Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945–1968 (Debating Twentieth-Century America)

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9780847690534: Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945–1968 (Debating Twentieth-Century America)

No other book about the civil rights movement captures the drama and impact of the black struggle for equality better than Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945–1968. Written by two of the most respected scholars of African-American history, Steven F. Lawson and Charles Payne examine the individuals who made the movement a success, both at the highest level of government and in the grassroots trenches. Designed specifically for college and university courses in American history, this is the best introduction available to the glory and agony of these turbulent times.

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About the Author:

Steven F. Lawson is professor of history at Rutgers University and author of Running for Freedom: Civil Rights and Black Politics in America since 1941. He lives in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Charles Payne is professor of history and African-American studies at Duke University and author of I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Payne lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Review:

This edifying compilation of diverse documents and the rich Lawson/Payne debate is certain to stimulate lively exchanges in and out of classrooms about movement origins, gender and class issues within, and the politics of naming. Debating the Civil Rights Movement is an important book that forces us to rethink the meaning of leadership in, arguably, the most significant movement for social change in 20th century America. Debating the Civil Rights Movement is a passionate dialogue of interpretative difference by two exquisite historians. Steven Lawson and Charles Payne's insightful and provocative essays bracket astutely selected primary documents that challenge us all, students, scholars, and general readers to ask new questions and revisit old assumptions. Lawson and Payne have given to us an uniquely exciting, useful, and yes, unsettling, book. (Darlene Clark Hine)

As President Clinton's recent Initiative on Race makes clear, 'race' has for centuries been a central contradiction within American democracy life. Payne and Lawson carefully document the richly diverse history of the struggle to desegregate American society. This outstanding volume illustrates fully the accomplishments and limitations of the Second Reconstruction. Debating the Civil Rights Movement makes an important scholarly contribution to our understanding of a shared racial history. (Marable, Manning)

This splendid analytic treatment of the civil rights era should be required reading for undergraduates and scholars alike. (John Dittmer)

A useful, readable, and provocative book from a series that aims to bring important current historiographical and methodological debates into undergraduate classrooms. Debating the Civil Rights Movement is so well done, however, that is is also highly recommended for nonspecialist graduate students and even professors look to brush up on their civil rights historiography. (Derek Catsam H-Pol)

This splendid volume is the first of a new series that takes a fresh approach to the task of presenting different viewpoints about our recent past. This volume consists of just two essays written from opposing perspectives but comprehensive in their treatment of the subject under discussion. Indeed Lawson and Payne are such fair-minded and careful scholars that many readers may carry away the notion that not as much separates them in their debate as is officially claimed. That the excellence of the essays mutes some of the conflict between them does not diminish the value of this challenging approach to twentieth-century America. (The Journal Of Southern History)

These are both excellent essays. They will make an interesting book, a wonderful book to teach, and a superb learning tool. (Harvard Sitkoff)

A useful, readable, and provocative book from a series that aims to bring important current historiographical and methodological debates into undergraduate classrooms. This book is so well done, however, that it is also highly recommended for nonspecialist graduate students and even professors looking to brush up on their civil rights historiography. (H-Net Reviews)

If the other books in the series are as well considered as this one they should prove a great aid to a better understanding of the nature of historical writing. These books would appear to be useful vehicles to initiate classroom discussions on the topics covered as well as the question of 'truth' in historical study. (Race Relations Abstracts)

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Lawson, Steven F., Payne, Charles
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