The FBI's Racon: Racial Conditions in the United States during World War II

The FBI's Racon: Racial Conditions in the United States during World War II

by Robert A. Hill
     
 

During World War II, an unprecedented wave of militant black protest and activism swept through the United States, setting the stage for the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover perceived this racial turmoil as a threat not only to wartime mobilization efforts but also to the preservation of a stable, segregated society, and…  See more details below

Overview

During World War II, an unprecedented wave of militant black protest and activism swept through the United States, setting the stage for the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover perceived this racial turmoil as a threat not only to wartime mobilization efforts but also to the preservation of a stable, segregated society, and ordered an extensive, nationwide investigation and surveillance of African Americans "to determine why particular Negroes or groups of Negroes or Negro organizations have evidenced sentiments for other 'dark races' (mainly Japanese) or by what forces they were influenced to adopt in certain instances un-American ideologies." The unstated objective of the inquiry, known by the secret code name RACON, was to neutralize the black challenge to the institutional grip of Jim Crow. This landmark volume publishes for the first time the FBI's Survey of Racial Conditions in the United States, an exhaustive report that grew out of the larger internal security investigation. Compiled from reports submitted by fifty-six field units in all areas of the country, the document chronicles in rich detail the experience of African Americans during World War II. A comprehensive introduction by Robert A. Hill situates the FBI report within a political, cultural, and literary context to provide a fuller understanding of this sparsely documented period in African-American history and its relationship to civil rights movements in the postwar era. Hill also explores the ways in which the investigation and surveillance of blacks during World War II illuminate the FBI's wartime evolution from an investigative body to a political counterintelligence agency.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Publishes for the first time the FBI's Survey of Racial Conditions in the United States, a report that grew out of the Bureau's nationwide investigation (code name RACON) into domestic racial turmoil during WWII, which had as its unstated objective the neutralization of the black challenge to Jim Crow. The document chronicles the experience of African Americans during the war, covering such diverse topics as black workers in defense industries, racial conflicts in the military, the power of the black media, Communist Party organization in the black community, African-American Islamic movements, and the zoot suit phenomenon. A comprehensive introduction by editor Hill situates the FBI report within a political, cultural, and literary context. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555532277
Publisher:
Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
06/05/1995
Pages:
793
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.63(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >