There were many little-known challenges to racial segregation before the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The author's oral history interviews highlight civil rights protests seldom considered significant, but that help us understand the beginnings of the civil rights struggle before it became a mass movement. She brings to light many important but largely forgotten events, such as the often overlooked 1950s Oklahoma sit-in protests that provided a model for the better-known Greensboro, North Carolina, sit-ins.This book's significance lies in its challenge to perspectives that dominate scholarship on the civil rights movement. The broader concepts illustrated-including agency, culture, social structure, and situations-throughout this book open up substantially more of the complexity of the civil rights struggle. This book employs a methodology for analyzing not just the civil rights movement but other social movements and, indeed, social change in general.
Jean Van Delinder is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Women's Studies at Oklahoma State University.