I bought this book on sale last month when I was in St. Louis.
It is about the forgotten history of the Civil Rights Movement in the Northern states. I’ve only read the first two chapters.
So far, I haven’t seen anything that contradicts my view of the origins of the Civil Rights Movement.
The existence of the Union is the only reason why the “Civil Rights Movement” triumphed in the South. There was a dramatic shift in White Northern racial attitudes during the Second World War.
It was the Second World War that provided fringe leftists in the Northern states with their historic opportunity to push their “civil rights” ideas into the mainstream:
“That they reached their success in the midst of the Second World War is no coincidence. Advocates of racial equality got a hearing – precisely because their rise coincided with the battle against fascism abroad.
The unexpected shift if the politics of race during World War II was not, as any good Depression-era leftist might have acknowledged in a reflective moment, wholly of the radicals’ own making. The secular and religious lefts forced Americans to confront the pressing and still unresolved question of racial inequality, but they had unwitting allies. The civil rights impulse had been deeply rooted in the American past, yet it came to the surface in America in one particular moment, the 1940s. And it did so because of a shift in national politics and a simultaneous grassroots struggle from below. The left aided and abetted both, but ultimately the interracial left came in from the margins and made its mark on American history because of good timing. Its leaders and activists alike vocally decried injustice when the world was convulsed in a battle against one of history’s most violent and racist regimes.”
Prior to the Second World War, White Northerners didn’t want to hear much about the blacks and their social problems.
The war against Hitler’s Germany reawakened the old crusading spirit of Radicalism in the North that had been unleashed on the Confederacy. White Northerners became more abstract and ideological and the ‘contradictions’ between their ‘American Creed’ and the circumstances of blacks emerged as a social problem.
Note: Much of the North was segregated in custom until the aftermath of the Second World War.
There were civil rights laws in every Northern state that banned segregation, but in practice these laws were often ignored. The Second World War forced the North to choose between its ideals and customs.