Walter White (1893-1955) was among the nation's preeminent champions of civil rights. With blond hair and blue eyes, he could "pass" as white even though he identified as African American, and his physical appearance allowed him to go undercover to invest
A portrait of the late executive secretary of the NAACP documents his efforts as a civil rights champion and his work to outlaw segregation and racism, noting how his physical appearance as an African-American with light-colored skin enabled him to work undercover to expose southern lynch mob activities.
The day Walter White was buried in 1955 the New York Times called him "the nearest approach to a national leader of American Negroes since Booker T. Washington." For more than two decades, White, as secretary of the NAACP, was perhaps the nation's most visible and most powerful African-American leader. He won passage of a federal anti-lynching law, hosted one of the premier salons of the Harlem Renaissance, created the legal strategy that led to Brown v. Board of Education, and initiated the campaign demanding that Hollywood give better roles to black actors. Driven by ambitions for himself and his people, he offered his entire life to the advancement of civil rights in America.
Racial Violence and America's Civil Rights Century
Author: Jason Morgan Ward
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Even at the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, when the clarion call for equality and justice echoed around the country, few volunteers ventured into Clarke County, Mississippi. Fewer still remained. Located just south of Neshoba County, where three civil rights workers had been murdered during 1964's Freedom Summer, Clarke lay squarely in what many considered Mississippi's, and thus America's, meanest corner. Local African Americans knew why the movement failed there. Some spoke of a bottomless hole in the snaking Chickasawhay River in the town of Shubuta, where white vigilantes had for decades dumped the bodies of murdered African Americans. Others more spoke of a "hanging bridge" that spanned that same muddy creek. Spanning three generations, Hanging Bridge reveals what happened in Clarke County in 1919 and 1942, when two horrific lynchings took place: the first, of four young people, including a pregnant woman; the second, of two teenaged boys accused of harassing a white girl.Jason Ward's painstaking and haunting reconstruction of these events traces a legacy of violence that reflects the American experience of race, from the depths of Jim Crow through to the growing power of the NAACP and national awareness of what was taking places even in the country's bleakest racial landscapes. Connecting the lynchings to each other and then to the civil rights struggles in the 1960s, when the threat of violence hung heavy over Clarke County, Ward creates a narrative that links living memory and verifiable fact, illuminating one of the darkest places in American history and revealing the resiliency of the human spirit.
Black Civil Rights in New York City and Detroit During the New Deal and Second World War
Author: Oliver Ayers
Historians have long realized the US civil rights movement pre-dated Martin Luther King Jr., but they disagree on where, when and why it started. Laboured Protest offers new answers in a study of black political protest during the New Deal and Second World War. It finds a diverse movement where activists from the left operated alongside, and often in competition with, others who signed up to liberal or nationalist political platforms. Protestors in this period often struggled to challenge the different types of discrimination facing black workers, but their energetic campaigning was part of a more complex, and ultimately more interesting, movement than previously thought.
The Naacp and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement
Author: Patricia Sullivan
Publisher: New Press, The
A “civil rights Hall of Fame” (Kirkus) that was published to remarkable praise in conjunction with the NAACP’s Centennial Celebration, Lift Every Voice is a momentous history of the struggle for civil rights told through the stories of men and women who fought inescapable racial barriers in the North as well as the South—keeping the promise of democracy alive from the earliest days of the twentieth century to the triumphs of the 1950s and 1960s. Historian Patricia Sullivan unearths 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, Walter White, Charles Houston, Ella Baker, Thurgood Marshall, and Roy Wilkins. In the critical post-war era, following a string of legal victories culminating in Brown v. Board, the NAACP knocked out the legal underpinnings of the segregation system and set the stage for the final assault on Jim Crow. A sweeping and dramatic story woven deep into the fabric of American history—”history that helped shape America’s consciousness, if not its soul” (Booklist) — Lift Every Voice offers a timeless lesson on how people, without access to the traditional levers of power, can create change under seemingly impossible odds.
The Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement
Author: Kevin M. Kruse,Stephen Tuck
Publisher: Oxford University Press
It is well known that World War II gave rise to human rights rhetoric, discredited a racist regime abroad, and provided new opportunities for African Americans to fight, work, and demand equality at home. It would be all too easy to assume that the war was a key stepping stone to the modern civil rights movement. But Fog of War shows that in reality the momentum for civil rights was not so clear cut, with activists facing setbacks as well as successes and their opponents finding ways to establish more rigid defenses for segregation. While the war set the scene for a mass movement, it also narrowed some of the options for black activists. This collection is a timely reconsideration of the intersection between two of the dominant events of twentieth-century American history, the upheaval wrought by the Second World War and the social revolution brought about by the African American struggle for equality.
