The works of Professor Mary Dudziak and Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, through their books “Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy” and “Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950” bear appreciable significance in respect of civil rights in the history of the United States of America. The two authors had their own different ways presenting their views and historical accounts of long struggles for equality of all, and the recognition of such pleas in legal and political terms. Each author, in an individual perspective, tries to give a picture of processes and events that led to desegregation.
Professor Mary Dudziak, a political scientist at the University of Southern California gives a thorough chronological documentation that plainly connects concerns about the U.S. affairs with the worldwide society. The book spins around the occurrence during the Cold War, and the role of the global powers in respect of civil rights policies within the United States and the world at large. The author remarkably assembles the book to conceptualize common rights from an international perspective.
The book explicitly brings to the fore the bare reality of racial discrimination as one of the United States’ most obstinate political and social challenges. It implies that international interference due to the acceptance and implementation of the globalization concept could play a significant part in the internal practices of the United States of America.
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Professor Dudziak's book illuminates the impact that international contemplations had on the pertinent issues of race and ethnicity within the United States. , Mary Dudziak perceives post-war civil rights as a theme of the Cold War. In her book, she affirms that the war was prominent in facilitating crucial social reforms, including that of realizing desegregation of people in spite of their racial backgrounds.
From the professor Dudziak’s account in her book, civil rights activists gained substantial progress as the government sought to burnish its international outlook. The professor observes that those huge efforts towards improving the nation’s reputation did not always need bona fide change at all. She is of the view that such massive focus on image-building and the significant constraints on the McCarthy era’s political activism had unpleasant implications on the extent and nature of progress regarding social welfare and racial issues within the nation.
Besides Dudziak’s emphasis on Civil rights as a product of the Cold War, her book also explores the stories of people who suffered the discomfort and pain of racial abuse in the United States. Some of the stories in the book include that of an African-American veteran of the Second World War who was lynched in Georgia, and African diplomats who could not get service in white- American restaurants. It also reviews historical incidents such as petitions from numerous civil rights activists to the attorney-general, and the case of conservative politicians holding the opinion on desegregation as plot for communism. Others include artists of black descent supporting movements of civil rights in Europe and overseas, plus civil rights leaders who observed their efforts overshadowed by Vietnam.
Dudziak’s book directly connects civil rights and the cold war. “Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy” contributes enormously to the general understanding of the two matters of contention at that time. The Professor ably advances a new wave of authorship that corrects habits in the history of America by injecting a global approach to the internal affairs of the world’s most powerful nation. Dudziak dwells in the Cold War’s influence of civil rights’ history. The book is a well-researched piece of information that takes into account both domestic and foreign involvement in the history of the United States of America.
In a good example of the racial challenges that some Americans faced, she alludes to the incident of 1958 when an African-American handyman in Alabama, Jimmy Wilson got a death sentence for stealing just two dollars. The sentence was utterly shocking as this sentence. However, it took international outcry and the uncomfortable criticism of John Foster Dulles. Racism in America was the chief concern among most of the American allies. It harmed the countries relation with other foreign partners and was an obstacle to the goals of the United States’ goals in the Cold War. The Negro Problem was a, complicated problem that affected presidents Truman and John’s administration.
In another account of civil challenges in the United States, Glenda Gilmore uses her book “Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950” to inform people about the burning issues in the history of the United States. Gilmore is a historian of monumental talent and ability. She employs a combination of patient and extensive investigation and a clear-sighted comprehension of the values and culture of both the black and the white South America in the twentieth century to enable her create a variety of fascinating personalities to life keeping them in the context of their times.
Unlike Professor Mary Dudziak, her focus is less on the international influence of the civil rights policy than it is on the dedicated efforts of some characters she qualifies efficiently in her book as principal agents of the civil rights movements and their activities towards desegregation. Her little emphasis on the international role and involvement in the progress of attaining civil rights for all persons within the United States leaves some questions unanswered. For instance, the book does not exhaustively detail the historical events that led to decline and fall of Jim Crow. Though she tries to outline some of the cultural and political reasons for the weakening and final fall of Jim Crow, she does not satisfactorily give answers to some critical questions about everything that transpired.
