front cover of The Citizens' Council
The Citizens' Council
Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction, 1954-64
Neil R. McMillen
University of Illinois Press, 1971
 This in-depth account of the rise
  and decline of the Citizens' Councils of America details the organization's
  role in the massive resistance to school desegregation in the South following
  the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Included are a new preface and
  updated bibliography.
 "A tour de force of research and
  narration. . . in highly readable style. [McMillen] . . . seems to have read
  everything the historical record has to offer on the subject and to have known
  exactly what to make of it. . . Himself squarely on the side of the future,
  he is sensitive to the anguish that prompted the hysteria of the misguided racist. . . .
  By any test, a masterful study." -- Journal of Southern History
 "Takes seriously the people who
  made the movement, when ridicule and caricature would have been an easier analytical
  technique. Solidly researched and well written. . . an intriguing story." --
  Augustus M. Burns, Social Studies

front cover of The Civil Rights Lobby
The Civil Rights Lobby
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Second Reconstruction
Shamira Gelbman
Temple University Press, 2021

As the lobbying arm of the civil rights movement, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR)—which has operated since the early 1950s—was instrumental in the historic legislative breakthroughs of the Second Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Lobby skillfully recounts the LCCR’s professional and grassroots lobbying that contributed to these signature civil rights policy achievements in the 1950s and ’60s.

Shamira Gelbman explains how the diversity of this interest group coalition both hindered and enabled lobbyists to generate broad-based support for reforms that often seemed risky to legislators. They coordinated their efforts by identifying common ground among member organizations, developing coalitional positions on substantive and strategic questions, and exhorting organizations to mobilize professional and grassroots lobbying resources accordingly. The result was to “speak with one booming voice” to ultimately help secure the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

The Civil Rights Lobby concludes by reprising key lessons from the LCCR’s organizational development and participation in civil rights policymaking. Gelbman suggests new directions for research on interest group coalitions and explores how the Leadership Conference’s experience sheds light on the politics of the Second Reconstruction.


logo for Harvard University Press
Southern Governors and Civil Rights
Racial Segregation as a Campaign Issue in the Second Reconstruction
Earl Black
Harvard University Press, 1976

This book offers a systematic, comprehensive analysis of the rise and partial decline of racial segregation as an issue in southern electoral politics throughout the entire South over the third quarter of the twentieth century. The first comparative examination of a white political elite, the study draws upon an extraordinary breadth of data: 80 governorships, over 250 candidates, six “waves” of elections for each of the eleven southern states from 1950 to 1973.

By classifying candidates for the southern governorships according to their campaign stances on racial segregation, Earl Black maps out the changing racial attitudes of white office seekers over a critical period in southern history—the time now referred to as the Second Reconstruction. He shows that, largely because of Federal pressures, segregationist orientations have increasingly been replaced by nonsegregationist perspectives, and that the decline of segregationist rhetoric has been more evident in the peripheral south than in the deep south. Specific areas include: the segregation issue in the early 1950s; state-by-state summaries of the segregation issue after 1954; and the relationship between the candidates' campaign platform on race and their ability to run successfully at consecutive stages of the electoral process.

Black's conclusion that “stateways” can alter “folkways” is well-reasoned and persuasive. Accessible to all readers interested in public affairs, Southern Governors and Civil Rights makes a significant contribution to the literature on the consequences of national intervention to change southern racial attitudes.


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