In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois prophetically labeled the central challenge of the 20th century "the problem of the color-line." Six years later, in 1909, he joined black and white civic leaders and activists to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the country's oldest civil rights organization. Rejecting Booker T. Washington's Southern-based economic uplift strategy, the NAACP-celebrating its centenary this year-favored Du Bois's emphasis on complete equality for African-Americans as guaranteed by the Constitution, joining the fight at a time of deepening racism throughout the U.S. Spurred on by Woodrow Wilson's segregationist policies, the young NAACP rapidly grew to a formidable nationwide, grassroots-driven endeavor, waging campaigns in public squares, law courts, legislatures and-with Du Bois helming its organ, the Crisis-the court of public opinion. Historian Sullivan (Days of Hope) delivers a solidly researched examination of the organization's growth and influence, leaving us with a vital account of 100 years of foundational civil rights activism. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movementby Patricia Sullivan
Sullivan spent ten years unearthing the little-known early decades of the NAACP’s activism, telling startling stories of personal bravery, legal brilliance, and political maneuvering by the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, Charles Houston, Ella Baker, Thurgood Marshall, and Roy Wilkinsas well as a host
Sullivan spent ten years unearthing the little-known early decades of the NAACP’s activism, telling startling stories of personal bravery, legal brilliance, and political maneuvering by the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, Charles Houston, Ella Baker, Thurgood Marshall, and Roy Wilkinsas well as a host of unknown but pivotal figures whom Lift Every Voice brings to light for the first time. With fascinating new information on the preWorld War I decades of the NAACP, the book culminates in 1963, altering the chronology of the civil rights movement so that readers appreciate the foundation that the NAACP built in those early, formative years.
A major contribution to our understanding of the political and cultural history of African Americansindeed, of America itself.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
Superb new history . . . elegantly written. A compelling, exhaustively researched account that sweeps across much of the last century.
Jonathan Rosenberg, The Christian Science Monitor
[A] vital account of 100 years of foundational civil rights activism.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An overdue tribute to the organization most responsible for dismantling American apartheid.
A compelling story . . . includes enough action-packed material for a handful of historical novels, monographs, and biographies, as well as a few movies and a TV series or two.
- New Press, The
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Meet the Author
Patricia Sullivan teaches history at the University of South Carolina and is a fellow in the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. Her books include Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era and Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from the Civil Rights Years. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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