Article

The Civil Rights Movement in the Urban South

Claudrena N. Harold

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History


Published online December 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780199329175 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.013.594

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • US History since 1945
  • Political History
  • Urban History

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

The civil rights movement in the urban South transformed the political, economic, and cultural landscape of post–World War II America. Between 1955 and 1968, African Americans and their white allies relied on nonviolent direct action, political lobbying, litigation, and economic boycotts to dismantle the Jim Crow system. Not all but many of the movement’s most decisive political battles occurred in the cities of Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Greensboro and Durham, North Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia. In these and other urban centers, civil rights activists launched full-throttled campaigns against white supremacy, economic exploitation, and state-sanctioned violence against African Americans. Their fight for racial justice coincided with monumental changes in the urban South as the upsurge in federal spending in the region created unprecedented levels of economic prosperity in the newly forged “Sunbelt.”

A dynamic and multifaceted movement that encompassed a wide range of political organizations and perspectives, the black freedom struggle proved successful in dismantling legal segregation. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 expanded black southerners’ economic, political, and educational opportunities. And yet, many African Americans continued to struggle as they confronted not just the long-term effects of racial discrimination and exclusion but also the new challenges engendered by deindustrialization and urban renewal as well as entrenched patterns of racial segregation in the public-school system.

Keywords: Jim Crow; segregation; sit-in; Civil Rights Act of 1964; Montgomery Bus Boycott; Birmingham; urban renewal; housing

Article.  11787 words. 

Subjects: US History since 1945 ; Political History ; Urban History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or purchase to access all content.