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Black, White, and Southern

Race Relations and Southern Culture, 1940 to the Present

David R. Goldfield

Publication Year: 1991

In "Black, White, and Southern," David R. Goldfield shows how the struggles of black southerners to lift the barriers that had historically separated them from their white counterparts not only brought about the demise of white supremacy but did so without destroying the South's unique culture. Indeed, it is Goldfield's contention that the civil rights crusade has strengthened the South's cultural heritage, making it possible for black southeners to embrace their region unfettered by fear and frustration and for whites to leave behind decades of guilt and condemnation. In support of his analysis Goldfield presents a sweeping examination of the evolution of southern race relations over the past fifty years. He provides moving accounts of the major moments of the civil rights era, and he looks at more recent efforts by blacks to achieve economic and class parity. This history of the crusade for black equality is in the end they story of the South itself and of the powerful forces of redemption that Goldfield attests are still working to shape the future of the region.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotes

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-11


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xv

I had just finished giving my students a mental walking tour of Uptown (as downtown is called in this upbeat city) Charlotte some time in the 1950s. We pretended we were black. We packed a picnic lunch because no restaurants or lunch counters would serve us, and we boarded the bus and took...

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pp. xvii-xviii

Historians' research interests usually operate in a stream of consciousness. One topic suggests another, and that yet another, and so on. Sometimes the stream veers off into a shallow eddy from which we can hope to extricate ourselves without getting mired. On other, more fortunate occasions, the stream widens...

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I. Race Relations and Southern Culture

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pp. 1-24

There were two races; one black and one white. They shared a common history: they had suffered together through defeat and oppression, each in its own way; they had felt the dull pain of poverty and the uprootedness of economic change; they had stumbled and fallen behind the rest of America in literacy...

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II. "A Kind of Sunlight": Depression, War, and Change, 1930–1945 [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 25-44

Heat shimmered from the road that bore wagons, mules, and drivers to the ungainly two-storied gin that received the cotton and devoured it. This was an autumn ritual performed by southerners, black and white, for generations. It was a ritual now performed more out of habit than with purpose, because the contraction...

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III. A Season of Hope, 1945–1954

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pp. 45-62

The postwar era began with bright hope for southerners—they had proven themselves on the battlefield, tasted the rewards of prosperity, and looked forward to unprecedented employment and educational opportunities. If, amid the optimism, white southerners assumed that blacks would resume their subservient...

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IV. Flight from Reality: The Rise of White Resistance, 1945–1956

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pp. 63-86

By the time of the Brown decision in 1954, southern white leaders had already drawn the battle lines, so the decision was more a last straw than a preeminent cause of what followed. National events were obviously important to southerners, especially after 1940, but what was happening at the county...

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V. The Limits of Endurance: Buses, Books, and Balance Sheets, 1954–1960

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pp. 87-117

On the face of it, blacks seemed to be unlikely candidates to secure their own liberation. By the mid-1950s, most parts of the South were becoming fortified battlegrounds of the mind and spirit. C. Vann Woodward observed of this period that "all over the South the light of reason and tolerance and moderation...

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VI. The Crusade Against Segregation, 1960–1964

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pp. 118-148

The shrines of southern history had a heroic quality about them: a mansion, a monument, a capitol, a battleground. These artifacts commemorated great deeds and great men. The physical symbolism of a rewritten southern history emerging in the 1950s and sixties was more pedestrian: a yellow bus, a spartan courtroom...

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VII. The Last Crusade: Voting Rights, 1962–1965 [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 149-173

For years, blacks bravely climbed county courthouse steps to register to vote. The registrars, if they were there, would sometimes smile and say, "Who you work for, boy?" and the courage would be gone. On occasion, the voting official would go through the motions, administer a literacy test or inquire...

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VIII. The First Hurrah: Black Ballots

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pp. 174-198

The scene was chillingly familiar. Blacks and whites marched down Broad Street with Pettus Bridge looming in the distance. Freedom songs filled the spring morning air. Alabama state troopers flanked the bridge and the highway to Montgomery beyond. Television crews and reporters watched...

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IX. The Rough Side of the Mountain: The Black Economy, 1965–1976

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pp. 199-226

Just before Thanksgiving Day, 1966, Charlie White, a poor black tenant farmer in Sumter County, Alabama, received the following letter from his landlord: Charlie: This letter is to advise you that the land which you have been renting from me for the past several years will no longer be available to you for rent. I have rented...

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X. No Broad Highways: Class and Race in the South Since 1976 [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 227-255

If it is possible to divide a moral and cultural movement into discrete periods of time, then the result of the civil rights movement might look something like this: Confrontation (the years prior to 1965); Consolidation (1965-76); and Confusion (1976 to the present). By the mid- 1970s, it was apparent...

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XI. Mountaintops and Green Valleys: Beyond Race in the Modern South

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pp. 256-278

Harry Briggs remembers the long, weary, dangerous battle. It began with a simple request for a school bus and culminated with a historic ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Looking back nearly forty years later, Briggs, in his early seventies and still living in Clarendon County, South Carolina, contrasted the hope...

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Bibliographical Essay

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pp. 279-312

The struggle for regional redemption was rooted in southern culture. W. J. Cash's The Mind of the South (New York, 1941) is the essential starting point for an understanding of southern culture despite its emphasis on the southern Piedmont. Cash effectively connects the attempt to preserve white supremacy with the closed nature of southern society...


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pp. 313-321

E-ISBN-13: 9780807154052
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807116821

Page Count: 364
Publication Year: 1991