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Lift Every Voice: The Naacp and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement Hardcover – July 28, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 514 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595584463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595584465
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,296,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.)
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A major contribution to our understanding of the political and cultural history of African Americans—indeed, of America itself.
—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

Superb new history . . . elegantly written. A compelling, exhaustively researched account that sweeps across much of the last century.
—Jonathan Rosenberg, The Christian Science Monitor

[A] vital account of 100 years of foundational civil rights activism.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An overdue tribute to the organization most responsible for dismantling American apartheid.
Kirkus Reviews

A compelling story . . . includes enough action-packed material for a handful of historical novels, monographs, and biographies, as well as a few movies and a TV series or two.
American Reviews
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Patricia Sullivan teaches history at the University of South Carolina and is a fellow in the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. Her books include Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era and Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from the Civil Rights Years. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MargeH on August 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Patricia Sullivan has provided the reader with a very important book in US history re: the NAACP. Usually, in the teaching of US history, students learn that the NAACP was founded in 1909 and that W.E.B. DuBois was an active part in its history. That and some of the recent Supreme Court Cases, especially Brown, is often times, all that they learn. This "fortune cookie" approach to knowledge of the NAACP has left us, as citizens, without much, if any, understanding of it. After reading Patricia Sullivan's book, I went away from it knowing, once again, how little has been taught about protest and social change in our history.

In this book, we see the struggles of a number of the NAACP leaders, various field workers, and average African American citizens and how all of these groups faced adversity in a number of ways including encountering threats by KKK; losing significant court cases; trying repeatedly to get a law on anti-lynching or on the illegality of residential requirements for voting through the Congress and/ or the Courts.

Sullivan takes us on the journey from the founding of the NAACP in 1909 through the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson, WWI, Great Migration to the North, two world wars, the Great Depression, the New Deal, the school cases that culminate in Brown Decision and the impact of that decision laying the foundation of the modern Civil Rights Movement. It is an amazing journey. We become knowledgeable of the rampant lynching that occurred and yet, no federal anti-lynching legislation could be passed. "Less than 20 percent of the victims had been accused of rape puncturing a popular mythology regarding the `defense of white southern womanhood.'" (p.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mike S on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Celebrating the NAACP's 100 year anniversary, Lift Every Voice is an excellent read and gives a clear picture of the organization's history, from its inception in the early 1900's through its evolution as the nation's major advocate for Civil Rights. The work highlights the many challenges faced by 20th century African Americans and describes the NAACP's response to racial injustice. Dr. Sullivan not only discusses racist atrocities such as lynchings and the other horrors of the Jim Crow South, but also goes on to describe the more subtle racism of the North, particularly in housing and education. She is able to successfully intertwine the history of the NAACP with that of a more general history of the United States, showing the interconnectedness of the Civil Rights Movement with the major events and figures of the twentieth century.

A major draw of this book is that, although scholarly in its approach, it is highly readable. Whether you are a history buff or just somebody with a general interest in the topic, Lift Every Voice will keep you interested and turning the pages. The author does an excellent job of breaking down complex court cases and issues of constitutional law into layman's terms, making these topics easily understood. I recommend this book to anybody looking to gain a deep understanding of the Civil Rights Movement and who wishes to learn about the American heroes who fought hard for racial equality. Lift Every Voice shows that the Civil Rights Movement was not an isolated issue affecting one segment of the population, but rather, a critical event which helped to steer the direction of twentieth century America.
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