A more beautiful and terrible history : the uses and misuses of civil rights history / Jeanne Theoharis.

By: Theoharis, Jeanne
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Boston : Beacon Press, [2018]Description: xxv, 253 pages ; 24 cmISBN: 9780807075876 (hardcover : alk. paper); 0807075876 (hardcover : alk. paper) :Subject(s): African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century | African Americans -- Civil rights -- Historiography | Civil rights movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Civil rights movements -- United States -- Historiography | United States -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century | United States -- Race relations -- HistoriographySummary: The civil rights movement has become national legend, lauded by presidents from Reagan to Obama to Trump, as proof of the power of American democracy. This fable, featuring dreamy heroes and accidental heroines, has shuttered the movement firmly in the past, whitewashed the forces that stood in its way, and diminished its scope. And it is used perniciously in our own times to chastise present-day movements and obscure contemporary injustice.000In A More Beautiful and Terrible History award-winning historian Jeanne Theoharis dissects this national myth-making, teasing apart the accepted stories to show them in a strikingly different light. We see Rosa Parks not simply as a bus lady but a lifelong criminal justice activist and radical; Martin Luther King, Jr. as not only challenging Southern sheriffs but Northern liberals, too; and Coretta Scott King not only as a ?helpmate? but a lifelong economic justice and peace activist who pushed her husband?s activism in these directions.00Moving from ?the histories we get? to ?the histories we need,? Theoharis challenges nine key aspects of the fable to reveal the diversity of people, especially women and young people, who led the movement; the work and disruption it took; the role of the media and ?polite racism? in maintaining injustice; and the immense barriers and repression activists faced. Theoharis makes us reckon with the fact that far from being acceptable, passive or unified, the civil rights movement was unpopular, disruptive, and courageously persevering. Activists embraced an expansive vision of justice?which a majority of Americans opposed and which the federal government feared.00By showing us the complex reality of the movement, the power of its organizing, and the beauty and scope of the vision, Theoharis proves that there was nothing natural or inevitable about the progress that occurred.
List(s) this item appears in: Confronting Racism in America
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
    Average rating: 0.0 (0 votes)
Item type Current location Collection Shelving location Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Adult Book Phillipsburg Free Public Library
Adult Non-Fiction New Books 323.1196 THE Available 36748002398768
Total holds: 0

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Praised by The New York Times ; O, The Oprah Magazine ; Bitch Magazine ; Slate; Publishers Weekly ; and more, this is "a bracing corrective to a national mythology" (New York Times) around the civil rights movement. <br> <br> The civil rights movement has become national legend, lauded by presidents from Reagan to Obama to Trump, as proof of the power of American democracy. This fable, featuring dreamy heroes and accidental heroines, has shuttered the movement firmly in the past, whitewashed the forces that stood in its way, and diminished its scope. And it is used perniciously in our own times to chastise present-day movements and obscure contemporary injustice. In A More Beautiful and Terrible History award-winning historian Jeanne Theoharis dissects this national myth-making, teasing apart the accepted stories to show them in a strikingly different light.<br> <br> We see Rosa Parks not simply as a bus lady but a lifelong criminal justice activist and radical; Martin Luther King, Jr. as not only challenging Southern sheriffs but Northern liberals, too; and Coretta Scott King not only as a "helpmate" but a lifelong economic justice and peace activist who pushed her husband's activism in these directions.<br> <br> Moving from "the histories we get" to "the histories we need," Theoharis challenges nine key aspects of the fable to reveal the diversity of people, especially women and young people, who led the movement; the work and disruption it took; the role of the media and "polite racism" in maintaining injustice; and the immense barriers and repression activists faced. Theoharis makes us reckon with the fact that far from being acceptable, passive or unified, the civil rights movement was unpopular, disruptive, and courageously persevering. Activists embraced an expansive vision of justice--which a majority of Americans opposed and which the federal government feared.<br> <br> By showing us the complex reality of the movement, the power of its organizing, and the beauty and scope of the vision, Theoharis proves that there was nothing natural or inevitable about the progress that occurred. A More Beautiful and Terrible History will change our historical frame, revealing the richness of our civil rights legacy, the uncomfortable mirror it holds to the nation, and the crucial work that remains to be done.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

