By Glenn T. Eskew
Birmingham served because the level for probably the most dramatic and critical moments within the heritage of the civil rights fight. during this brilliant narrative account, Glenn Eskew lines the evolution of nonviolent protest within the urban, focusing rather at the occasionally tricky intersection of the neighborhood and nationwide activities.
Eskew describes the altering face of Birmingham's civil rights crusade, from the politics of lodging practiced by way of the city's black bourgeoisie within the Nineteen Fifties to neighborhood pastor Fred L. Shuttlesworth's groundbreaking use of nonviolent direct motion to problem segregation through the past due Nineteen Fifties and early Sixties.
In 1963, the nationwide circulate, within the individual of Martin Luther King Jr., became to Birmingham. The nationwide uproar that on Police Commissioner Bull Connor's use of canine and hearth hoses opposed to the demonstrators supplied the impetus at the back of passage of the watershed Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Paradoxically, although, the bigger victory gained within the streets of Birmingham did little for plenty of of the city's black voters, argues Eskew. The cancellation of protest marches ahead of any uncomplicated earnings have been made left Shuttlesworth feeling betrayed whilst King claimed a private victory. whereas African americans have been admitted to the management of the town, the best way strength was once exercised--and for whom--remained essentially unchanged.
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Additional resources for But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle
As long as the city's political economy rested on racial discrimination, legal and extralegal violence resisted challenges to segregation. Thus when civil rights activists took to the streets in the spring of 1963 to break the stalemate in race relations, Birmingham, unlike other southern cities, refused to negotiate. Bull Connor's brutal attempt to suppress the protests logically evolved from Birmingham's industrial heritage with its peculiar socioeconomic and political composition. Yet several white men had recognized the need to address the movement's demands.
Eugene "Bull" Connor provided made-to-order legal violence that, when packaged by the media as footage, photo, and story line, shocked a disbelieving nation and embarrassed a presidency that touted the American consensus of freedom and democracy. Since April 3, 1963, scattered stories on the Birmingham campaign briefly appeared in the back pages of the nation's press. Connor's use of police dogs on April 7 warranted sensational coverage, but the superficial accounts faded quickly from view. Undeterred, activists marched on, with King being arrested on April 12.
The experience was both beneficial and pleasant. Funding from the Einstein Institution facilitated research at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and the Mugar Library at Boston University. Maria and John Anthony welcomed me on my research trip up north. The excellent staff of the University of Georgia Libraries, from Inter-Library Loan to Special Collections, always responded with quick service. The brunt of the research was in the Birmingham Public Library. The staff in Southern History and the Department of Archives and Manuscripts made my work a joy.