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260Southern Cultures Germany, but only one South (for us) that must be reformed by dealing honestly and humbly with our shared past. MacLean is less successful in her efforts to explain why the KKK, a southern fascist movement, did not link up with the Nazis. She does not acknowledge the severity of the economic downturn in 1925 in the southern countryside, when Klan violence and membership ebbed, but fascism flourished elsewhere. Also, by the time the second Klan was waning, the factors that resulted in a worldwide depression, beginning in 1929 (during which time the South became, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt later described it in 1938, the nation's "number one economic problem") were already in place. Yet it is exactly that kind of economic misery in which fascism thrives. Also, her suggestion that FDR offered positive alternatives for economically distressed men applies more appropriately to 1932 than 1925. When she completes her unmasking, though, MacLean succeeds brilliantly in reminding us how much regional injustice, with its tendency toward violence, emotionalism , and crooked politics, touches us all. She shows how the South's dark side can produce a monster. Although MacLean fails to demonstrate why Klan violence did not mushroom , such failure has also bedeviled historians such as C. Vann Woodward, David Morris Potter, Carl N. Degler, and Eugene D. Genovese. One reads her book, Behind the Mask of Chivalry, with increasing dread and fascination, then closes it with the sinking conclusion that only a lucky turn of Lady Fortune's wheel kept a Klansman in Athens, Georgia, from becoming Adolph Hitler. Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972. By Adam Fairclough. University of Georgia Press, 1995. 582 pp. Cloth, $34.95. Reviewed by Lawrence N. Powell, professor of history at Tulane University. A specialist in Reconstruction, Powell was a founder of the Louisiana Coalition against Racism and Nazism, which opposed David Duke's recent election campaigns. If the Montgomery-to-Selma paradigm dominates civil rights history, it is easy to understand why. The Montgomery bus boycott that opened the era thrust the mantle of leadership on Martin Luther King Jr., whose prophetic charisma still defines the period. Ten years later the Selma march, which spurred passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, culminated the hard-fought struggle for full citizenship rights. Between these two events are now familiar mileposts: the freedom rides and sitins , the school-door confrontations, more marches, and ever-present Klan violence. Recorded for the evening news, the scratchy footage of these events haunts our visual memory. But, as Adam Fairclough's remarkable new study of the civil rights struggle in Louisiana shows, there is another rich history of struggle that stretches through the two world wars and beyond, instigated by local activists in places like Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Bogalusa, and New Orleans. Their efforts, as Fairclough writes, "lasted a lifetime and provided the strong base, the bedrock, of the civil rights movement." Thoroughly researched, grounded in the insights of social science and written with flair and humor, Race and Demoaacy is not only the best history of the civil rights struggle in Louisiana, but also ranks among the best treatments of the movement. For years to Reviews261 come scholars will look to this book as a model of how to mesh local history with regional and federal events. Given its cultural geography and political singularity, this slice of Louisiana history is difficult to capture, but Fairclough, who teaches at the University of Leeds in England , has taken great pains to get the story right. He writes discerningly about the class and color dynamics of the black community. He discusses Louisiana's chameleon politicians with the ease of someone raised in the shadow of Huey P. Long's art-deco statehouse at Baton Rouge. He is not even fazed by Louisiana's capacity for juxtaposing extremes. On the one hand, the state's Latin Catholic tradition of mild race relations, coupled with levels of black political activity, were years ahead of the rest of the Deep South. On the other hand, there is the reality of Plaquemines parish and its racist boss Leander Perez. Or the reality of "Shreveport, USSR." Or the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 260-262
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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