The Sit-Ins, SNCC, and Cold War Patriotism

Simon Hall

in From Sit-Ins to SNCC

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041513
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043883 | DOI:
The Sit-Ins, SNCC, and Cold War Patriotism

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This chapter by Simon Hall examines another element of SNCC's intellectual transformation. While segregationists routinely denounced the outburst of student sit-in protest in 1960 as the work of communists, civil rights activists were assiduous in linking their demonstrations to the international struggle between the free world and the forces of totalitarian ideology. This chapter traces the use of Cold War patriotism by early student protestors and SNCC and its eventual replacement with a more critical internationalism that emphasized global solidarity among non-white peoples and condemned U.S. foreign policy as racist, expansionist, and imperialistic. It concludes, however, that the new ascendancy of this perspective, which had always been present within SNCC, had a damaging effect on the organization's capacity to attract wider public and political support.

Keywords: Sit-Ins; SNCC; Patriotism; Cold War; U.S. Foreign Policy

Chapter.  7766 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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