Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972 / Edition 2

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Hailed as one of the best treatments of the civil rights movement, Race and Democracy is also one of the most comprehensive and detailed studies of the movement at the state level. This far-reaching and dramatic narrative ranges in time from the founding of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP in 1915 to the beginning of Edwin Edwards’s first term as governor in 1972. In his new preface Adam Fairclough brings the narrative up to date, demonstrating the persistence of racial inequalities and the continuing importance of race as a factor in politics. When Hurricane Katrina exposed the race issue in a new context, Fairclough argues, political leaders mishandled the disaster. A deep-seated culture of corruption, he concludes, compromises the ability of public officials to tackle intransigent problems of urban poverty and inadequate schools.

Fairclough takes readers to the grass roots of the movement as it was defiantly advanced and resisted in scores of places like New Orleans shipyards, the voter registrar’s office in Opelousas, and the Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport. He traces the social networks that sustained black activism, such as Masonic lodges and teachers’ associations, and he also analyzes white responses to the movement as expressed through political factions, trade unions, business lobbies, the Catholic Church, White Citizens Councils, and the Ku Klux Klan.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Fairclough’s] compelling narrative conveys the epic dimensions of the Southern movement—its generational breadth, the leadership it produced, the hopes it sustained and its ultimate success in toppling the legal scaffolding of the segregation system."—The Nation

"Not only the best history of the civil rights struggle in Louisiana, it may be the best treatment of the civil rights movement, period."—New Orleans Times-Picayune

"Should be compulsory reading for those interested in the affirmative action debate.”—Times Higher Education Supplement

"A powerfully written narrative of the local forces that made the movement possible.”—Boston Globe

"Fairclough has provided the most exhaustive study to date linking the pre- and post-Brown struggles for equality.”—Journal of American History

"[An] absorbing history of racial activism."—USA Today

"A truly first-rate and significant piece of work . . . A landmark achievement."—David Garrow, author of Bearing the Cross

"He reminds us that Louisiana Blacks faced a white opposition as brutal, fierce and unyielding as did their Alabama and Mississippi counterparts. . . . Fairclough [has] made the history of the Southern freedom struggle more complete."—Julian Bond, Black Issues in Higher Education

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In studying Louisiana, Fairclough's previous works (Martin Luther King, Jr.) focused only on the post-1955 civil rights movement. Here, he observes that black protest from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s formed a significant movement in its own right. Thus, this sweeping study, which covers much of Louisiana, subtly delves into a rich history. Fairclough establishes Louisiana's distinctive creole heritage and describes the NAACP's first effort to equalize black and white teachers' pay in the 1930s. Bars to voting, education and public accommodations began to fall in the 1940s, but the state resisted the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision, even attacking the NAACP. Fairclough recounts the violence of court-ordered New Orleans school integration, describes CORE's entry into the state and, intriguingly, shows how mid-1960s activism in benighted Bogalusa, La., bridged the passage to black militancy. The book nominally ends in 1972, when, the author observes, both blacks and whites had lost faith in school integration, at least as it had been introduced. Since then, he argues, the rise of David Duke and resistance to him suggest the reality of both white racism and black political power. An interesting, if specialized, account. (Apr.)
Library Journal
British scholar Fairclough examines the history of the Civil Rights movement in Louisiana from 1915, when the New Orleans branch of the NAACP was founded, through the start of the first administration of Governor Edwin Edwards in 1972. He has written the most comprehensive account yet of the movement in Louisiana and perhaps in any Southern state. Especially valuable is the discussion of the movement during the decades before the Supreme Court's 1954 decision overturning racial segregation in public schools-a period that many scholars have neglected. Fairclough also explores the cultural diversity that differentiates Louisiana from other deep Southern states and provides a cogent analysis of the impact of that diversity on the Civil Rights struggle in the state. The work's value is reduced only slightly by a number of minor inaccuracies. Recommended for academic libraries.-Thomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette
Historians and the media, in their fascination with the action- oriented, youth-dominated 1960s, have never appreciated the full variety, depth, and durability of black protest, says the author, a British scholar of modern American history. His exhaustive study of the civil rights movement in Louisiana highlights five decades of struggle for justice in this politically intriguing and ethnically diverse state, from the founding of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP to the beginning of Edwin Edwards' first term as governor. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820331140
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 698,148
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Fairclough is the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Chair of History and Culture of the United States at Leiden University. His books include Martin Luther King, Jr., To Redeem the Soul of America, Teaching Equality, Race and Democracy, and The Star Creek Papers (all available from Georgia).

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition     xi
Preface to the First Edition     xxxiii
Acknowledgments     xlv
Abbreviations     xlix
Creole Louisiana     1
Race and Power in the Long Era     21
The Labor Movement, the Left, and the Transformation of the NAACP     46
Tremors of War     74
Brutality and Ballots, 1946-1956     106
Race and Red-Baiting     135
The Impact of Brown     164
Counterattack     196
The New Orleans Schools Crisis     234
Nonviolent Direct Action, 1960-1962     265
The Movement, 1963-1964     297
North to Bogalusa     344
Making Rights Real     381
The Promise and the Reality of School Integration     429
Struggle without End     463
Notes     479
Bibliography     557
Index     585
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