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

By Mary L. Dudziak | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

The world is white no longer, and it will never be
white again.

JAMES BALDWIN, “STRANGER
IN THE VILLAGE” (1953)1

On April 9, 1968, as a mule-drawn wagon carried the coffin of Martin Luther King Jr. through the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, flags flew at half staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The coffin was made of African mahogany. At the front of the funeral procession, marchers carried three flags—of the United States, King's church, and the United Nations. The tens of thousands gathered to pay their respects to King included foreign leaders. It was as if it were the funeral for a head of state. The world had embraced King as an icon of American civil rights progress. His death served as a marker, a moment of closure for an era.2

The world came together for a moment to honor King. Amid the shock and the sorrow was a commitment to uphold the ideals he had come to represent. It was a sorrowful moment in a year in which the world seemed perched on a precipice. Civil rights reform, on some level, would survive this moment as a continuing national goal, but the dynamics would change in a new political era. Worldwide interest in U.S. civil rights would not create the leverage it had in the past, as international affairs turned on a new axis.

The Cold War imperative for social change spanned a particular era, and did not survive the length of the Cold War itself. From the

-249-

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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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