Race & Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972

Adam Fairclough, Author University of Georgia Press $50 (610p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1700-7
In studying Louisiana, Fairclough's previous works (Martin Luther King, Jr.) focused only on the post-1955 civil rights movement. Here, he observes that black protest from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s formed a significant movement in its own right. Thus, this sweeping study, which covers much of Louisiana, subtly delves into a rich history. Fairclough establishes Louisiana's distinctive creole heritage and describes the NAACP's first effort to equalize black and white teachers' pay in the 1930s. Bars to voting, education and public accommodations began to fall in the 1940s, but the state resisted the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision, even attacking the NAACP. Fairclough recounts the violence of court-ordered New Orleans school integration, describes CORE's entry into the state and, intriguingly, shows how mid-1960s activism in benighted Bogalusa, La., bridged the passage to black militancy. The book nominally ends in 1972, when, the author observes, both blacks and whites had lost faith in school integration, at least as it had been introduced. Since then, he argues, the rise of David Duke and resistance to him suggest the reality of both white racism and black political power. An interesting, if specialized, account. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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Paperback - 610 pages - 978-0-8203-2118-9
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