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Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9780691152431
Author(s): Mary L. Dudziak
Format: Paperback
Year: 2011
Edition: Revised edition
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Dimensions: 152 x 231 x 23 (w x l x h)
Pages: 330
Series: Politics and Society in Modern America

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Description:
In 1958, an African-American handyman named Jimmy Wilson was sentenced to die in Alabama for stealing two dollars. Shocking as this sentence was, it was overturned only after intense international attention and the interference of an embarrassed John Foster Dulles. Soon after the United States' segregated military defeated a racist regime in World War II, American racism was a major concern of U.S. allies, a chief Soviet propaganda theme, and an obstacle to American Cold War goals throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Each lynching harmed foreign relations, and 'the Negro problem' became a central issue in every administration from Truman to Johnson. In what may be the best analysis of how international relations affected any domestic issue, Mary Dudziak interprets postwar civil rights as a Cold War feature. She argues that the Cold War helped facilitate key social reforms, including desegregation. Civil rights activists gained tremendous advantage as the government sought to polish its international image. But improving the nation's reputation did not always require real change.
This focus on image rather than substance--combined with constraints on McCarthy-era political activism and the triumph of law-and-order rhetoric--limited the nature and extent of progress. Archival information, much of it newly available,
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