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Brown Decision, Jim Crow, and Southern Identity Cover

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Brown Decision, Jim Crow, and Southern Identity

James C. Cobb

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling was a watershed event in the fight against racial segregation in the United States. The recent fiftieth anniversary of Brown prompted a surge of tributes: books, television and radio specials, conferences, and speeches. At the same time, says James C. Cobb, it revealed a growing trend of dismissiveness and negativity toward Brown and other accomplishments of the civil rights movement. Writing as both a lauded historian and a white southerner from the last generation to grow up under southern apartheid, Cobb responds to what he sees as distortions of Brown’s legacy and their implied disservice to those whom it inspired and empowered.

Cobb begins by looking at how our historical understanding of segregation has evolved since the Brown decision. In particular, he targets the tenacious misconception that racial discrimination was at odds with economic modernization--and so would have faded out, on its own, under market pressures. He then looks at the argument that Brown energized white resistance more than it fomented civil rights progress. This position overstates the pace and extent of racial change in the South prior to Brown, Cobb says, while it understates Brown’s role in catalyzing and legitimizing subsequent black protest.

Finally, Cobb suggests that the Brown decree and the civil rights movement accomplished not only more than certain critics have acknowledged but also more than the hard statistics of black progress can reveal. The destruction of Jim Crow, with its “denial of belonging,” allowed African Americans to embrace their identity as southerners in ways that freed them to explore links between their southernness and their blackness. This is an important and timely reminder of “what the Brown court and the activists who took the spirit of its ruling into the streets were up against, both historically and contemporaneously.”

Brown Tide Rising Cover

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Brown Tide Rising

Metaphors of Latinos in Contemporary American Public Discourse

By Otto Santa Ana

Applying the insights of cognitive metaphor theory to an extensive natural language data set drawn from hundreds of articles in the Los Angeles Times and other media, Santa Ana reveals how metaphorical language portrays Latinos as invaders, outsiders, burdens, parasites, diseases, animals, and weeds.

Buried in the Sands of the Ogaden Cover

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Buried in the Sands of the Ogaden

The United States, the Horn of Africa, and the Demise of Détente

When the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the Soviet Union and United States faltered during the administration of Jimmy Carter, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski claimed that “SALT lies buried in the sands of the Ogaden.” How did superpower détente survive Vietnam but stumble in the Horn of Africa? Historian Louise Woodroofe takes Brzezinski’s claim as a starting point to analyze superpower relations during the 1970s, and in so doing she reveals how conflict in East Africa became a critical turning point in the ongoing Cold War battle for supremacy.

Despite representing the era of détente, the 1970s superficially appeared to be one of Soviet successes and American setbacks. As such, the Soviet Union wanted the United States to recognize it as an equal power. However, Washington interpreted détente as a series of agreements and compromises designed to draw Moscow into an international system through which the United States could exercise some control over its rival, particularly in the Third World. These differing interpretations would prove to be the inherent flaw of détente, and nowhere was this better demonstrated than in the conflict in the Horn of Africa in 1974–78.

The Ogaden War between Ethiopia and Somalia involved a web of shifting loyalties, as the United States and Soviet Union alternately supported both sides at different points. Woodroofe explores how the war represented a larger debate over U.S. foreign policy, which led Carter to take a much harder line against the Soviet Union. In a crucial post-Vietnam test of U.S. power, the American foreign policy establishment was unable to move beyond the prism of competition with the Soviet Union.

The conflict and its superpower involvement turned out to be disasters for all involved, and many of the region’s current difficulties trace their historic antecedents to this period. Soviet assistance propped up an Ethiopian regime that terrorized its people, reorganized its agricultural system to disastrous effects in the well-known famines of the 1980s, and kept it one of the poorest countries in the world. Somalia’s defeat in the Ogaden War started its descent into a failed state. Eritrea, which had successfully fought Ethiopia prior to the introduction of Soviet and Cuban assistance, had to endure more than a decade more of repression.

Business in Black and White Cover

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Business in Black and White

American Presidents and Black Entrepreneurs in the Twentieth Century

Robert Weems, Lewis Randolph

Business in Black and White provides a panoramic discussion of various initiatives that American presidents have supported to promote black business development in the United States. Many assume that U.S. government interest in promoting black entrepreneurship began with Richard Nixon's establishment of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE) in 1969. Drawn from a variety of sources, Robert E. Weems, Jr.'s comprehensive work extends the chronology back to the Coolidge Administration with a compelling discussion of the Commerce Departmen's "Division of Negro Affairs."

