But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle

Overview

Birmingham served as the stage for some of the most dramatic and important moments in the history of the civil rights struggle. In this vivid narrative account, Glenn Eskew traces the evolution of nonviolent protest in the city, focusing particularly on the sometimes problematic intersection of the local and national movements.

Eskew describes the changing face of Birmingham's civil rights campaign, from the politics of accommodation practiced by the city's black bourgeoisie in ...

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But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle

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Overview

Birmingham served as the stage for some of the most dramatic and important moments in the history of the civil rights struggle. In this vivid narrative account, Glenn Eskew traces the evolution of nonviolent protest in the city, focusing particularly on the sometimes problematic intersection of the local and national movements.

Eskew describes the changing face of Birmingham's civil rights campaign, from the politics of accommodation practiced by the city's black bourgeoisie in the 1950s to local pastor Fred L. Shuttlesworth's groundbreaking use of nonviolent direct action to challenge segregation during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1963, the national movement, in the person of Martin Luther King Jr., turned to Birmingham. The national uproar that followed on Police Commissioner Bull Connor's use of dogs and fire hoses against the demonstrators provided the impetus behind passage of the watershed Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Paradoxically, though, the larger victory won in the streets of Birmingham did little for many of the city's black citizens, argues Eskew. The cancellation of protest marches before any clear-cut gains had been made left Shuttlesworth feeling betrayed even as King claimed a personal victory. While African Americans were admitted to the leadership of the city, the way power was exercised—and for whom—remained fundamentally unchanged.

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Editorial Reviews

Russell Baker
Glenn T. Eskew's "But for Birmingham" differs about Birmingham. His is a valuable academic study of Birmingham society, economics, and politics, and...provides a more complex view of the city in 1963 than we are accustomed to. -- Russell Baker, The New York Review of Books
From the Publisher
A sophisticated and engaging piece of scholarship, But for Birmingham ranks alongside the best of a new wave of histories.

American Studies

An excellent (and prize-winning) book analyzing the civil rights struggle in Birmingham during the 1950s and 1960s.

American Historical Review

[A] trenchant account of the Birmingham civil rights movement.

Journal of American History

A balanced and compelling study.

Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

[A] valuable addition to the growing scholarship on the evolution of African American social protest in modern America.

North Carolina Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807823637
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Lexile: 1420L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.45 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Glenn T. Eskew is associate professor of history at Georgia State University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Stalemate 3
1 The National Movement 19
2 Bombingham 53
3 Bull's Birmingham 85
4 The Local Movement 121
5 Businessmen's Reform 153
6 Momentum 193
7 Another Albany? 217
8 The Children's Crusade 259
9 But for Birmingham 299
Epilogue: Ambiguous Resolution 333
Notes 341
Bibliography 399
Index 419
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