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Against all odds, the seeds of social change found purchase in mid-twentieth century South Carolina. Newspaperman John McCray and his allies at the Lighthouse and Informer challenged readers to "rebel and fight"to reject the "slavery of thought and action" and become "progressive fighters" for equality. Newspaper Wars traces the role journalism played in the fight for civil rights in South Carolina from the 1930s through the 1960s. Moving the press to the center of the political action, Sid Bedingfield tells the stories of the long-overlooked men and women on the front lines of a revolution. African American progress sparked a battle to shape South Carolina's civic life, with civil rights activists arrayed against white journalists determined to preserve segregation through massive resistance. As that strategy failed, white newspapers turned to overt political action and crafted the still-prevalent narratives that aligned southern whites with the national conservative movement. A fascinating portrait of a defining time, Newspaper Wars analyzes the role journalism playedand still can playduring times of social, cultural, and political change.
About the Author
Sid Bedingfield is an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Minnesota.
Table of Contents
1 Early Struggles 17
2 A Newspaper Joins the Movement 39
3 A Black Political Insurgency in the Deep South 64
4 The White Press and the Dixiecrat Revolt 83
5 An Old Warrior Underestimates a New Foe 108
6 Massive Resistance and the Death of a Black Newspaper 138
7 The Paper Curtain and the New GOP 170
8 Color-Blind Conservatism and the Great White Switch 200