Cover image for Beyond Atlanta : the struggle for racial equality in Georgia, 1940-1980
Beyond Atlanta : the struggle for racial equality in Georgia, 1940-1980
Tuck, Stephen G. N.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Athens : University of Georgia Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 341 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
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F295.N4 T83 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This sweeping history of the civil rights movement in the South's largest state tells of many Georgias. On one extreme is Atlanta, a metropolitan center of relative black prosperity and training ground of many movement leaders. On another is Albany. A city deep in the "black belt" of the plantation South, it is the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s greatest civil rights setback. Somewhere in between is yet another Georgia, a Georgia whose communities once constituted hundreds of Jim Crow fiefdoms. In places like "Bad" Baker County near the southern border, or in the relatively moderate town of Rome in the northern hills, black-white relations were as crude or as nuanced as the outlook of the local sheriff.

Beyond Atlanta draws on interviews with almost two hundred people--black and white--who worked for, or actively resisted, the freedom movement. Among the topics Stephen Tuck covers are the absence of consistent support from the movement's national leadership and the frustration and innovation it alternately inspired at the local level. In addition, Tuck reveals friction, along urban-rural and poor-prosperous lines, about movement goals and tactics, and he highlights the often unheralded roles played by African American women, veterans, masons, unions, neighborhood clubs, and local NAACP branches.

Tuck's narrative begins before, and continues after, the well-documented years of direct action protest in the 1960s. Though grounded in local and state matters, it is attuned to such national developments as World War II, the 1954 Brown decision, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964-65, and the growth of the Black Power movement. Perhaps most important, Beyond Atlanta makes clear the exorbitant cost of racial oppression, in terms of hampered economic and social progress, for all Georgians.

Author Notes

Stephen G. N. Tuck is director of studies in history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Tuck (Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge Univ.) follows the path of John Dittmer (Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, CH, Dec'94), Adam Fairclough (Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, CH, Oct'95), and Aldon Morris (Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, CH, Feb'85). Their thesis contends that the Civil Rights Movement started before the bus boycott in Montgomery and the rise of Martin Luther King, Jr. The history of that movement in Georgia reveals a very diverse approach to the problems of black people in each region and locale. The NAACP was the dominant and most successful organization, and it used a variety of strategies. Savannah was the earliest and most successful city to advance while Atlanta followed a more cautious, political approach rather than a demonstrative one. Southwest Georgia remained feudal in the face of most efforts to change. Pressure from Washington was helpful, but in the final analysis black Georgians had to face Herman Talmadge, Lester Maddox, and local racists to solve local issues. Charismatic leadership, the use of new protest strategies, and the support of local people who were economically independent were the greatest factors of success. Upper-division undergraduates and above. L. H. Grothaus emeritus, Concordia University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
List of Abbreviationsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
1. First Challenges to Jim Crow after 1940p. 9
2. The Upsurge of Black Protest across Georgia, 1943-1946p. 40
3. The Effects of the White Supremacist Backlash on Black Protest, 1948-1960p. 74
4. Direct Action Protest in Georgia's Cities, 1960-1965p. 107
5. Protest in Rural Georgia: SNCC's Southwest Georgia Project, 1962-1967p. 158
6. Black Protest after the Federal Civil Rights Legislation of 1964-1965p. 192
Conclusionp. 244
Notesp. 253
Bibliographyp. 305
Indexp. 323