Narratives of Civil Rights Movement

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  • Narratives of Civil Rights Movement
    • "Master" Narrative
      • Julian Bond created the term/definition
      • Covers mid-1950s - mid 1960's
      • Southern Movement achieved major legislative victories in form of Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act and moved country closer to democracy
        • But movement declined when activists brought Non-violent protest tactics to North
          • There it encountered riotous African Americans, black power activists and white backlash.
      • Essentially built on a series of dichotomics
        • North Vs South
          • These overlook a far more complex, wide-ranging story.
            • Racial Intergration Vs Black Power
            • Nonviolent Pacifism Vs Self Defense and Violence
            • Limit movement to one decade
            • Events take place entirely in South and Washington
            • Rest of country and events merely background props
        • Racial Intergration Vs Black Power
        • Nonviolent Pacifism Vs Self Defense and Violence
        • The 'Good Early 1960's Vs the 'bad late 1960's'
          • These overlook a far more complex, wide-ranging story.
            • Limit movement to one decade
            • Events take place entirely in South and Washington
            • Rest of country and events merely background props
    • Frameworks that challenge "Master" Narrative
      • "Freedom North" Paradigm
        • Expands the geographic scope of civil rights movements
        • Movement did not move South to North, was ALREADY THERE.
        • Civil Right action in North occured before, during and after South movement.
      • "Long Civil Rights Movement"
        • Expands movement history to before 1954 and beyond 1965
        • Expanded chronology locates civil rights movement origins in earlier periods and it includes radical and conservative forms of activism.
        • Reveals a history of struggle against American racism unfolded over several decades, not merely one, and was marked by moments of continuity and change.
        • Wave of national activism that flourished in late 1950s and 60s was an extension of earlier phases of antiracist activism
      • "Black Power Studies"
        • Paradigm challenges a dichotomous (divided) seperation of civil rights movement from black power movement history
        • New histories of Black Power movement have rejected representations that frame it solely as a denunciation of interracial organizations and nonviolence.
        • Go beyond chronologies that orient black power movement's origins in mid to late 1960's and geographical frameworks of only being cities outside of the South.
        • Argues Black Power was southern & northern, cultural, political and economic, revolutionary and conservative, local and national and international, feminist and intergenerational.
          • The movement's organizing took many different economic, intellectual, cultural, artistic, gendered and political forms
    • Revisionist Work
      • William Chafe
        • 1980's 'Civilities of Civil Rights'
          • Paved the way for local studies of the long black freedom movement that offered new interpretations of movements leadership.
      • Histories of Black Freedom movement in South West and Transnational Studies
        • Further expanded geographical scope
        • Revisionist approaches ploace civl rights movements within broader understandings of post WWII US and even global history
          • William Chafe
            • 1980's 'Civilities of Civil Rights'
              • Paved the way for local studies of the long black freedom movement that offered new interpretations of movements leadership.
          • Critiqued for losing sight of national synthesis narrative in favour of countless local studies
            • Also for blurring lines between civil rights and black power
      • Revisionist approaches ploace civl rights movements within broader understandings of post WWII US and even global history
        • Critiqued for losing sight of national synthesis narrative in favour of countless local studies
          • Also for blurring lines between civil rights and black power
      • Brian Purnell (Text) contributes to new emerging synthesis of postwar US History with a narrative analysis of interracial civil rights activism in one of the largest, most iconic post war cities

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