Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement

Patricia Sullivan, Author . New Press $26.95 (514p) ISBN 978-1-59558-446-5

In The Souls of Black Folk , W.E.B. Du Bois prophetically labeled the central challenge of the 20th century “the problem of the color-line.” Six years later, in 1909, he joined black and white civic leaders and activists to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the country’s oldest civil rights organization. Rejecting Booker T. Washington’s Southern-based economic uplift strategy, the NAACP—celebrating its centenary this year—favored Du Bois’s emphasis on complete equality for African-Americans as guaranteed by the Constitution, joining the fight at a time of deepening racism throughout the U.S. Spurred on by Woodrow Wilson’s segregationist policies, the young NAACP rapidly grew to a formidable nationwide, grassroots-driven endeavor, waging campaigns in public squares, law courts, legislatures and—with Du Bois helming its organ, the Crisis —the court of public opinion. Historian Sullivan (Days of Hope ) delivers a solidly researched examination of the organization’s growth and influence, leaving us with a vital account of 100 years of foundational civil rights activism. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/01/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 522 pages - 978-1-59558-544-8
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