Weems deftly illustrates how every administration since Coolidge has addressed the subject of black business development, from campaign promises to initiatives to downright roadblocks. Although the governmen's influence on black business dwindled during the Eisenhower Administration, Weems points out that the subject was reinvigorated during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations and, in fact, during the early-to-mid 1960s, when "civil rights" included the right to own and operate commercial enterprises. After Nixon's resignation, support for black business development remained intact, though it met resistance and continues to do so even today. As a historical text with contemporary significance, Business in Black and White is an original contribution to the realms of African American history, the American presidency, and American business history.

California Crucible Cover

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California Crucible

The Forging of Modern American Liberalism

By Jonathan Bell

In the three decades following World War II, the Golden State was not only the fastest-growing state in the Union but also the site of significant political change. From the late 1940s through the mid-1970s, a generation of liberal activists transformed the political landscape of California, ending Republican dominance of state politics and eventually setting the tone for the Democratic Party nationwide.

In California Crucible, Jonathan Bell chronicles this dramatic story of postwar liberalism—from early grassroots organizing and the election of Pat Brown as governor in 1958 to the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and the campaigns against the New Right in the 1970s. As Bell argues, the emergent "California liberalism" was a distinctly post-New Deal phenomenon that drew on the ambitious ideals of the New Deal but adapted them to a diverse population. The result was a broad coalition that sought to extend social democracy to marginalized groups—such as gay rights and civil rights organizations—that had not been well served by the Democratic Party in earlier decades. In building this coalition, liberal activists forged an ideology capable of bringing Latino farm workers, African American civil rights activists, and wealthy suburban homemakers into a shared political project.

By exploring California Democrats' largely successful attempts to link economic rights to civil rights and serve the needs of diverse groups, Bell challenges common assumptions about the rise of the New Right and the decline of American liberalism in the postwar era. As Bell shows, by the end of the 1970s California had become the spiritual home of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party as much as that of the Reagan Revolution.

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A Call to Conscience

The Anti-Contra War Campaign

Roger Peace

Unlike earlier U.S. interventions in Latin America, the Reagan administration’s attempt to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua during the 1980s was not allowed to proceed quietly. Tens of thousands of American citizens organized and agitated against U.S. aid to the counterrevolutionary guerrillas, known as “contras.” Believing the Contra War to be unnecessary, immoral, and illegal, they challenged the administration’s Cold War stereotypes, warned of “another Vietnam,” and called on the United States to abide by international norms. A Call to Conscience offers the first comprehensive history of the anti–Contra War campaign and its Nicaragua connections. Roger Peace places this eight-year campaign in the context of previous American interventions in Latin America, the Cold War, and other grassroots oppositional movements. Based on interviews with American and Nicaraguan citizens and leaders, archival records of activist organizations, and official government documents, this book reveals activist motivations, analyzes the organizational dynamics of the anti–Contra War campaign, and contrasts perceptions of the campaign in Managua and Washington. Peace shows how a variety of civic groups and networks—religious, leftist, peace, veteran, labor, women’s rights—worked together in a decentralized campaign that involved extensive transnational cooperation.

Camille, 1969 Cover

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Camille, 1969

Histories of a Hurricane

Mark M. Smith

Thirty-six years before Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and southern Mississippi, the region was visited by one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the United States: Camille.

Mark M. Smith offers three highly original histories of the storm’s impact in southern Mississippi. In the first essay Smith examines the sensory experience and impact of the hurricane—how the storm rearranged and challenged residents’ senses of smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste. The second essay explains the way key federal officials linked the question of hurricane relief and the desegregation of Mississippi’s public schools. Smith concludes by considering the political economy of short- and long-term disaster recovery, returning to issues of race and class.

Camille, 1969 offers stories of survival and experience, of the tenacity of social justice in the face of a natural disaster, and of how recovery from Camille worked for some but did not work for others. Throughout these essays are lessons about how we might learn from the past in planning for recovery from natural disasters in the future.

Campus Wars Cover

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Campus Wars

The Peace Movement At American State Universities in the Vietnam Era

Kenneth Heineman

"At the same time that the dangerous war was being fought in the jungles of Vietnam, Campus Wars were being fought in the United States by antiwar protesters. Kenneth J. Heineman found that the campus peace campaign was first spurred at state universities rather than at the big-name colleges. His useful book examines the outside forces, like military contracts and local communities, that led to antiwar protests on campus."
—Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times

"Shedding light on the drastic change in the social and cultural roles of campus life, Campus Wars looks at the way in which the campus peace campaign took hold and became a national movement."
History Today

