Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement


The history of the Civil Rights Movement is too frequently simplified and uncritically passed down from generation to generation. Many students today learn about famous leaders and national campaigns without getting much context about the many people who struggled for many years at local levels. Historian Steven F. Lawson became frustrated with the widely accepted depiction of the Movement and called for a broader and more interactive model of scholarship that would provide a more complex and complete understanding of the battles for black equality. Editors Danielle McGuire and John Dittmer answer Lawsons call in Bends Toward Justice: African Americans Long Struggle for Freedom. Beginning with Lawsons essay "The Long Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968," the volume chronicles the Civil Rights Movement from multiracial activism in the Post-war era through the election of Barack Obama. McGuire and Dittmer offer an exhaustive examination of the movement, including discussion of political and social disputes and local and international connections. This collection tackles issues such as gender, family, sexuality, and sexual violence, that are often ignored in in popular histories. Bends Towards Justice is a fresh look at the Movement that will set the standard for future analysis.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Danielle L. McGuire
  • Steven F. Lawson
  • Justin T. Lorts
  • Abigail Sara Lewis
  • Sara Rzeszutek Haviland
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Lexington, KY
Publication year:
  • 2011


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