Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement

Overview

The history of the Civil Rights Movement is too frequently simplified and uncritically passed down from generation to generation. Many students today learn about famous leaders and national campaigns without getting much context about the many people who struggled for many years at local levels. Historian Steven F. Lawson became frustrated with the widely accepted depiction of the Movement and called for a broader and more interactive model of scholarship that would provide a more complex and complete ...
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Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement

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Overview

The history of the Civil Rights Movement is too frequently simplified and uncritically passed down from generation to generation. Many students today learn about famous leaders and national campaigns without getting much context about the many people who struggled for many years at local levels. Historian Steven F. Lawson became frustrated with the widely accepted depiction of the Movement and called for a broader and more interactive model of scholarship that would provide a more complex and complete understanding of the battles for black equality.

Editors Danielle McGuire and John Dittmer answer Lawson's call in Bends Toward Justice: African Americans' Long Struggle for Freedom. Beginning with Lawson's essay "The Long Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968," the volume chronicles the Civil Rights Movement from multiracial activism in the Post-war era through the election of Barack Obama. McGuire and Dittmer offer an exhaustive examination of the movement, including discussion of political and social disputes and local and international connections. This collection tackles issues such as gender, family, sexuality, and sexual violence, that are often ignored in in popular histories. Bends Towards Justice is a fresh look at the Movement that will set the standard for future analysis.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

""Freedom Rights not only reconceptualizes the civil rights movement but also suggests a broader framework for understanding the global history of freedom struggles. This collection of outstanding new scholarship sheds light on continuing evolution of innovative American grassroots activism within a constantly changing national and international context. Rather than presenting narrowly-conceived narratives of modern American civil rights reform, these articles illuminate the transcendent ideals and transformative strategies emanating from a global freedom struggle affecting the majority of humanity."--Clayborne Carson, Professor & Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University" --

""A terrific collection of essays reflecting new scholarship on the civil rights movement, and a fitting tribute to Steven Lawson for his life's work on the black freedom struggle."--William H. Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, Duke University" --

""John Dittmer, Danielle L. McGuire, and Steven F. Lawson have each in their own way revolutionized the historiography of the black freedom struggle. With Freedom Rights, Dittmer and McGuire bring together scholars whose provocative and quite readable essays offer both a fitting tribute to Lawson's influential scholarship and a road map suggesting new directions for future civil rights study."--Todd Moye, author of Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II" --

""Freedom Rights offers readers significant new perspectives on the civil rights movement's cultural and family politics, expands our understanding of its organizational bases, incorporates gender as a vital tool of analysis rather than as contribution history, and clarifies the evolution of strategies for undermining black political power in the years since. Its dynamic arguments establish new standards in the field that will impact scholarly debates for years to come."--Katherine Mellen Charron, author of Freedom's Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark" --

""Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement highlights new scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement, showing the importance of lacal politics, for instance, and the value of arts activism." -- Library Journal" --

""Highlights new scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement, showing the importance of local politics, for instance, and the value of arts activism." --Library Journal" --

""These valuable essays... exhibit unique and exciting trends within civil rights historiography." --North Carolina Historical Review" --

""Perhaps the collection's greatest strength is that it takes moments, people, and concepts that could be merely footnotes and reasons persuasively that those topics deserve much more attention from scholars." --H-Net Reviews" --

""Students, teachers, researchers, and a general audience will find this volume a lively, engaging, readable, and informative introduction to what civil rights scholarship looks like today and where it is headed in the future." --Journal of American History" --

""No short review can do justice to this rich array of recent scholarship in one of the most exciting areas of American history research, and that's the long and short of it."" -- Lee W. Formwalt, Indiana Magazine of History, June 2013

"[...] the insightful, compelling, and readable quality of many of the chapters makes Freedom Rights worthy of attention for historians of the 20th-century United States, graduate students, and perhaps even advanced undergraduates." -- The Journal of African American History

""The essays are great pieces of scholarship that succeed in expanding the classical notions of the goals of the movement, the principal actors, and their effects on the quotidian lives of African Americans." -- Sam Davis, Indiana University, Bloomington, Black Diaspora Review" --

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Danielle L. McGuire, assistant professor at Wayne State University, is the author of At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Race and Resistance -- A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. She lives in Detroit, Michigan.

John Dittmer, professor emeritus at DePauw University, is the author of The Good Doctors: The Medical Committee for Human Rights and the Struggle for Social Justice in Health Care. He lives in Fillmore, Indiana.

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Table of Contents

Dedications vii

Introduction Danielle L. McGuire 1

Long Origins of the Short Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968 Steven F. Lawson 9

Hollywood, the NAACP, and the Cultural Politics of the Early Civil Rights Movement Justin T. Lorts 39

The Young Women's Christian Association's Multiracial Activism in the Immediate Postwar Era Abigail Sara Lewis 71

James and Esther Cooper Jackson, Communism, and the 1950s Black Freedom Movement Sara Rzeszutek Haviland 111

Till They Come Back Home: Transregional Families and the Politicization of the Till Generation Krystal D. Frazier 137

The Johns Committee, Sex, and Civil Rights in Florida, 1963-1965 Stacy Braukman 163

Joan Little and the Triumph of Testimony Danielle L. McGuire 191

Gender, Jazz, and Justice in Cold War Freedom Movements Jacqueline Castledine 223

EEOC Politics and Limits on Reagan's Civil Rights Legacy Emily Zuckerman 247

Race and Partisanship in Criminal Disfranchisement Laws Pippa Holloway 277

"The Community Don't Know What's Good for Them": Local Politics in the Alabama Black Belt during the Post-Civil Rights Era George Derek Musgrove Hasan Kwame Jeffries 305

"I Want My Country Back, I Want My Dream Back": Barack Obama and the Appeal of Postracial Fictions Brian Ward 329

List of Contributors 365

Index 369

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