Tomiko Brown-Nagin's book Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement is now out from Oxford University Press. From the OUP website:
In this sweeping history of the Civil Rights movement in Atlanta--the South's largest and most economically important city--from the 1940s through 1980, Tomiko Brown-Nagin shows that the movement featured a vast array of activists and many sophisticated approaches to activism. Long before "black power" emerged and gave black dissent from the mainstream civil rights agenda a new name, African Americans in Atlanta debated the meaning of equality and the steps necessary to obtain social and economic justice.
This groundbreaking book uncovers the activism of visionaries-both well-known legal figures and unsung citizens-from across the ideological spectrum who sought something different from, or more complicated than, "integration." Local activists often played leading roles in carrying out the integrationist agenda of the NAACP, but some also pursued goals that differed markedly from those of the venerable civil rights organization. Brown-Nagin discusses debates over politics, housing, public accommodations, and schools. She documents how the bruising battle over school desegregation in the 1970s, which featured opposing camps of African Americans, had its roots in the years before Brown v. Board of Education.
I'm really looking forward to the discussion of this book and particularly how it shifts the focus away from what happened in the courts and into the schools and homes of civil rights activists and others whose lives were affected by the activism. I know we're all going to be talking about this book and its methods for a long time. It's exciting to see scholarship on civil rights has evolved over the past couple of decades. Looking for a fun project? Read Brown-Nagin in conjunction with Anders Walker's The Ghost of Jim Crow: How Southern Moderates Used Brown v. Board of Education to Stall Civil Rights, which came out from OUP in 2009.