My Mind Set on Freedom: A History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968

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Ivan R. Dee, 1997 - Political Science - 176 pages
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This is the story of the drive to free the American South from the shackles of legally sanctioned racial segregation. To chart the course of the American civil rights movement from 1954 to 1968 in fewer than 200 pages - and do it justice - is a remarkable accomplishment. This is what John Salmond has done, in a lively and compact narrative. Mr. Salmond sets the scene by looking at the first stirrings of black unrest prompted by New Deal policies in the 1930s and by the liberating experiences of blacks abroad and at home during World War II. He notes how labor activism; federal attempts at racial justice, and unheralded private initiatives after the war marked the beginnings of change in the South. Meanwhile the NAACP continued a sophisticated legal struggle to secure black equality through the courts. When the Supreme Court overturned school segregation in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the issue was joined for the South and the nation. Mr. Salmond traces the Southern opposition to change as it confronted a growing black militancy led by Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. Dramatic, often violent events captured the nation's attention. Ultimately the Kennedy administration responded to growing pressures. When Lyndon Johnson secured the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, it was clear the movement had triumphed - yet it was also starting to unravel. In taking the story to the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Mr. Salmond explains the collapse of the civil rights movement but shows how it transformed the American South.

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The Schoolhouse Door
Sittingin for Justice Riding for Freedom

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About the author (1997)

John A. Salmond is professor of American history at La Trobe University in Australia. He has written widely on Southern history and is author of Gastonia, 1929: The Conscience of a Lawyer; and A Southern Rebel.

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