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After decades of scholarship on the civil rights movement at the local level, the insights of bottom-up movement history remain essentially invisible in the accepted narrative of the movement and peripheral to debates on how to research, document, and teach about the movement. This collection of original works refocuses attention on this bottom-up history and compels a rethinking of what and who we think is central to the movement.

The essays examine such locales as Sunflower County, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; and Wilson, North Carolina; and engage such issues as nonviolence and self-defense, the implications of focusing on women in the movement, and struggles for freedom beyond voting rights and school desegregation. Events and incidents discussed range from the movement’s heyday to the present and include the Poor People’s Campaign mule train to Washington, D.C., the popular response to the deaths of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, and political cartoons addressing Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

The kinds of scholarship represented here—which draw on oral history and activist insights (along with traditional sources) and which bring the specificity of time and place into dialogue with broad themes and a national context—are crucial as we continue to foster scholarly debates, evaluate newer conceptual frameworks, and replace the superficial narrative that persists in the popular imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820338651
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 03/15/2011
Pages: 510
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

EMILYE CROSBY is a professor of history at the State University of New York at Geneseo. She is the author of A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction. The Politics of Writing and Teaching Movement History Emilye Crosby 1

Part 1 Local Studies as Case Studies

Local People and National Leaders: The View from Mississippi John Dittmer 43

Challenging the Civil Rights Narrative: Women, Gender, and the "Politics of Protection" Laurie B. Green 52

Finding Fannie Corbett: Black Women and the Transformation of Civil Rights Narratives in Wilson, North Carolina Charles W. McKinney 81

The 1968 Poor People's Campaign, Marks, Mississippi, and the Mule Train: Fighting Poverty Locally, Representing Poverty Nationally Amy Nathan Wright 109

Part 2 From Local Studies to Synthesis

Focusing Our Eyes on the Prize: How Community Studies Are Reframing and Rewriting the History of the Civil Rights Movement J. Todd Moye 147

Freedom Now: Nonviolence in the Southern Freedom Movement, 1960-1964 Wesley Hogan 172

"It wasn't the Wild West": Keeping Local Studies in Self-Defense Historiography Emilye Crosby 194

Part 3 Creating and Communicating Movement History: Methodology and Theory

Remaking History: Barack Obama, Political Cartoons, and the Civil Rights Movement Hasan Kwame Jeffries 259

Making Eyes on the Prize: An Interview with Filmmaker and SNCC Staffer Judy Richardson Emilye Crosby 278

"Sexism is a helluva thing": Rethinking Our Questions and Assumptions Charles M. Payne 319

Telling Freedom Stories from the Inside Out: Internal Politics and Movement Cultures in SNCC and the Black Panther Party Robyn C. Spencer Wesley Hogan 330

That Movement Responsibility: An Interview with Judy Richardson on Movement Values and Movement History Emilye Crosby 366

Accidental Matriarchs and Beautiful Helpmates: Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, and the Memorialization of the Civil Rights Movement Jeanne Theoharis 385

Why Study the Movement? A Conversation on Movement Values and Movement History Charles M. Payne 419

Conclusion. "Doesn't everybody want to grow up to be Ella Baker?": Teaching Movement History Emilye Crosby 448

Contributors 477

Index 481

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