The twentieth century has witnessed numerous historic events, from the Russian and Chinese revolutions to World War I and World War II. These wars and revolutions, along with the space program, the collapse of communism, and the Holocaust, have had a dramatic impact on the historical terrain. Likewise, the modern civil rights movement has been one of the century's historic events. Emerging in the 1950s and reaching a peak in the 1960s, the civil rights movement prompted the federal government to enact sweeping reforms that toppled Jim Crow, virtually eliminated public assertions of white supremacy, a mainstay of the American cultural and intellectual tradition, and boosted black pride. In addition to altering race relations in the United States, especially in the South, the civil rights movement sparked other liberation struggles in America and abroad, from the women's liberation movement to the drive to overcome apartheid in South Africa. Indeed, even though the civil rights movement did not achieve all of its goals, nearly a half-century after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, it continues to have an impact on the course of history, serving as an agent and as a model of the quest for human rights.
While many fine works on the civil rights movement already have been written, ranging from two voluminous Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr. (one of which covers only up to 1963), to award-winning examinations of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the movement in Mississippi, readers seeking a concise work that combines