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African-Americans and the Quest for Civil Rights, 1900-1990

Sean Cashman

Publication Year: 1992

In this lavishly illustrated volume, Sean Dennis Cashman surveys the history of civil rights in twentieth-century America. The book charts the principal course of civil rights against the dramatic backdrop of two world wars, the Great Depression, the affluent society of the postwar world, the cultural and social agitation of the 1960s, and the emergence of the new conservatism of the 1970s and 1980s.

Cashman describes the profound upheaval that African-Americans experienced as they moved from the outright racism of the South through the Great Migration northward from 1915, and sets the contribution of African-American leaders within their historical context: Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, A. Philip Randolph, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and many others. The work also describes the shift in emphasis in the movement from legal cases brought before the courts to mass protest movements and, later, the change in direction from civil rights to Black Power and, later, Pan-Africanism.

Far more than just a history of civil rights leaders, this book explains how the achievements of African-American writers, artists, singers, and athletes contributed to a wider understanding of the humanity and culture of black Americans. Cashman details, among others, the achievements of the Harlem Renaissance, the films of Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson, and the works of Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. Written in an engaging style, the text is accompanied by a wealth of illustrations, some well known, others in print for the first time.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-xi

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xv

This short book charts in outline the progress of African-Americans in their quest for civil rights in the United States from 1900 to 1990. Primarily a political and social history, it is not a history of achievements on the part of African-American artists...

Part One: Before

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pp. 1-84

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1. Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

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pp. 3-46

The story of African-Americans and their quest for civil rights in the twentieth century, the subject of this book, is a story with deep resonances. It is about nothing less than the transformation of African- American citizens' place in American...

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2. Not in the Mood

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pp. 47-84

Following the Wall Street crash of the great bull market on the New York stock exchange in autumn 1929, America entered a devastating and extended economic depression that lasted for a decade. The Great Depression was an even worse catastrophe...

Part Two: The Second American Revolution

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pp. 85-241

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3. Made Visible

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pp. 87-120

Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man (1952.) captured the imagination of a generation in part because it prophesied something of the metamorphosis of African-Americans who were themselves at various crossroads on their journey to full...

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4. "Black and White Together, We Shall Overcome": Martin Luther King and the Emergence of the Civil Rights Movement

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pp. 121-148

In An American Dilemma (1944) Gunnar Myrdal wrote, "Potentially the Negro church is undoubtedly a power institution. It has the Negro masses organized and, if the church bodies decided to do so, they could line the Negroes behind...

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5. A Dream beyond the New Frontier

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pp. 149-183

In his campaign for the presidency in 1960, Democratic candidate John Kennedy spoke out against the lack of equality for African-Americans whose votes he then garnered by a symbolic act of assistance. In October 1960 Martin Luther King and fifty-one other people were...

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6. Civil Rights and Black Power

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pp. 184-215

After almost a hundred years of faltering progress in civil rights, African-American protest underwent in the space of only six short years a momentous shift in emphasis from civil rights to black power. The new form of protest was characterized by a change...

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7. Chaos Is Come Again

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pp. 216-241

With the inauguration of Richard Nixon as president in 1969, the sympathy African-American rights had attracted in the Kennedy and Johnson years seemed to evaporate. Nixon's hard-hearted approach to student demonstrations and civil rights activists was designed...

Part Three: After

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pp. 243-297

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8. Political Access

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pp. 245-276

In the 1970s and 1980s the civil rights movement still had a considerable role to play in American politics—southern, northern, and federal. Many of its bases of support were the same as in the days when it first emerged to the fore in the political...

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9. The Moving Finger

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pp. 277-297

Whatever the final verdict of history on the achievements of civil rights and black power, there is little question that the civil rights and black power movements helped stimulate another renaissance of African-American stories and novels. This was partly...

Bibliography

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pp. 299-308

Index

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pp. 309-321


E-ISBN-13: 9780814723593
E-ISBN-10: 0814723594
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814714416
Print-ISBN-10: 0814714412

Page Count: 337
Publication Year: 1992

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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Civil rights.
  • Civil rights movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • Racism -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Civil rights workers -- United States -- Biography.
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