Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy

By Mary L. Dudziak | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Coming to Terms with
Cold War Civil Rights

[T]he colour bar is the greatest propaganda gift
any country could give the Kremlin in its
persistent bid for the affections of the coloured
races of the world.

OBSERVER (CEYLON, 1949)1

One shot could have killed George Dorsey, but when he and three companions were found along the banks of the Appalachee River in Georgia on July 25, 1946, their bodies were riddled with at least sixty bullets. Many white men with guns had participated in this deed. Yet the ritual that produced the deaths of two “young Negro farmhands and their wives” required more than mere killing. The privilege of taking part in the executions, the privilege of drawing blood in the name of white supremacy, was to be shared.2

George Dorsey had recently returned to Georgia after five years of service in the United States Army. His mother received his discharge papers within days of his death. Dorsey survived the war against fascism to die in a hail of bullets on an American roadside. His crime was to be African American, and to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.3

-18-

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Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter 1 - Coming to Terms with Cold War Civil Rights 18
  • Chapter 2 - Telling Stories About Race and Democracy 47
  • Chapter 3 - Fighting the Cold War with Civil Rights Reform 79
  • Chapter 4 - Holding the Line in Little Rock 115
  • Chapter 5 - Losing Control in Camelot 152
  • Chapter 6 - Shifting the Focus of America's Image Abroad 203
  • Conclusion 249
  • Notes 255
  • Acknowledgments 311
  • Index 317
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