The American Civil Rights Movement 1865-1950: Black Agency and People of Good Will (Hardback)
  • The American Civil Rights Movement 1865-1950: Black Agency and People of Good Will (Hardback)
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The American Civil Rights Movement 1865-1950: Black Agency and People of Good Will (Hardback)

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£70.00
Hardback 364 Pages / Published: 07/12/2016
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The American Civil Rights Movement 1865-1950 is a history of the African American struggle for freedom and equality from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. It synthesizes the disparate black movements, explaining consistent themes and controversies during those years. The main focus is on the black activists who led the movement and the white people who supported them. The principal theme is that African American agency propelled the progress and that whites often helped. Even whites who were not sympathetic to black demands were useful, often because it was to their advantage to act as black allies. Even white opponents could be coerced into cooperation or, at least, non-opposition. White people of good will with shallow understanding were frustrating, but they were sometimes useful. Even if they did not work for black rights, they did not work against them, and sometimes helped because they had no better options. Until now, the history of the African American movement from 1865 to 1950 has not been covered as one coherent story. There have been many histories of African Americans that have treated the subject in one chapter or part of a chapter, and several excellent books have concentrated on a specific time period, such as Reconstruction or World War II. Other books have focused on one aspect of the time, such as lynching or the nature of Jim Crow. This is the first book to synthesize the history of the movement in a coherent whole.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9780739179925
Number of pages: 364
Weight: 649 g
Dimensions: 238 x 160 x 27 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
For decades, historians of the civil rights movement have pushed the origins of the struggle for racial justice to well before the Brown decision of 1954. Brooker (political science, Alverno College) argues that the beginnings of activism began shortly after the end of Reconstruction, when the US government failed to uphold the 14th and 15th amendments for black Americans. For Brooker, the key to this activism was the decision of people of good will, black and white, to make the reality conform to the promise of the US. A decade before the creation of the NAACP, there had been attempts to organize resistance from oppression, including a moment when poor white and black southern farmers worked together to overcome their shared exploitation by rich white landowners. Although this effort failed, the experience provided some evidence that organizing at the community level, using litigation, and pressuring the federal government might produce a more equitable society. Brooker notes that the real agents of change were the victims of oppression, black Americans. As a work of synthesis, the book provides a timely introduction to what happens when people of good will act upon their conscience. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries. * CHOICE *
A solid synthesis. Brooker has produced a clearly written and useful narrative about racial politics in the under-appreciated years before the "modern" civil rights movement. The book raises important questions about when and by whom changes were made in the American projects of white supremacy and racial equality. -- Eric S. Yellin, University of Richmond
Brooker succinctly traces the long arc of the civil rights movement from Reconstruction through World War II. The people of good will he profiles had many different motives to support the movement, but as Brooker persuasively explains, at key points they assisted the ongoing efforts of African Americans to secure equality, security, and opportunity. -- David Krugler, University of Wisconsin, Platteville
Russell Brooker's book is an important work of scholarship that uncovers the broad range of blacks and whites-"people of good will"-who worked to advance the cause of justice before and during the Civil Rights era. In considering the complicated ways white "people of good will" contributed to the advancement of African American interests, Brooker puts forth a much more complicated narrative of protest, accommodation, and advancement that carries a powerful echo even through today. -- Kimberley Johnson, Barnard College

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