But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle

By Glenn T. Eskew | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Momentum

A stalemate over race relations in Birmingham had created a crisis months before Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference arrived on the scene and exacerbated the problem. Indeed, for years Birmingham had been building toward just such a calamity. By the spring of 1963, the Consensus governing Birmingham since the Great Depression had collapsed. The industrial and financial elite split over the issue of desegregation. Most of the Big Mules and much of the lower middle class supported the belligerent commissioner of public safety Bull Connor in his defense of racial norms. A new renegade group oriented toward a service-consumer economy, headed by realtor Sidney W. Smyer, and tacitly supported by the white middle class evidenced a willingness to compromise on racial matters. The change in city government from the commission to the mayor- council system highlighted the division among the white elite. Likewise, factionalism prevented Birmingham's black community from speaking with one voice as the direct action against segregation waged by Fred L. Shuttlesworth and the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights

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But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgement xi
  • Introduction Stalemate 3
  • Chapter One - The National Movement 19
  • Chapter Two - Bombingham 53
  • Chapter Three - Bull's Birmingham 85
  • Chapter Four - The Local Movement 121
  • Chapter Five - Businessmen's Reform 153
  • Chapter Six - Momentum 193
  • Chapter Seven - Another Albany? 217
  • Chapter Eight - The Children's Crusade 259
  • Chapter Nine - But for Birmingham 299
  • Epilogue - Ambiguous Resolution 333
  • Notes 341
  • Bibliography 399
  • Index 419
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