The Brown Decision, Jim Crow, and Southern Identity / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 28%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $10.40
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 64%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $10.40   
  • New (1) from $69.96   
  • Used (6) from $10.40   


The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling was a watershed event in the fight against racial segregation in the United States. The recent fiftieth anniversary of Brown prompted a surge of tributes: books, television and radio specials, conferences, and speeches. At the same time, says James C. Cobb, it revealed a growing trend of dismissiveness and negativity toward Brown and other accomplishments of the civil rights movement. Writing as both a lauded historian and a white southerner from the last generation to grow up under southern apartheid, Cobb responds to what he sees as distortions of Brown’s legacy and their implied disservice to those whom it inspired and empowered.

Cobb begins by looking at how our historical understanding of segregation has evolved since the Brown decision. In particular, he targets the tenacious misconception that racial discrimination was at odds with economic modernization—and so would have faded out, on its own, under market pressures. He then looks at the argument that Brown energized white resistance more than it fomented civil rights progress. This position overstates the pace and extent of racial change in the South prior to Brown, Cobb says, while it understates Brown’s role in catalyzing and legitimizing subsequent black protest.

Finally, Cobb suggests that the Brown decree and the civil rights movement accomplished not only more than certain critics have acknowledged but also more than the hard statistics of black progress can reveal. The destruction of Jim Crow, with its “denial of belonging,” allowed African Americans to embrace their identity as southerners in ways that freed them to explore links between their southernness and their blackness. This is an important and timely reminder of “what the Brown court and the activists who took the spirit of its ruling into the streets were up against, both historically and contemporaneously.”

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An erudite and eminently readable corrective to academia's trendy fad of being 'down on Brown.' Professor Cobb's bracing analysis is impressively persuasive."—David J. Garrow, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Bearing the Cross

"Should be read by all who study the Civil Rights movement and the twentieth century South. The perspectives that Cobb advances in these essays are sure to stimulate renewed inquiry into our assumptions about the South and the role of race in crafting its history and heritage."—Arkansas Review

"Cobb's ornery but learned Lamar lectures compose a powerful assertion of the centrality of the Brown decision to the South's racial progress in the twentieth century. Those who have said otherwise get taken to the woodshed in this lively little book."—Robert J. Norrell, author of The House I Live In: Race in the American Century

"An extremely useful model of interdisciplinary legal history."—Law and History Review

"[A] provocative book that promises not only to recast historical debate over Brown, but also to encourage a broader understanding of southern identity. . . . Cobb’s lectures are wonderfully concise and readable. . . . Even the ‘naysayers’ would concede Cobb’s point that despite our inability to live up to the moral implications of the decision, Brown remains a catalytic event that deserves its central place in the history of twentieth-century America"—North Carolina Historical Review

"A useful tonic for those who have grown tired of the down on Brown crowd of historians and other academics whose chorus of despair amounts to a din of negativity. . . . Responds to the criticism over Brown with insight, cleverness, and powerful historical argument . . . For anyone interested in southern historiography, this book offers a look at the thoughts of a leading practitioner and his take on the major themes of southern history. . . . This book is a good brief look at the issue of southern identity, where it came from and where it is headed. . . . Highly recommended, and will certainly leave the reader wanting to explore the subject even more."—H-Net

Law and History Review
... an extremely useful model of interdisciplinary legal history.
—Imani Perry
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820324982
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 10/24/2005
  • Series: Mercer University Lamar Memorial Lectures, #48
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 102
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

James C. Cobb is the B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Georgia. His numerous publications include Georgia Odyssey; Redefining Southern Culture: Mind and Identity in the Modern South; and The Brown Decision, Jim Crow, and Southern Identity (all Georgia), as well as The South and America since World War II; Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity; The Selling of the South: The Southern Crusade for Industrial Development, 1936-1990; and The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)