Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American by Mary L. Dudziak

By Mary L. Dudziak

In 1958, an African-American handyman named Jimmy Wilson was once sentenced to die in Alabama for stealing money. stunning as this sentence was once, it was once overturned basically after extreme foreign consciousness and the interference of an embarrassed John Foster Dulles. quickly after the U.S.' segregated army defeated a racist regime in global conflict II, American racism was once a massive trouble of U.S. allies, a primary Soviet propaganda topic, and a drawback to American chilly struggle ambitions all through Africa, Asia, and Latin the USA. every one lynching harmed overseas family, and "the Negro challenge" grew to become a imperative factor in each management from Truman to Johnson.

In what could be the most sensible research of ways diplomacy affected any household factor, Mary Dudziak translates postwar civil rights as a chilly conflict characteristic. She argues that the chilly conflict helped facilitate key social reforms, together with desegregation. Civil rights activists won super virtue because the govt sought to shine its foreign photo. yet bettering the nation's recognition didn't regularly require genuine switch. This concentrate on snapshot instead of substance--combined with constraints on McCarthy-era political activism and the triumph of law-and-order rhetoric--limited the character and quantity of progress.

Archival info, a lot of it newly on hand, helps Dudziak's argument that civil rights used to be chilly conflict coverage. however the tale is usually one in all humans: an African-American veteran of worldwide warfare II lynched in Georgia; an lawyer common flooded by means of civil rights petitions from overseas; the kids who desegregated Little Rock's imperative excessive; African diplomats denied eating place carrier; black artists dwelling in Europe and helping the civil rights circulate from abroad; conservative politicians viewing desegregation as a communist plot; and civil rights leaders who observed their fight eclipsed via Vietnam.

Never ahead of has any pupil so without delay attached civil rights and the chilly struggle. Contributing mightily to our figuring out of either, Dudziak advances--in transparent and full of life prose--a new wave of scholarship that corrects isolationist developments in American heritage by means of making use of a world standpoint to family affairs.

In her new preface, Dudziak discusses the way in which the chilly conflict figures into civil rights background, and info this book's origins, as one query approximately civil rights couldn't be replied with no broadening her learn from household to foreign impacts on American history.

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