The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change Paperback – 15 Sep 1986
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About the Author
Morris is Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The research for the project was conducted via interviews with many of the movement's leaders, so Morris is able to give first-hand accounts of the way protests were conducted and of the motivations for organizing in certain ways at certain times. His account is extraordinarily rich and touches on the interplay between the often conflicting personalities of movement leaders. He describes the means and motivation of the adoption of the non-violent protest method and, to a lesser extent, the roles played by women in the movement. He also deals in passing with the ideological treatment of homosexuality by movement leaders.
As an account of how the civil rights movement developed in the South, Morris' book is exceptional. It reads as well as a novel and uses the input of first-hand sources to make its story as much personal as academic, without losing its integrity.
Some have argued that Morris neglects the role of women in the movement and this might be a fair criticism. But inasmuch as he argues that the civil rights movement was organized around and by the leaders of the black church, he justifies his focus on the (male) Baptist minister as a principle leader of movement activities. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand how the Civil Rights Movement was carried out in the United States.
He talks about the importance of decentralized organization, cooperative and collaborative coordination, the role of movement centers, Movement Halfway “safe” Houses for activists and organizers; and the role of both organization, legal and direct action in carrying out the goals of a movement.
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