This engaging collection of biographies explores the greater civil rights movement in America from Reconstruction to the 1970s while emphasizing the importance of grassroots actions and individual agency in the effort to bring about national civil renewal. While focusing on the importance of individuals on the local level working towards civil rights they also explore the influence that this primarily African-American movement had on others including La Raza, the Native American Movement, feminism, and gay rights. By widening the time frame studied, these essays underscore the difficult, often unrewarded and generational nature of social change.
Susan M. Glisson is director of the Institute for Racial Reconciliation and assistant professor of southern studies at the University of Mississippi.
Introduction: The Human Tradition and Civil Rights Part I: Hope is Born Chapter 1: Abraham Galloway: Prophet of Biracial America Chapter 2: Homer Plessy: Unsuccessful Challenger to Jim Crow Chapter 3: James K. Vardaman: "A Vote for White Supremacy" and the Politics of Racism Part II: Should We Stay or Should We Go? Chapter 4: Ida B. Wells: Higher Law and Community Justice Chapter 5: A. Philip Randolph: Labor and the New Black Politics Chapter 6: Lucy Randolph Mason: "The Rest of Us" Part III: Awakenings Chapter 7: Amzie Moore: The Biographical Roots of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi Chapter 8: James Lawson: The Nashville Civil Rights Movement Chapter 9: Charles Sherrod and Martin Luther King Jr.: Mass Action and Nonviolence in Albany Part IV: Freedom Is a Constant Struggle Chapter 10: Diane Nash: "Courage Displaces Fear, Love Transforms Hate": Civil Rights Activism and the Commitment to Nonviolence Chapter 11: Mae Bertha Carter: These Tiny Fingers Chapter 12: Robert F. Williams: "Black Power" and the Roots of the African American Freedom Struggle Part V: The Borning Movement Chapter 13: Judith Brown: Freedom Fighter Chapter 14: Jose Angel Gutierrez: La Raza Unida and Scholarship for Social Justice Chapter 15: Leonard Peltier: A Small Part of a Much Larger Story Chapter 16: Sylvia Rivera: Fighting in Her Heels: Stonewall, Civil Rights, and Liberation