"Heineman's prodigious research in a variety of sources allows him to deal with matters of class, gender, and religion, as well as ideology. He convincingly demonstrates that, just as state universities represented the heartland of America, so their student protest movements illustrated the real depth of the anguish over US involvement in Vietnam. Highly recommended."
Choice

"Represents an enormous amount of labor and fills many gaps in our knowledge of the anti-war movement and the student left."
—Irwin Unger, author of These United States

The 1960s left us with some striking images of American universities: Berkeley activists orating about free speech atop a surrounded police car; Harvard SDSers waylaying then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; Columbia student radicals occupying campus buildings; and black militant Cornell students brandishing rifles, to name just a few. Tellingly, the most powerful and notorious image of campus protest is that of a teenage runaway, arms outstretched in anguish, kneeling beside the bloodied corpse of Jeff Miller at Kent State University.

While much attention has been paid to the role of elite schools in fomenting student radicalism, it was actually at state institutions, such as Kent State, Michigan State, SUNY, and Penn State, where anti-Vietnam war protest blossomed. Kenneth Heineman has pored over dozens of student newspapers, government documents, and personal archives, interviewed scores of activists, and attended activist reunions in an effort to recreate the origins of this historic movement. In Campus Wars, he presents his findings, examining the involvement of state universities in military research — and the attitudes of students, faculty, clergy, and administrators thereto — and the manner in which the campus peace campaign took hold and spread to become a national movement. Recreating watershed moments in dramatic narrative fashion, this engaging book is both a revisionist history and an important addition to the chronicle of the Vietnam War era.

Cannon Mills and Kannapolis Cover

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Cannon Mills and Kannapolis

Persistent Paternalism in a Textile Town

Timothy W. Vanderburg

Cannon Mills was once the country’s largest manufacturer of household textiles, and in many ways it exemplified the textile industry and paternalism in the postbellum South. At the same time, however, its particular brand of paternalism was much stronger and more enduring than elsewhere, and it remained in place long after most of the industry had transitioned to modern, bureaucratic management.
     In Cannon Mills and Kannapolis, Tim Vanderburg critically examines the rise of the Cannon Mills textile company and the North Carolina community that grew up around it. Beginning with the founding of the company and the establishment of its mill town by James W. Cannon, the author draws on a wealth of primary sources to show how, under Cannon’s paternalism, workers developed a collective identity and for generations accepted the limits this paternalism placed on their freedom. After exploring the growth and maturation of Cannon Mills against the backdrop of World War I and its aftermath, Vanderburg examines the impact of the Great Depression and World War II and then analyzes the postwar market forces that, along with federal policies and unionization, set in motion the industry’s shift from a paternalistic model to bureaucratic authority. The final section of the book traces the decline of paternalism and the eventual decline of Cannon Mills when the death of the founder’s son, Charles Cannon, led to three successive sales of the company. Pillowtex, its final owner, filed for bankruptcy and was liquidated in 2003.
    Vanderburg uses Cannon Mills’s intriguing history to help answer some of the larger questions involving industry and paternalism in the postbellum South. Complete with maps and historic photographs, this authoritative, highly readable account of one company and the town it created adds a captivating layer of complexity to our understanding of southern capitalism.

Captain James A. Baker of Houston, 1857-1941 Cover

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Captain James A. Baker of Houston, 1857-1941

Kate Sayen Kirkland

Captain James A. Baker, Houston lawyer, banker, and businessman, received an alarming telegram on September 23, 1900: his elderly millionaire client William Marsh Rice had died unexpectedly in New York City. Baker rushed to New York, where he unraveled a plot to murder Rice and plunder his estate. Working tirelessly with local authorities, Baker saved Rice’s fortune from more than one hundred claimants; he championed the wishes of his deceased client and founded Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art—today’s internationally acclaimed Rice University. ?For fifty years Captain Baker nurtured Rice’s dream. He partnered with leading lawyers to create Houston’s first nationally recognized law firm: Baker, Botts, Lovett & Parker, now the worldwide legal practice of Baker Botts L.L.P. He chartered several Houston businesses and utility companies, developed two major regional banks, promoted real estate projects, and led an active civic life. To expand the Institute’s endowment, Baker invested William Marsh Rice’s fortune with local entrepreneurs, who were building homes, office towers, commercial enterprises, and institutions that transformed Houston from a small town in the nineteenth century to an international powerhouse in the twenty-first century. ?Author Kate Sayen Kirkland explored the archival records of Baker and his family and firm and carefully mined the archives of Baker’s contemporaries. Published as part of Rice University’s centennial celebration, Captain James A. Baker of Houston, 1857–1941 weaves together the history of Houston and the story of an influential man who labored all his life to make Houston a world-class city.

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