Simple Decency and Common Sense: The Southern Conference Movement, 1938--1963

Linda Reed, Author
Linda Reed, Author Indiana University Press $31.5 (288p) ISBN 978-0-253-34895-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-253-20912-2
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``The southern conference movement operated on high idealism and wanted for the South what most southerners were not willing to allow--equal opportunity without the handicap of racial bias perpetuated by segregation.'' In a detailed chronology of 25 years of idealism among a group of black and white liberals, we are offered a picture of the seminal organization that was a forerunner of the very different civil rights movement that developed in the '60s. Reed, who teaches history at the University of Houston, sees the founding of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare in Birmingham, Ala., in 1938 as the start of a progressive movement that arose from the dire economic situation of both blacks and whites in the Southern states. The organization was often at odds with other direct-action groups like the NAACP while it pursued legislative approaches and dealt with internecine difficulties and political crises. A factual record assembled in depth, this is an important contribution to the archives of integration and nondiscrimination. Photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)
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