"The essays explore events that occurred over a broad swath of time and space--from 1866 to today, from Texas to Florida--and offer postage stamp portraits of efforts to promote equality. Yet perhaps the most important feature of the collection is the collaborative effort to consider the modern Gulf South as a distinct subregion of the Deep South; that alone ensures the volume will be significant."-- Bradley G. Bond, University of Southern Mississippi, and author of Political Culture in the Nineteenth Century South: Mississippi, 1830-1900
Sunbelt Revolution offers a historical account of the emergence in the 19th century of a national consciousness of social justice and racial inequality, identifying what may have been the first organized civil rights march in the United States. The book reveals that the burden of oppression involved more than just white masters and black victims, and demonstrates that activists sometimes struggled as much among themselves as they did against the powers of injustice.
Linked by the theme of civil rights reform, the essays address such topics as the early days of the American Citizens Equal Rights Association; early efforts to challenge segregation on public transportation; women's efforts at improving the daily life of black Montgomery citizens; the multiracial nature of the longshoremen's union along the Gulf Coast; philosophical differences separating local activists and national civil rights organizations; and the Biloxi beach riot and the origins of the civil rights movement on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They highlight the forgotten or overlooked efforts of civil rights advocates such as Rodolphe Lucien Desdunes, A. Phillip Randolph, and Harry T. Moore.
The collection challenges preexisting notions about the identity of states rimming the Gulf of Mexico, which typically have been associated with the Deep South and conservative intransigence. It recasts the Gulf states as a region of opportunity, separate and distinct from antebellum Dixie, and includes the states of Texas and Florida, both often ignored in references to the Deep South.
These essays force a reconsideration of important aspects of the civil rights struggle from both a national and regional perspective. They remind us that the struggle for human dignity in the United States has involved a progression of events over the course of more than a century, not just since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.
Samuel C. Hyde, Jr., holds the Leon Ford Endowed Chair in History and is director of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at Southeastern Louisiana University
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"makes good reading for students of history in our region." - Magazine (Baton Rouge, LA)
--Magazine (Baton Rouge, LA)
"Hyde has done a fine job bringing together a wide-ranging selection of essays that as a whole demonstrate what a fertile field the Gulf South remains for future studies. Challenging the tendency to minimize the role of the Gulf South in the struggle over racial equality is a worthy undertaking and Hyde, along with his contributors, has made a valuable contribution."
--Journal of American Ethnic History
"...the individual essays enrich our understanding of the civil rights struggle in the South. -Gregg L. Michel, U. of TX, San Antonio
--The Journal of American History