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African-Americans and the Quest for Civil Rights, 1900-1990

This work surveys the history of African-American civil rights in the United States in the 20th century. In telling this complex history, Cashman moves through the tragedy of racism, concentrating on and emphasizing the heroism of black people and their quest for justice. Beginning with the period of segregation, Cashman examines the contribution of principal figures in the movement, charting the course of civil rights against the dramatic backdrop of two world wars, the Great Depression, the affluent society of the post-war world, the cultural and social agitation of the 1960s and the emergence of new conservative and majorities in support of Republican presidents in the 1970s and 1980s. Cashman also describes the shift in emphasis in the movement from legal cases brought before the courts to mass protest movement and, later, the change in direction from civil rights to Black Power and, subsequently, Pan-Africanism. Designed to be more than just a history of civil rights leaders, this book describes the profound upheaval experienced by African-Americans during the Great Migration in this century and explains how the achievements of African-American artists, singers and writers contributed to a wider understanding of the humanity and culture of black Americans. Cashman details among others the achievements of the Harlem Renaissance, the films of Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson, and the works of Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison.
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