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Black Freedom, White Resistance, and Red Menace

Civil Rights and Anticommunism in the Jim Crow South

Making the Modern South

424 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 8 halftones

ebook available

Southern History | Civil Rights Studies

  Hardcover / 9780807153130 / January 2014

In Black Freedom, White Resistance, and Red Menace, Yasuhiro Katagiri offers the first scholarly work to illuminate an important but largely unstudied aspect of civil rights history—the collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship between professional anti-Communists in the North and segregationist politicians in the South.

In 1954, the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools with the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Soon after—while the political demise of U.S. senator Joseph R. McCarthy unfolded—northern anti-Communists looked to the South as a promising new territory in which they could expand their support base and continue their cause. In response, southern segregationists embraced the assistance rendered by these Yankee collaborators, and in the years to come, southerners utilized the “northern messiahs” in executing a massive resistance to the Supreme Court’s desegregation decrees and the civil rights movement in general. Southern white leadership framed black southerners’ crusades for social justice and human dignity as a foreign scheme directed by nefarious outside agitators, “race-mixers,” and, worse, outright subversives and card-carrying Communists.

Based on years of extensive archival research, Black Freedom, White Resistance, and Red Menace explains how a southern version of McCarthyism became part of the civil rights movement in the South, leading to a deeper understanding and appreciation for what the freedom movement—and those who struggled for equality—fought to overcome.

Yasuhiro Katagiri received his doctorate in American history and government from International Christian University in Tokyo. A historian of the American South, the civil rights movement, and white southerners’ massive resistance, he teaches American history and American studies at Kyushu Sangyo University in Fukuoka, Japan.

Praise for Black Freedom, White Resistance, and Red Menace

“Through the use of impressive, wide-ranging archival sources, Katagiri expertly meets the challenge issued by John Dittmer and subsequent civil rights scholars to move from local case studies to regional histories. . . . Black Freedom, White Resistance, and Red Menace adds qualitatively to histories of the Cold War U.S. South, illustrating the interregional, anti-communist alliances that sustained black racial subordination.”—American Historical Review

“In Black Freedom, [Katagiri] pulls from an impressive and exhaustive body of archival research, oral history collections, and secondary materials. . . . Katagiri offers a comprehensive, comparative approach that should be read in its entirety to experience the depth of his research. But his writing allows chapters to stand alone for those scholars looking for a more detailed history of individual states. In either use, his work encourages scholars to begin moving toward a more integrative approach to the field of white southern resistance.”—North Carolina Historical Review

“Katagiri’s analysis provides a necessary context for understanding opposition to the civil rights movement in the Heart of Dixie. . . . This work illustrates the influential, yet understudied relationship between national anti-Communism and the southern defense of segregation.”—Alabama Review

“[Katagiri] visited thirty-nine archives, from presidential libraries to small collections at obscure col­leges, and has made good use of dozens of federal- and state-level congressional hearings. . . . .It adds up to an air-tight case that anticommunism was part and parcel of the white South’s resistance to civil rights.”—Journal of American History

“Beautifully written and expertly researched. . . . A valuable addition to the historiography, demonstrating the extent of northern influence on southern red-baiting.”—Ohio Valley History

Black Freedom, White Resistance, and Red Menace reveals a little-known aspect of opposition to civil rights. In challenging ingrained assumptions about northern anti-communists and southern white supremacists, Katagiri adds complexity to the history of the civil rights movement, the postwar South, and Arkansas.”—Arkansas Historical Quarterly

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