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After the Dream

Black and White Southerners since 1965

Timothy Minchin

Publication Year: 2011

Martin Luther King’s 1965 address from Montgomery, Alabama, the center of much racial conflict at the time and the location of the well-publicized bus boycott a decade earlier, is often considered by historians to be the culmination of the civil rights era in American history. In his momentous speech, King declared that segregation was “on its deathbed” and that the movement had already achieved significant milestones. Although the civil rights movement had won many battles in the struggle for racial equality by the mid-1960s, including legislation to guarantee black voting rights and to desegregate public accommodations, the fight to implement the new laws was just starting. In reality, King’s speech in Montgomery represented a new beginning rather than a conclusion to the movement, a fact that King acknowledged in the address. After the Dream: Black and White Southerners since 1965 begins where many histories of the civil rights movement end, with King’s triumphant march from the iconic battleground of Selma to Montgomery. Timothy J. Minchin and John Salmond focus on events in the South following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. After the Dream examines the social, economic, and political implications of these laws in the decades following their passage, discussing the empowerment of black southerners, white resistance, accommodation and acceptance, and the nation’s political will. The book also provides a fascinating history of the often-overlooked period of race relations during the presidential administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, and both George H. W. and George W. Bush. Ending with the election of President Barack Obama, this study will influence contemporary historiography on the civil rights movement.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

This book begins where many histories of the civil rights movement end—with Martin Luther King’s triumphal march from the iconic battleground of Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, where ten years previously Rosa Parks had refused to yield...

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pp. 1-10

On March 25, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a crowd of more than twenty-five thousand onlookers from the imposing steps of the Alabama state capitol. As he returned to the city where Rosa Parks had precipitated the iconic bus boycott, the...

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pp. 11-33

In the Johnson years, civil rights campaigners faced many challenges. By the summer of 1965, the United States was deeply embroiled in the war in Vietnam, a conflict that drew attention and funding away from racial issues. Just a week after the Voting Rights Act...

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pp. 34-57

The Johnson administration’s record was not so impressive when it came to desegregating southern schools and workplaces. In these areas, white resistance was greater, and the civil rights legislation was less effective. Rather than moving quickly, the administration took its time in establishing the new EEOC and drawing up school...

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pp. 58-80

In the early evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was felled by a single shot as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Traveling at a speed of 2,670 feet per second, the bullet was fired by James Earl Ray, an escaped convict and Klan...

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pp. 81-106

In February 1970, the mayor of Trussville, Alabama, wrote President Nixon to let him know how local people felt about federal orders to integrate their schools. “In all my experience, in war and in peace,” explained Roland Crabbe, “I have never known...

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pp. 107-127

On April 20, 1971, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the landmark Swann case. Originally prompted by the efforts of the black missionary Darius Swann to send his six-year-old son to an all-white school, the case went to the Supreme Court after the school...

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pp. 128-144

Away from the classroom, black southerners made some significant gains in the early 1970s. The rapid integration of public facilities prompted many to move to the region, reversing a pattern of out-migration that dated back to World War I....

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pp. 145-167

At 10 A.M. on July 1, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford rose to address the NAACP’s sixty-sixth annual convention in Washington, DC. The new president received hearty applause as he praised America’s oldest civil rights group as a “unique organization” with...

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pp. 168-186

During Carter’s presidency, the civil rights movement certainly made some important gains. Known for his integrity, Carter symbolized how some southern whites had become more sympathetic to the black cause. Anxious to try and heal racial divisions, the new...

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pp. 187-205

Nowhere were the disappointments of the Carter years more apparent than in the economic arena. Throughout the Carter presidency, the economic downturn had a harsh impact on African Americans, who remained vulnerable to layoffs. As one black leader commented in 1979, “When this economy sneezes, we get pneumonia.”....

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pp. 206-236

“I am still trying to descend from Cloud 9, Strommie Boy [Senator Thurmond], will never descend,” wrote an exultant Harry Dent shortly after Ronald Reagan’s election triumph. Thurmond’s sense of high elation typified the reaction of much of the white South to...

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pp. 237-253

“When the subject is civil rights,” wrote the journalist Steven A. Holmes in 1991, there were “two George Bushes.” There was the George Bush who told a cheering group of black supporters in town for his inauguration that King’s dream of equality would be “a vision for his tenure,” who talked movingly of the “moral stain of segregation”...

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pp. 254-272

When Josephine Boyd Bradley returned to Grimsley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, on March 30, 2006, the reception she received could scarcely have been more different than that which greeted her when she had first nervously entered its doors in September 1957. Then, as the only African American in....

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pp. 273-299

No southern State government has ever seriously considered establishing a body like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a means of examining the crimes and injustices of the segregation years, of giving victims and their families a chance...

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pp. 300-304

The narrative in this book ends in December 2007 and, thus, does not cover the epochal presidential election campaign of 2008 or the unfolding story of Barack Obama’s presidency. Yet nothing is of more significance to its narrative than his triumph. The myriad commentators who saw his accession to power as the fruition of...


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pp. 305-376


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pp. 377-392


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pp. 393-405


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pp. 406-413

E-ISBN-13: 9780813129884
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813129785

Page Count: 424
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Southern States -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • Southern States -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Segregation -- History -- 20th century.
  • Segregation in education -- Southern States -- History.
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