Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina


Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina Black Studies
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"The ... triumphalist tale that begins with a weary seamstress in Montgomery and ends on a bloody balcony in Memphis takes a telling blow in Charles McKinney's Greater Freedom ... McKinney's deep insights into the local dynamics of African American freedom politics defy conventional understandings of `civil rights' and `Black Power,' revealing a hardscrabble landscape that historians ... must incorporate as we move towards any valid new synthesis of the movement in the South. This is an important and much-needed contribution to African American and Southern history."---Timothy B. Tyson, author of Radio Free Dixie and Blood Done Sign My Name

"With a compelling storytelling style, Charles McKinney paints a vibrant, complex portrait of the civil rights struggle in ... Wilson. He details African-American networks and movement centers, making visible the long-term commitment and small steps that served as the base for the more dramatic, visible moments ... [McKinney] makes a major contribution, bringing to life the ways class and gender played out in the ... movement ... He expands our sense of movement goals and actors in the ongoing quest for `greater freedom.'"---Emilye Crosby, author of A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi

"Historians have longed for ... detailed local studies of the epochal Civil Rights Movement. Now with ... this beautifully written, adroitly researched and brilliantly argued book, their prayers have been answered resoundingly."---Gerald Home, author of Fire This Time: The Waits Uprising and the 1960s

Greater Freedom offers a groundbreaking long-term community study of Wilson County, North Carolina. Charting the evolution of Wilson's civil rights movement, Charles McKinney argues that African Americans in Wilson created an expansive notion of freedom that influenced every aspect of life in the region and directly confronted the state's reputation for moderation. Through exhaustive research and a compelling narrative, McKinney chronicles the approaches and perspectives that blacks in this eastern North Carolina county utilized to confront white supremacy. In the face of violence, intimidation, and marginalization, voting rights activists, educational reformers, the collaboration of union members, students, and working class black women activists in Wilson built a grassroots movement that helped shape the course of the national civil rights movement in America.

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