Leading scholars reassess the origins and trajectory of the American civil rights movement. Essays highlight the importance of black activism in the 1930s and 1940s and show how white liberals misunderstood the movement. Comparisons with Britain and South Africa reveal how movement leaders secured sympathetic responses at home and abroad and how nonviolence characterised the movement. The essays also challenge traditional concepts of 'race' and 'racial equality', consider the impact of the struggle on participants and trace black political thought since the 1960s.
BRIAN WARD is a Lecturer in American History at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and Director of that institution's Martin Luther King Memorial Conference. He has published widely on African-American history and culture and is completing a book on African-American popular music and the civil rights and black power movements.
TONY BADGER is Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge. He previously taught for over twenty years at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He is the author Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobacco and North Carolina and The New Deal: The Depression Years 1933-40.