using music and movies, frameworks for teaching self-defense and activism outside the South, a curriculum guide for examining the Black Panther Party, and more. Books in the popular Harvey Goldberg Series provide high school and introductory college-level instructors with ample resources and strategies for better engaging students in critical, thought-provoking topics. By allowing for the implementation of a more nuanced curriculum, this is history instruction at its best. Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement will transform how the United States civil rights movement is taught.
Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault
Publication Date: New York: Oxford University Press, 2006
Here is a detailed and definitive account of the Freedom Rides, one of the most compelling chapters in the history of civil rights. In 1961, emboldened by federal rulings that declared segregated transit unconstitutional, a group of volunteers--blacks and whites--traveled together from Washington DC through the Deep South, defying Jim Crow laws in buses and terminals, putting their bodies and their lives on the line for racial justice. The book paints a harrowing account of the outpouring of hatred and violence that greeted the Freedom Riders in Alabama and Mississippi. Arsenault brings the key actors in this historical drama vividly to life, with colorful portraits of the Kennedys, Jim Farmer, John Lewis, Diane Nash, Fred Shuttlesworth, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Their courage, their fears, and the agonizing choices made by all these individuals run through the story like an electric current. In the course of six months, some four hundred and fifty Riders expanded the realm of the possible in American politics, redefining the limits of dissent and setting the stage in the years to come for the 1963 Birmingham demonstrations, Freedom Summer and the Selma-to-Montgomery March.
Martin and Malcolm and America: A Dream or a Nightmare, 20th anniv. ed. by James H. Cone
Call Number: Original ed., 1991
Publication Date: Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012
James Cone cuts through the superficial assessments of King and Malcolm as polar opposites to reveal two men whose visions were complementary and moving towards convergence. Written by the "founder" and leading advocate of black liberation theology, it is a penetrating analysis of the two most important leaders of the civil rights era.
Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy by Mary L. Dudziak
Publication Date: Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000
Mary Dudziak interprets postwar civil rights as a Cold War feature. She argues that the Cold War helped facilitate key social reforms, including desegregation. Civil rights activists gained tremendous advantage as the government sought to polish its international image. But improving the nation's reputation did not always require real change. This focus on image rather than substance--combined with constraints on McCarthy-era political activism and the triumph of law-and-order rhetoric--limited the nature and extent of progress. Archival information, much of it newly available, supports Dudziak's argument that civil rights was Cold War policy. But the story is also one of people: an African-American veteran of World War II lynched in Georgia; an attorney general flooded by civil rights petitions from abroad; the teenagers who desegregated Little Rock's Central High; African diplomats denied restaurant service; black artists living in Europe and supporting the civil rights movement from overseas; conservative politicians viewing desegregation as a communist plot; and civil rights leaders who saw their struggle eclipsed by Vietnam.
Fog of War: The Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement by Ed. by Kevin M. Kruse and Stephen Tuck
Publication Date: New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
It is well known that World War II gave rise to human rights rhetoric, discredited a racist regime abroad, and provided new opportunities for African Americans to fight, work, and demand equality at home. It would be all too easy to assume that the war was a key stepping stone to the modern civil rights movement. But Fog of War shows that in reality the momentum for civil rights was not so clear cut, with activists facing setbacks as well as successes and their opponents finding ways to establish more rigid defenses for segregation. While the war set the scene for a mass movement, it also narrowed some of the options for black activists. This collection is a timely reconsideration of the intersection between two of the dominant events of twentieth-century American history.
Fighting for Democracy: Black Veterans and the Struggle Against White Supremacy in the Postwar South by Christopher S. Parker
Publication Date: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009
Fighting for Democracy shows how the experiences of African American soldiers during World War II and the Korean War influenced many of them to challenge white supremacy in the South when they returned home. Focusing on the motivations of individual black veterans, this groundbreaking book explores the relationship between military service and political activism. Christopher Parker draws on unique sources of evidence, including interviews and survey data, to illustrate how and why black servicemen who fought for their country in wartime returned to America prepared to fight for their own equality. Just as they had risked their lives to protect democratic rights while abroad, they risked their lives to demand those same rights on the domestic front.