Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950 (Paperback)

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"Remarkable…an eye-opening book [on] the freedom struggle that changed the South, the nation, and the world." —Washington Post


The civil rights movement that looms over the 1950s and 1960s was the tip of an iceberg, the legal and political remnant of a broad, raucous, deeply American movement for social justice that flourished from the 1920s through the 1940s. This rich history of that early movement introduces us to a contentious mix of home-grown radicals, labor activists, newspaper editors, black workers, and intellectuals who employed every strategy imaginable to take Dixie down. In a dramatic narrative Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore deftly shows how the movement unfolded against national and global developments, gaining focus and finally arriving at a narrow but effective legal strategy for securing desegregation and political rights.



About the Author


Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore is the Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History, African American Studies, and American Studies at Yale University. Her research interests include twentieth-century U.S. history; African American history since 1865; U.S. women's and gender history since 1865; history of the American South; and reform movements. Her publications include Norton’s Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950, which was one of the American Library Association’s Notable Books and the Washington Post’s Best Books of 2008, and she edited Who Were the Progressives? and co-edited Jumpin’ Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights. Her first book, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920, won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award, the James A. Rawley Prize, the Julia Cherry Spruill Prize, and the Heyman Prize.

Praise For…


Painstakingly researched and vividly told, Defying Dixie is, by any standard, a formidable achievement. Gilmore forces us to rethink the history of the civil rights movement and the people, often unheralded at the margins, who made it.

— Los Angeles Times

Rich…powerful and profound.
— New York Times

A monumental work…for those desiring a sweeping yet detailed and informed account of the radical side of our early civil rights movement, Defying Dixie will prove extremely enlightening.

— Charlotte Observer

Emotionally poignant…[Gilmore] universalizes the impulses and actions that define the struggle for racial equality in America.
— News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Gilmore's fluid prose brings to life these passionate yet forgotten battles.
— Memphis Commercial Appeal

[Employing] a gift for vivid description, [Gilmore] introduces scores of dedicated, colorful and sometimes eccentric dreamers and agitators.
— New York Times Book Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393335323
ISBN-10: 0393335321
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: August 10th, 2009
Pages: 690
Language: English