Roy Wilkins (1901--1981) spent forty-six years of his life serving the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and led the organization for more than twenty years. Under his leadership, the NAACP spearheaded efforts that contributed to landmark civil rights legislation, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. In Roy Wilkins: The Quiet Revolutionary and the NAACP, Yvonne Ryan offers the first biography of this influential activist, as well as an analysis of his significant contributions to civil rights in America. While activists in Alabama were treading the highways between Selma and Montgomery, Wilkins was walking the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., working tirelessly in the background to ensure that the rights they fought for were protected through legislation and court rulings. With his command of congressional procedure and networking expertise, Wilkins was regarded as a strong and trusted presence on Capitol Hill, and received greater access to the Oval Office than any other civil rights leader during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. Roy Wilkins fills a significant gap in the history of the civil rights movement, objectively exploring the career and impact of one of its forgotten leaders. The quiet revolutionary, who spent his life navigating the Washington political system, affirmed the extraordinary and courageous efforts of the many men and women who braved the dangers of the southern streets and challenged injustice to achieve equal rights for all Americans.
Ella Josephine Baker was among the most influential strategists of the most important social movement in modern US history, the civil rights movement. In this book, historian J. Todd Moye masterfully reconstructs Baker’s life and contribution for a new generation of readers.
Say It Plain is a vivid, moving portrait of how black Americans have sounded the charge against injustice, exhorting the country to live up to its democratic principles. In “full-throated public oratory, the kind that can stir the soul” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), this unique anthology collects the transcribed speeches of the twentieth century’s leading African American cultural, literary, and political figures, many of them never before available in printed form. From an 1895 speech by Booker T. Washington to Julian Bond’s harp assessment of school segregation on the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board in 2004, the collection captures a powerful tradition of oratory—by political activists, civil rights organizers, celebrities, and religious leaders—going back more than a century. The paperback edition includes the text of each speech along with an introduction placing it in its historical context. Say It Plain is a remarkable historical record—from the back-to-Africa movement to the civil rights era and the rise of black nationalism and beyond—riveting in its power to convey the black freedom struggle.
A portrait of the influential secretary of the NAACP explores his dedication to advancing civil rights in America, tracing his role in ending lynching, creating the legal strategy that led to Brown v. Board of Education, and hosting a premier salon for the Harlem Renaissance.
Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson's America
Author: Eric S. Yellin
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Category: Social Science
Between the 1880s and 1910s, thousands of African Americans passed civil service exams and became employed in the executive offices of the federal government. However, by 1920, promotions to well-paying federal jobs had nearly vanished for black workers. Eric S. Yellin argues that the Wilson administration's successful 1913 drive to segregate the federal government was a pivotal episode in the age of progressive politics. Yellin investigates how the enactment of this policy, based on Progressives' demands for whiteness in government, imposed a color line on American opportunity and implicated Washington in the economic limitation of African Americans for decades to come. Using vivid accounts of the struggles and protests of African American government employees, Yellin reveals the racism at the heart of the era's reform politics. He illuminates the nineteenth-century world of black professional labor and social mobility in Washington, D.C., and uncovers the Wilson administration's progressive justifications for unraveling that world. From the hopeful days following emancipation to the white-supremacist "normalcy" of the 1920s, Yellin traces the competing political ideas, politicians, and ordinary government workers who created "federal segregation."
The 1933 Amenia Conference and the Rise of a National Civil Rights Movement
Author: Eben Miller
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Social Science
In August, 1933, dozens of people gathered amid seven large, canvas tents in a field near Amenia, in upstate New York. Joel Spingarn, president of the board of the NAACP, had called a conference to revitalize the flagging civil rights organization. In Amenia, such old lions as the 65 year-old W.E.B. DuBois would mingle with "the coming leaders of Negro thought." It was a fascinating encounter that would transform the civil rights movement. With elegant writing and piercing insight, historian Eben Miller narrates how this little-known conference brought together a remarkable young group of African American activists, capturing through the lives of five extraordinary participants--youth activist Juanita Jackson, diplomat Ralph Bunche, economist Abram Harris, lawyer Louis Redding, and Harlem organizer Moran Weston--how this generation shaped the ongoing movement for civil rights during the Depression, World War II, and beyond. Miller describes how Jackson, Bunche, Harris, and the others felt that, amidst the global crisis of the 1930s, it was urgent to move beyond the NAACP's legal and political focus to build an economic movement that reached across the racial divide to challenge the capitalist system that had collapsed so devastatingly. They advocated alliances with labor groups, agitated for equal education, and campaigned for anti-lynching legislation and open access to the ballot and employment--spreading their influential ideas through their writings and by mass organizing in African American communities across the country, North and South. In their arguments and individual awakenings, they formed a key bridge between the turn-of-the-century Talented Tenth and the postwar civil rights generation, broadening and advancing the fight for racial equality through the darkest economic times the country has ever faced. In Born along the Color Line, Miller vividly captures the emergence of a forgotten generation of African American leaders, a generation that made Brown v. Board of Education and all that followed from it possible. It is an illuminating portrait of the "long civil rights movement," not the movement that began in the 1950s, but the one that took on new life at Amenia in 1933
Designed to meet the needs of high school students, undergraduates, and general readers, this encyclopedia is the most comprehensive reference available on African American literature from its origins to the present. Other works include many brief entries, or offer extended biographical sketches of a limited selection of writers. This encyclopedia surpasses existing references by offering full and current coverage of a vast range of authors and topics. While most of the entries are on individual authors, the encyclopedia gathers together information about the genres and geographical and cultural environments in which these writers have worked, and the social, political, and aesthetic movements in which they have participated. Thus the encyclopedia gives special attention to the historical and cultural forces that have shaped African American writing. - Publisher.