Defying Dixie by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore
The Radical Roots of Civil Rights: 1919-1950

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“Remarkable . . . an eye-opening book [on] the freedom struggle that changed the South, the nation, and the world.” —Washington Post

The civil rights movement that looms over the 1950s and 1960s was the tip of an iceberg, the legal and political remnant of a broad, raucous, deeply American movement for social justice that flourished from the 1920s through the 1940s. This rich history of that early movement introduces us to a contentious mix of home-grown radicals, labor activists, newspaper editors, black workers, and intellectuals who employed every strategy imaginable to take Dixie down. In a dramatic narrative Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore deftly shows how the movement unfolded against national and global developments, gaining focus and finally arriving at a narrow but effective legal strategy for securing desegregation and political rights.

About Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore

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Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore is the Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History at Yale University. A North Carolina native, she writes extensively on Southern history. She and her family live in New Haven, Connecticut.
Published August 10, 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company. 664 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Philip Randolph, Paul Robeson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Thurgood Marshall—dot the narrative, but this story’s charm lies in the sensitive mini-portraits of lesser-known recurring characters: Lovett Fort-Whiteman, the first American-born black communist;

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The New York Times

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Gilmore argues, “removed white liberal forces from Southern politics at the very moment that they were crucial to the extension of meaningful political and civil rights to the vast majority of black Southerners.” “Defying Dixie” should more pointedly blame Soviet behavior for the Southern left’s...

Jan 04 2008 | Read Full Review of Defying Dixie: The Radical Ro...

The New York Times

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In the style of many radicals of the era, he became a thorough Russophile: in Gilmore’s marvelous account, he walks down a street in a black neighborhood in Chicago greeting friends shortly after his return from his pilgrimage to Moscow, sporting a robochka — a Russian peasant blouse — as well as...

Feb 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Defying Dixie: The Radical Ro...

Project MUSE

It’s against this international backdrop that Gilmore introduces the communist “solution.” It offered an international challenge equal to the insidious racial “uplift ” of Jim Crow.

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