Skip to main content

Research Guides

HIST 481 - Civil Rights, Cold War Politics and Decolonization, 1940-1975 Dr. Erin Wood (Spring 2018)

Welcome

For assistance contact Dr. Joel Kitchens and Rebecca Hankins

Required Texts Plus Additional Works of Interest

Eyes off the Prize

This book was first published in 2003. As World War II drew to a close and the world awakened to the horror wrought by white supremacists in Nazi Germany, African American leaders, led by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), sensed the opportunity to launch an offensive against the conditions of segregation and inequality in America. The 'prize' they sought was not civil rights, but human rights. Only the human rights lexicon, shaped by the Holocaust and articulated by the United Nations, contained the language and the moral power to address not only the political and legal inequality but also the education, health care, housing, and employment needs that haunted the black community. But the onset of the Cold War and rising anti-communism allowed powerful Southerners to cast those rights as Soviet-inspired. Thus the Civil Rights Movement was launched with neither the language nor the mission it needed to truly achieve black equality.

Malcolm X Speaks

These are the major speeches made by Malcolm X during the last tumultuous eight months of his life. In this short period of time, his vision for abolishing racial inequality in the United States underwent a vast transformation. Breaking from the Black Muslims, he moved away from the black militarism prevalent in his earlier years only to be shot down by an assassin's bullet.

Stokely Speaks

In the speeches and articles collected in this book, the black activist, organizer, and freedom fighter Stokely Carmichael traces the dramatic changes in his own consciousness and that of black Americans that took place during the evolving movements of Civil Rights, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism. Unique in his belief that the destiny of African Americans could not be separated from that of oppressed people the world over, Carmichael's Black Power principles insisted that blacks resist white brainwashing and redefine themselves. He was concerned not only with racism and exploitation, but with cultural integrity and the colonization of Africans in America. In these essays on racism, Black Power, the pitfalls of conventional liberalism, and solidarity with the oppressed masses and freedom fighters of all races and creeds, Carmichael addresses questions that still confront the black world and points to a need for an ideology of black and African liberation, unification, and transformation.

Cold War Civil Rights

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. 

Proudly We Can Be Africans

The mid-twentieth century witnessed nations across Africa fighting for their independence from colonial forces. By examining black Americans' attitudes toward and responses to these liberation struggles, James Meriwether probes the shifting meaning of Africa in the intellectual, political, and social lives of African Americans. Paying particular attention to such important figures and organizations as W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and the NAACP, Meriwether incisively utilizes the black press, personal correspondence, and oral histories to render a remarkably nuanced and diverse portrait of African American opinion. Meriwether builds the book around seminal episodes in modern African history, including nonviolent protests against apartheid in South Africa, the Mau Mau war in Kenya, Ghana's drive for independence under Kwame Nkrumah, and Patrice Lumumba's murder in the Congo. 

Congo Love Song

In this book, Ira Dworkin examines black Americans' long cultural and political engagement with the Congo and its people. Through studies of George Washington Williams, Booker T. Washington, Pauline Hopkins, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, and other figures, he brings to light a long-standing relationship that challenges familiar presumptions about African American commitments to Africa. Dworkin offers compelling new ways to understand how African American involvement in the Congo has helped shape anticolonialism, black aesthetics, and modern black nationalism.

Sueño con África = Dream of Africa = Rêve d'Afrique

Poems in original Spanish with the author's translations into English and French on facing pages. Includes a critical essay Sendero hacia un tono considerable by Eduardo Espina in original Spanish (pages 171-177) translated into English (pages 178-184) and French (pages 185-191).