The civil rights movement has become national legend, lauded by presidents from Reagan to Obama to Trump, as proof of the power of American democracy. This fable, featuring dreamy heroes and accidental heroines, has shuttered the movement firmly in the past, whitewashed the forces that stood in its way, and diminished its scope. And it is used perniciously in our own times to chastise present-day movements and obscure contemporary injustice.000In A More Beautiful and Terrible History award-winning historian Jeanne Theoharis dissects this national myth-making, teasing apart the accepted stories to show them in a strikingly different light. We see Rosa Parks not simply as a bus lady but a lifelong criminal justice activist and radical; Martin Luther King, Jr. as not only challenging Southern sheriffs but Northern liberals, too; and Coretta Scott King not only as a ?helpmate? but a lifelong economic justice and peace activist who pushed her husband?s activism in these directions.00Moving from ?the histories we get? to ?the histories we need,? Theoharis challenges nine key aspects of the fable to reveal the diversity of people, especially women and young people, who led the movement; the work and disruption it took; the role of the media and ?polite racism? in maintaining injustice; and the immense barriers and repression activists faced. Theoharis makes us reckon with the fact that far from being acceptable, passive or unified, the civil rights movement was unpopular, disruptive, and courageously persevering. Activists embraced an expansive vision of justice?which a majority of Americans opposed and which the federal government feared.00By showing us the complex reality of the movement, the power of its organizing, and the beauty and scope of the vision, Theoharis proves that there was nothing natural or inevitable about the progress that occurred.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Preface: A Dream Diluted and Distorted (p. ix)
  • The Histories We Get
  • Introduction: The Political Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History and Memorialization in the Present (p. 3)
  • The Histories We Need
  • Chapter 1 The Long Movement Outside the South: Fighting for School Desegregation in the "Liberal" North (p. 31)
  • Chapter 2 Revisiting the Uprisings of the 1960s and the Long History of Injustice and Struggle That Preceded Them (p. 62)
  • Chapter 3 Beyond the Redneck: Polite Racism and the "White Moderate" (p. 83)
  • Chapter 4 The Media Was Often an Obstacle to the Struggle for Racial Justice (p. 100)
  • Chapter 5 Beyond a Bus Seat: The Movement Pressed for Desegregation, Criminal Justice, Economic Justice, and Global Justice (p. 123)
  • Chapter 6 The Great Man View of History, Part I: Where Are the Young People? (p. 142)
  • Chapter 7 The Great Man View of History, Part II: Where Are the Women? (p. 154)
  • Chapter 8 Extremists, Troublemakers, and National Security Threats: The Public Demonization of Rebels, the Toll It Took, and Government Repression of the Movement (p. 173)
  • Chapter 9 Learning to Play on Locked Pianos: The Movement Was Persevering, Organized, Disruptive, and Disparaged, and Other Lessons from the Montgomery Bus Boycott (p. 187)
  • Afterword: A History for a Better World (p. 207)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 212)
  • Notes (p. 215)
  • Index (p. 244)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Kirkus Book Review

A hard-hitting revisionist history of civil rights activism.Theoharis (Political Science/Brooklyn Coll.; The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, 2013, etc.) argues persuasively that the reality of the civil rights movement has become a benign national fable, invoked by public officials and liberals to assert their "enlightened bona fides" and by critics of activist groups such as Black Lives Matter in an effort to silence them. Central to this fable are distorted images of Rosa Parks, depicted as a quiet, meek woman, and Martin Luther King Jr., whose achievements are attributed to his "loving, nonviolent approach." As activist Julian Bond once put it, "the narrative of the movement has been reduced to Rosa sat down, Martin stood up, then the white folks saw the light and saved the day.' " Theoharis strongly believes that turning the civil rights movement into "museum history" promotes the false idea of "an exceptional America moving past its own racism." She also points out that racism is not limited to the South; she shows how the "polite racism" of the North "framed resistance to desegregation in the language of neighborhood schools,' taxpayer's rights,' and forced busing.' " Denying personal animosity toward blacks, Northerners revealed racism in "silence, coded language, and the demonization of dissent." Theoharis takes the media to task for their coverage of uprisings in Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York; reporters, she writes, failed to investigate the "racial inequities embedded in their city's schools, policing, or municipal structures" and presented the violence as a stunning surprise rather than the culmination "of a protracted struggle." Similarly, she criticizes the movie Detroit (2017) for "completely erasing the history of Black life and activism in the city" before the killings depicted. She also criticizes Barack Obama, who as candidate and president warned black men not to use racism as an excuse for personal failure, thereby diverting focus from civil rights organizing to "inward self-help." Chronicling the efforts of many activists, the author underscores her message that reform requires courage and hard work.An impassioned call for continued efforts for change. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Phillipsburg Free Public Library
200 Broubalow Way
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
(908)-454-3712
www.pburglib.org

Powered by Koha