Georgia Democrats, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Shaping of the New South

Tim S. R. Boyd

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"Tim Boyd has significantly reassessed the nature of southern politics in post-World War II America in this magnificent work. This is a first-rate history of Georgia politics in the modern era."--Gregory Schneider, author of The Conservative Century

Tim Boyd challenges one of the most prominent explanations for the precipitous fall of the Democratic Party in southern politics: the "white backlash" theory. Taking the political experience in Georgia as a case study, he compellingly argues that New South politics developed out of the factional differences within the state Democratic Party and not simply as a result of white reactions to the civil rights movement.

Boyd deftly shows how Georgia Democrats forged a successful (if morally problematic) response to the civil rights movement, allowing them to remain in power until internal divisions eventually weakened the party. But he also demonstrates that they ultimately adjusted to the political challenge of the civil rights movement and helped shape post-civil rights regional and national politics in for a further generation.

Combining oral histories, newspaper reports, electoral returns, tape-recorded conversations, and private papers, Boyd offers a fresh interpretation of how American politics has changed since the end of the "New Deal Order." He recognizes the myriad forces southern leaders faced as the Jim Crow South gave way to new political realities and greatly enhances our understanding of southern politics today.

Tim S. R. Boyd is a history teacher at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. Previously, he taught American studies at Vanderbilt University.
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"Shatters the myth of a linear and monolithic GOP takeover in the wake of the civil rights movement. . . . Boyd's masterful case study capitalizes on the state's distinctiveness while highlighting how events there illustrate important regional and national trends."
--Journal of American History

"The story Boyd tells is far different from the familiar tale of knee-jerk white southern reaction to advances in civil rights."
--The Journal of Southern History

“This book is full of new ideas and interesting details that will delight historians and political scientists trying to make sense of the evolution of twentieth century southern politics.”
--Florida Historical Quarterly

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