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Luther P. Jackson and a Life for Civil Rights (New Perspectives on the History of the South)

Dennis, Prof. Michael

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ISBN 10: 0813027276 / ISBN 13: 9780813027272
Published by University Press of Florida, 2004
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Luther P. Jackson and a Life for Civil ...

Publisher: University Press of Florida

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

About this title

Synopsis:

During the 1930s and 1940s, when America had little interest in addressing racial inequality, Luther P. Jackson became a loading voice in the struggle for racial Justice. This biography tells the story of the professor and political activist who cajoled, implored, and lobbied black Virginians to vote - a man who fervently believed that education was at the core of the search for social change. Long before the sit-Ins and freedom marches of the 1960s, Jackson strove to erase the assumptions of racial inferiority that infected African Americans. Understanding that blacks had to change their minds before they could change their world, he set out to make people vote conscious. Descended from ex-slaves, Jackson was born in 1892, attended school in Lexington, Kentucky, and received bachelor's and master's degrees from Fisk University in Tennessee and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Petersburg. Convinced that teachers could sow the seeds of racial equality, he mobilized them along with their students and families. By publishing, organizing, and proselytising on behalf of voting, Jackson stimulated a political awakening among black Virginians. As a target for racial recrimination and hostility, Jackson walked a tightrope of protest and accommodation, one that jeopardized his health, family, and career. Yet he was a tenacious optimist with faith in the political process. legislative maneuvers did not render conventional institutions useless. Largely forgotten, even in Virginia, until the author resurrected his story, Jackson was involved in almost every important civil rights and liberal initiative in the South in the second quarter of the 20th century. His forceful program of political education laid the ground-work for the full-fledged assault on segregation of the 1950s, when Marlin Luther King and other leaders of the civil rights movement emerged to stand on Jackson's shoulders.

Book Description:

From the foreword:
"Carefully researched, elegantly written, and thoughtfully argued. . . . A superb case study of a professor who plowed the fields of racial change in Virginia before, during, and following World War II. . . . Jackson's determined and indefatigable voting rights crusade helped blacks move from the past to the present, from the indignities of Jim Crow to the new freedoms and responsibilities of full citizenship."

"No student of mid-century America can fully understand the transformation of the South and the origins of the civil rights movement without reference to the work and life of Luther P. Jackson. . . . [This work] sheds light on the evolution of African-American ideology, the roots of the civil rights movement, and the unraveling of segregation."--Andrew Lewis, coeditor of The Moderates' Dilemma: Massive Resistance to School Desegregation in Virginia

During the 1930s and 1940s, when America had little interest in addressing racial inequality, Luther P. Jackson became a leading voice in the struggle for racial justice. This biography tells the story of the professor and political activist who cajoled, implored, and lobbied black Virginians to vote--a man who fervently believed that education was at the core of the search for social change.

Long before the sit-ins and freedom marches of the 1960s, Jackson strove to erase the assumptions of racial inferiority that infected African Americans. Understanding that blacks had to change their minds before they could change their world, he set out to make people "vote conscious."

Descended from ex-slaves, Jackson was born in 1892, attended school in Lexington, Kentucky, and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fisk University in Tennessee and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Until his untimely death in 1950, he taught at Virginia State University in Petersburg. Convinced that teachers could sow the seeds of racial equality, he mobilized them along with their students and families. By publishing, organizing, and proselytizing on behalf of voting, Jackson stimulated a political awakening among black Virginians.

As a target for racial recrimination and hostility, Jackson walked a tightrope of protest and accommodation, one that jeopardized his health, family, and career. Yet he was a tenacious optimist with faith in the political process. He took the long view, Michael Dennis notes, recognizing that failed legislative maneuvers did not render conventional institutions useless.

Largely forgotten, even in Virginia, until the author resurrected his story, Jackson was involved in almost every important civil rights and liberal initiative in the South in the second quarter of the 20th century. His forceful program of political education laid the groundwork for the full-fledged assault on segregation of the 1950s, when Martin Luther King and other leaders of the civil rights movement emerged to stand on Jackson's shoulders. 

Michael Dennis is assistant professor of history at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

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