Gilmore compiled her text at the end of the First World War, at a time when rampant incidents of racial segregation and ethnic intolerance changed the way many African-Americans to perceive their country’s political atmosphere from a different angle. A new generation of determined activists emerged from all over the nation and began pushing for equal rights of all people. That development was not tolerable in the south. Those in leadership of the region were quite intolerant of that serious outcome. In effect, they even had to send some of the activists out of the region due to their strong stands against racial and ethnic segregation. The officials felt were the chief agents of the unpleasant practice; therefore, they could not stand any form of opposition. Gilmore notes “The South could remain the South only by chasing out some of its brightest minds and most bountiful spirits, generation after generation.”
Glenda has a localized inclination that somewhat reduces the power in her book “Defying Dixie.” In almost all of her account, she focuses on the events that occurred in the Southern part of American and forgets what took place in other sections of the country, and the world. When she tries to add something beyond the south, what comes out is an unclear picture of history that leaves the reader. For instance, her analysis of the occupation of the US of Haiti is factually insufficient. One would conclude easily that such approach is due to her desire to portray positively the characters from the South who contributed towards civil rights policy transformation before other celebrated personalities emerged later. The book gives an insight into the remarkable efforts of two early civil rights activists, Pauli Murray and Lovett Fort-Whiteman. The book praises civil rights activists in the south for their committed fight against Jim Crow. She uses her outstanding characterization to spice her story of the works carried out by her featured characters.
One prominent character of Gilmore in “Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950” is the vocal Lovett Fort-Whiteman. He was a widely traveled man from Texas State. He earned the title of “the first American-born black Communist” in 1919. Gilmore devotes appreciable attention to this forward Soviet true-believer. In honor of this man and other like-minded individuals, Gilmore documents that “in the 1920s and 1930s the Communists alone argued for complete equality between the races,” she further notes: “Their ethnic pattern eventually became America’s ideal.” She also asserts how Soviet loyalties mobilized a number of crusaders to bitter ends. In the most compelling section of the book, Gilmore narrates the story of Pauli Murray. She was a black lesbian feminist who actively took on activism with an initial unsuccessful attempt to fight segregation in the University of North Carolina in 1939. This course ended with her being decreed as an Episcopal priest in the year 1977. Ms. Murray’s submission to North Carolina’s graduate school occurred briefly after lawyers for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had triumphed its primary higher-education desegregation hearing in the US Supreme Court.
Ms. Gilmore vividly insists that many, common interracial groups and organizations did not embrace, or endorse, desegregation even into the 1940s. One of those groups was the Southern Regional council. Such condemnation of “the liquidation of controlled organizations” as well as modest white educational institutions is deep throughout the book.
In “Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950”, one wonders how why the author, one of the most celebrated historians from the South, does not give valuable information. Some political issues remain largely vague, especially in respect of Jim Crow’s story. In its entirety, I would consider this an appetizer of the main thing that people should expect from the author.
Judging from the two books, it is worth noting that although the two authors set out to give accounts of civil rights and others issues in American history, they adopted different scopes and styles in their presentation of facts. Whereas Professor Dudziak pays full attention to events both at local and international levels, Glenda Gilmore seems to be a domestic agent who seeks to glorify the works of fellow brother without shading enough light on what others did elsewhere.
Professor Dudziak gives a full, well-researched account of the historical events in respect of civil rights in the United States. She not only clearly gives information from her abundance of knowledge of American history, but also expounds on serious external factors that helped the United States attain its present image as a nation. She does not leave anything, stating facts where it is obvious and giving detailed explanation where necessary. The book is a sufficient historical record for anyone interested in understanding American history and desegregation in the United States.
On the other hand, “Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950” focuses on few, bare facts relating to events without exemplifying matters understandable to even the most uninformed in the general public. The author only touches on the details sufficient to her own sufficiency. Only those who have prior history to events of civil rights in the US, or those who only need the book as an appetizer for better stuff, do benefit from the book. It is not a sufficient source of information about the American history, especially in respect of civil rights historical developments.
A concern about “Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy” is that it gives too much to big figures of civil rights movements and ignores other important personalities.8 There have been few issues regarding this book, though, as compared to “Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950.”
In summary, both “Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950” and “Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy” are essential historical contributions.10 They help the present people to understand the connections of historical events which shaped the reputation of the United States, and the realization of desegregation.
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