The civil rights movement was among the most important historical developments of the twentieth century and one of the most remarkable mass movements in American history. Not only did it decisively change the legal and political status of African Americans, but it prefigured as well the moral premises and methods of struggle for other historically oppressed groups seeking equal standing in American society. And, yet, despite a vague, sometimes begrudging recognition of its immense import, more often than not the movement has been misrepresented and misunderstood. For the general public, a singular moment, frozen in time at the Lincoln Memorial, sums up much of what Americans know about that remarkable decade of struggle. In The Movement, Thomas C. Holt provides an informed and nuanced understanding of the origins, character, and objectives of the mid-twentieth-century freedom struggle, privileging the aspirations and initiatives of the ordinary, grassroots people who made it. Holt conveys a sense of these developments as a social movement, one that shaped its participants even as they shaped it. He emphasizes the conditions of possibility that enabled the heroic initiatives of the common folk over those of their more celebrated leaders. This groundbreaking book reinserts the critical concept of "movement" back into our image and understanding of the civil rights movement.
Acknowledgements Table of Contents List of Illustrations Introduction: Carrie's Rebellion Chapter 1: Before Montgomery Chapter 2: Communities Organizing for Change: New South Cities Chapter 3: Communities Organizing for Change along the New South-Old South Divide Chapter 4: Organizing in "the American Congo": Mississippi's Freedom Summer and Its Aftermath Chapter 5: Freedom Movements in the North and the Quest for Black Power Chapter 6: Legacies: "Freedom is a Constant Struggle" Notes and References Further Readings
A succinct but nuanced overview of the origins, objectives and achievements of the civil rights movement ... Holt pays particular attention to the ordinary people and communities who took significant risks to make up the body of the movement. * Ellie Cawthorne, BBC History Magazine *[This] concise but comprehensive history of the US civil rights movement pulls off an ambitious balancing act, placing the African-American fight for equality within its wider political and social context - all without losing sight of the campaigners on the frontline ... a hugely humanistic overview. * BBC History Revealed *A bold and vivid story of the everyday human made heroic... Concise and riveting, The Movement is an excellent work for those seeking an examination of the US civil rights movement from a perspective somewhat rare in more mainstream histories. And for those seeking a deeper involvement, it is a good introduction. * Ron Jacobs, Morning Star *
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