Civil Rights Crossroads: Nation, Community, and the Black Freedom Struggle

Civil Rights Crossroads: Nation, Community, and the Black Freedom Struggle

by Steven F. Lawson
     
 
The civil rights movement, observes historian Steven F. Lawson, was the intersection of two parallel tracks -- federal initiative and grassroots activism. No other scholar of African American history has traced the influence of national and local activism with such insight or illuminated the contributions of so many civil rights activists, familiar and unfamiliar.

Overview

The civil rights movement, observes historian Steven F. Lawson, was the intersection of two parallel tracks -- federal initiative and grassroots activism. No other scholar of African American history has traced the influence of national and local activism with such insight or illuminated the contributions of so many civil rights activists, familiar and unfamiliar. Civil Rights Crossroads brings together Lawson's most important writings, updated to offer fresh perspectives and penetrating insights into the continuing black struggle for equality in America. Lawson's writings challenge many prevailing views about racial politics. He argues that the civil rights movement did not end in 1965, as is customarily accepted. He offers a history of movements that were organized politically and legally at the local and national levels. Examining the period following the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Lawson connects the civil rights movement to current debates on affirmative action and the expansion of black power. He asserts that the actions of lawyers, lobbyists and civil rights bureaucrats were vital as presidential administrations grew increasingly conservative.

For those following a nation-centered model of civil rights history, Lawson's examination of community activism has proved provocative and influential. Several essays in this collection focus on how the civil rights movement functioned in several southern town-ships. For example, Lawson argues that Florida was not a progressive exception to "Dixie" as so many claim; rather, the Florida story shows how white moderates attempted to contain violence against blacks in order to control the shape and pace of racial equality. Other essoys address the contributions of women leaders such as Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker, the attempts made by President Lyndon B. Johnson to manage the course of black militancy, the influence of the civil rights movement on American culture, and other compelling topics. Civil Rights Crossroads is the culmination of Lawson's twenty-five years at the fore-front of race relations studies -- a powerful look at the history of the civil rights movement and a forecast of the challenges still to come.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A useful read for graduate students and scholars of the civil rights movement. This final section in particular makes it abundantly clear that much is left to do in the continuous struggle to understand the fight for African American and indeed American civil rights." — Arkansas Review

"Presents a more complete picture of the struggle for civil rights in US history.... Recommended." — Choice

" Civil Rights Crossroads provides a comprehensive and critical survey of the modern civil rights struggle. Steven Lawson's book builds upon the remarkable outpouring during the past two decades of historical studies that have drawn attention to the contributions of little-known grassroots activists as well as national leaders. Lawson's own previous writings have been important pioneering additions to this literature, and Civil Rights Crossroads brings together the accumulated insights of a leading scholar in the field." — Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project at Stanford University

"Lawson's books and articles, including those in Civil Rights Crossroads, are characterized by remarkable continuity and growth." — Journal of Southern History

"An important collection of illuminating and provocative essays that explore new dimensions of the black struggle to demolish Jim Crow segregation and second-class citizenship. Lawson thoughtfully connects local events and community leaders with key national personalities and political forces. In crisp prose he displays impressive mastery of the contours of Civil Rights historiography." — Darlene Clark Hine, author of Black Victory

"Another landmark publication.... An outstanding read on the legacy of the civil rights movement and testimony of the civil rights campaign in Florida." — Florida Historical Quarterly

"[ Civil Rights Crossroads] makes a valuable contribution to the historiography of the black freedom struggle by demonstrating the progression of the field from a narrow focus on prominent male leaders and national organizations to a wider lens that includes local studies and extends the movement chronology beyond 1968.... This volume represents an impressive body of work and will prove useful to scholars as well as undergraduate students." — H-Net Reviews

"Makes a valuable contribution to the historiography of the black freedom struggle by demonstrating the progression of the field from a narrow focus on prominent male leaders and national organizations to a wider lens that includes local studies and extends the movement chronologically beyond 1968." — H-New Review

"Lawson is one of the leading historians of the civil rights movement in America. While the earlier works on the movement focused on the civil rights leaders and their organizations, and the more recent studies have emphasized grass roots activism, Lawson has combined national and local perspectives better than any other scholar." — John Dittmer, author of Local People

"This collection of some of Steven Lawson's best articles does a great deal to meet a need that he and other scholars called for two decades ago: historical works that connect 'the local with the national, the social with the political.'" — North Carolina Historical Review

" Civil Rights Crossroads provides a comprehensive and critical survey of the modern civil rights struggle. Steven Lawson's book builds upon the remarkable outpouring during the past two decades of historical studies that have drawn attention to the contributions of little-known grassroots activists as well as national leaders. Lawson's own previous writings have been important pioneering additions to this literature, and Civil Rights Crossroads brings together the accumulated insights of a leading scholar in the field." — Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project at Stanford University

"[ Civil Rights Crossroads] makes a valuable contribution to the historiography of the black freedom struggle by demonstrating the progression of the field from a narrow focus on prominent male leaders and national organizations to a wider lens that includes local studies and extends the movement chronology beyond 1968.... This volume represents an impressive body of work and will prove useful to scholars as well as undergraduate students." — H-Net Reviews

"This collection of some of Steven Lawson's best articles does a great deal to meet a need that he and other scholars called for two decades ago: historical works that connect 'the local with the national, the social with the political.'" — North Carolina Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813122878
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
11/28/2003
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.18(d)

Meet the Author

Steven F. Lawson, professor of history at Rutgers University, is the author of several books on the civil rights movement and black suffrage, including Black Ballots: Voting Rights in the South, 1944-1969, Running for Freedom: Civil Rights and Black Politics in America Since 1941, and Debating the Civil Rights Movement: 1945-1968.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >